easyDCP is a plugin in DaVinci Resolve available in DPL Suites A, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J
When dealing with cinematic projection, it is important to consider the industry standards. The following aspect ratios are ideal for cinema exhibition:
- 1.85:1 - “Flat”
- 2.39:1 - “Scope”
We can make a DCP in the following aspect ratio even though it is not standard:
- 17:9 (1.89:1) - “Full DCI” or “Full Container”
Other common aspect ratios (non-standard) that is not encodable without letter/pillarboxes:
- 16:9 (1.78:1)
- 4:3 (1.3:1)
For screenings in the Bright Family Screening Room, we can choose from the following three options: 1.85:1 “Flat,” 2.39:1 “Scope,” and 1.89:1 “Full DCI.” These aspect ratios correspond to the following resolutions in 2K and 4K:
|Cinema DCP 2K||Cinema DCP 4K|
|DCI Full Container (1.9:1)||2048x1080||4096x2160|
If a submission does not conform to one of these resolutions, we can pillarbox or letterbox the film to fit into one of these standards.
For example, 16:9 submissions should be placed inside a 1.85:1 timeline, creating a pillarbox effect (vertical black bars on either side) in order to conform to cinema projection standards.
Later in the process, we will label the DCP so the projectionist in the BFSR knows what aspect ratio to expect. If a film has pillarboxing or letterboxing, the projection screen will crop out the black bars (assuming everything has been labeled properly).
Before you Start
DCPs should be created using uncompressed (interframe) codec file like Apple ProRes or DNxHR in order to ensure the highest possible quality. Historically, DCPs created from compressed H.264 format files have been prone to compression artifacts, encoding errors, and extremely long renders.
Make sure you know the following information about your file:
- Frame Rate (23.976, 24, 29.97)
- Aspect Ratio (1.85:1, 2.39:1)
- Film Resolution
- Sound Sample Rate (48 kHz)
- Sound format (stereo, 5.1)
- Color Space (Rec709 or DCI-P3) and gamma level
- Theater Projector Resolution (BFSR is a 4K projector)
If you are not sure about any of this information, you can open the file in Quicktime or VLC Player and use the Get Info function [command] [i].
Another important note - DaVinci Resolve projects can only handle one frame rate/one resolution/one color space at a time. If you are making multiple DCPs from files with different frame rates and resolutions, I suggest making a new project for each film
Also very important - EasyDCP is not natively compatible with MacOS. In order to use EasyDCP, Resolve must be opened using Rosetta. Open the applications folder, locate DaVinci Resolve, right click and select “get info.” Check “open using Rosetta.” Now you can launch Resolve.
Getting Set up in Resolve
Open DaVinci Resolve and start a New Project.
In the Media Tab, use the browser on the top left to navigate to the file you wish to encode as a DCP
Drag the file you wish to encode from the browser into your Media Pool.
I suggest one clip at a time to avoid any mistakes surrounding frame rate, aspect ratio, etc. Once you get more comfortable with the workflow you can queue up multiple DCPs at one time IF they share all the exact same settings.
If the following window pops up, “The clip(s) have a different frame rate than the current project settings. Would you like to change your timeline frame rate and video format to match?” click Change.
Double-check your clip’s settings to make sure you have the correct information listed in the screening spreadsheet. Click on the clip in your Media Pool so its information appears in the Metadata window.
Open your Project Settings (the gear icon in the bottom right corner)
Under the Master Settings, set your Timeline Format resolution to one of the DCP standards based on the submission:
Double check that your project frame rate matches your file’s frame rate.
Navigate to the “Color Management” tab and set that to the correct setting (most often, Rec709 gamma 2.4, but some projects will use DCI-P3).
Save your settings
Right click on the file in your Media Pool and select “Create New Timeline Using Selected Clips”
Use the following settings
- Start Timecode: 01:00:00:00
- Timeline name: use the title of the film
- Audio Track type: Stereo (unless we are making a 5.1 surround sound DCP)
Double click on the new sequence that appeared in your media pool.
Play the clip for a moment - make sure the video and audio appear/sound like you would expect. Double check that any letterboxing or pillar boxing, if present, is intentional. (Note: since these files can be massive, the playback can be choppy at times)
Encoding the DCP
Navigate to the Deliver (rocket) tab
Make sure “Export Video” is checked
Set the Format to: DCP
Set the Codec to: EasyDCP
Set the 'type' to match your timeline settings
Scroll down and open the dropdown for Composition Settings
Use current date: checked
Set the Content kind to: select type that best fits your film - typically short or feature
Next to Composition Name, click Edit. A new window will open.
The composition name is what will appear for the Projectionist in the BFSR - it provides the name of the film as well as important information about projector and audio settings. Be sure to fill out these settings accurately because we cannot change them later.
The first 7 tabs of this interface contain fields you must fill out
Film Title: enter the title of the film without space (or the first 14 characters of the title, if longer)
Content type: set to SHR- typically short but select the option that best fits your film
Content Type Version Number: (you can skip)
Content Type Modifiers: (you can skip)
Projector Aspect Ratio: Match your timeline settings (Flat, Scope, or Full)
Interior Aspect Ratio: Match the submission file (the projectionist needs to know the aspect ratio of the image without letter-boxing or pillar-boxing)
Langage Audio: (set)
Language Subtitle: (set)
Open/Closed Caption: (skip if none, closed if captions are burned in)
Territory: Country DCP will be played in
Rating: you can skip if none
Audio: set to 2.0 for stereo or 5.1 for surround
Audio Type impaired: typically, set No Hearing impaired Track
Sound Format: you can skip if not applicable
Resolution: set to 4K or 2K
Studio: skip if not applicable
Date: check “use current date when generating package”
Facility: skip if not applicable
Standard: Interop or SMPTE
Package Type: use this to mark versions 2, 3, 4, etc. if you need to make a new DCP for any films
Click OK to save and exit the easyDCP interface.
Back in the Resolve export settings...
Scroll up to Audio
Make sure “export audio” is checked
Codec should already be set to Linear PCM
Click on File
Next to Location click Browse and set the following location for your new DCP:
- Select a folder for DCP renders on your hard drive
Render: Single Clip
Filename uses: Timeline name
Click Add to Render Queue
Then Start Render
While the DCP is rendering, preview frames will appear in the Resolve interface. The colors you see in this preview do not reflect the final look of the DCP so don’t worry if everything appears to have a yellow hue.
When the render is finished, check the DCP in Finder. You should see a folder containing 6 files. There will be 2 .mxf files, 2 .xml files, 1 asset map, and 1 volume index. The folder itself is the DCP. Do not rename any of the contents of the folder.
You can test your DCP by importing the DCP folder into Resolve.