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DCP BFD: Kiss Your ‘Cinema Paradiso’ Goodbye

FYI: The world has changed. The movies you see at the cinema are no longer projected from 35mm film. Instead, the moving images are coming from a computer hard drive. The DCP (digital cinema package) stored on the hard drive is a collection of files containing digital cinema audio, image and data streams.

DCP is also a TLA. What’s a TLA? A three-letter acronym, like IBM, TSA and WTF.

A DCP has TIFF format video in (here come the TLAs) XYZ color space, with audio in PCM multichannel WAV encrypted in AES 128-bit in CBC mode, all wrapped in an MXF container. It’s TLAs from start to finish. Not for humble DIY folk like you and me.

Who You Gonna Call? Do Busters!

David’s double-width master has two SBS (side-by-side) 1920 x 1080 L & R frames.

My film WBAS (We Built a Ship) has been selected for screening at the NMFF (New Media Film Festival). They want a 3D DCP.

Before commissioning a DCP, I decide to get a 3D Blu-ray (BD3D) made.

I do a search and find Sony Creative Software DoStudio 3D. At $20K, I wonder who has bought Do software. I discover a link to user David Courtice, CEO of DC Creative in L.A.

I Need a BD3D

I USPS a PNY 256 GB USB 3.0 flash drive with separate left- and right-eye ProRes files.

“Stefan, I have your USB drive. The masters you sent are 1080i 29.97. The only acceptable frame sizes/rates for BD3D are 1920 x 1080 @ 23.976 fps progressive or 1280 x 720 @ 59.94 fps progressive. I suggest we downconvert to 720p/59.94 and then encode.”

“OMG, what a PIA! OTY, David, make the BD3D at 720p.”

MNG (Meet and Greet) F2F

A feature-length movie is about five 2,000-foot reels of 35mm film—all replaced by this single hard drive.

I have my full-length Blu-ray duplicated copies; now I need a 17-minute DCP for the NMFF 3D screening in Los Angeles.

I jet from SFO to BUR and meet David F2F. He’s running a boutique facility with editing, color grading and sound design rooms.

To convert my film to 24p, he makes and renders a 3840 double-width master in Adobe After Effects. It takes a day to cook. When finished, he breaks it back into separate left and right files. There follows a litany of XYZ, TIFF, MXF, PCM and WAV work—you don’t want to know. David speaks TLA like a native.

We go to indieDCP in Burbank. They make the final DCP. We put on our passive 3D glasses for the preview screening. No longer Cinema Paradiso, now Cinema DCP-o.

We Won!

At the NMFF, our DCP is presented on a huge screen. The 3D is great; folks in front of me duck as 3D sawdust comes spewing out. WBAS is awarded Best 3D. Yeah! “I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World).”

My thanks to David (DC Creative), Bryan (indieDCP), Brandon (drone pilot), Tricia (producer and second camera), Alan and all the crew at the shipyard.