For the last two weeks, I’ve been attempting to export and verify a readable DCP for exhibition. For those of you not in the know (add me to the list as of a couple of weeks ago), DCP stands for digital cinema package. It’s basically the industry standard when you go to see films at theaters.
It’s also freakin’ expensive if you take your little film to a production house.
I get why the theaters want the DCP. It’s high quality and looks great. But remember my post about access a couple of days ago? Same thing here.
How on earth is an indy filmmaker supposed to do this if they don’t have an extra $8-$10K laying around? Plus access to a projector that can verify the file? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have either of those things.
Because here’s the rub – even though DCP can be created within a laptop (Adobe Media Encoder supposedly will work), you can’t actually verify the file (for the most part) without going to a production house or a theater that has a DCP projector. And according to the film festival I’ll be attending, even having a “verified” film doesn’t guarantee it will play on all DCP projectors.
Now, I’m lucky. The University of Colorado, where I work full time, has two DCP projectors. One of my colleagues connected me with one of his colleagues and the upshot is I have a place to test my project. For free. And there’s a friend of his who has been giving me great advice about processing the file and whatnot.
See what I mean about access? I have it. What about those who don’t have those sorts of connections?
In the meantime this has been a pain in my ass. Seriously. The initial package export was unexpectedly small and was pixelating upon the read. So I did another version last night using my master edit which took more than 12 hours to export. The resulting file is also small-ish, which worries me. So I’m now exporting a full resolution version of the film (not the compressed versions you’ll see on Vimeo and YouTube) which I will then re-injest into another piece of software that produces DCP packages. I’m assuming my computer will be working on this project for the next 24 hours or so.
Wish me luck.