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Digital Cinema Mastering 101

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Presented at the first-ever Sundance Institute #ArtistServices San Francisco Workshop.

Graef Allen is Manager of Content Services at Dolby Laboratories in Los Angeles, California. Graef has been with Dolby for over nine years, working primarily in digital cinema mastering and distribution. Although some of her work is on studio titles, most projects are independent films or educational films for science museums. Graef spent fifteen years on the staff of the Telluride Film Festival, working in production, theatre operations, and projection.

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Digital Cinema Mastering 101

  1. 1. Digital Cinema Mastering 101I. IntroductionII. What is a DCP?III. The Digital Cinema Mastering WorkflowIV. DCP Duplication and DistributionGraef AllenDolby Laboratories, Burbank
  2. 2. IntroductionThe future of film…End of 2012:Cinema screens in US: ~40,000Digital screens in US: ~33,500 = 84%Cinema screens WW: ~130,000Digital screens WW: ~90,000 = 69%Source: Screen DigestNearly all cinema screens worldwideexpected to be converted by 2015.
  3. 3. AdvantagesBroad Acceptance Cinemas (mainstream, art house) Film Festivals (Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Telluride, SXSW…) AMPAS (Submission for Academy Award consideration)FinancialMedia Integrity
  4. 4. AdvantagesBroad AcceptanceFinancial Cost for a feature film print: $1500 - $2500 (Source: Wikipedia) Cost for a copy of a feature DCP: $150 - $650Media Integrity
  5. 5. Virtual Print FeesTed Hope raised this issue in the Q&A, and it is definitely an important financialconsideration.In addition to the costs for mastering and media, your distributor may be chargedvirtual print fees, or “VPFs,” by theatres that book your film on DCP. VPFs arecollected by theatres to cover the cost of the upgrade to digital projection equipment.Depending on the specific terms of your booking, the VPF could be as much as $1000for a week-long engagement, or as little as $25 for a single off-peak screening (e.g.Tuesday night).A theatre that paid for its own digital equipment up front may not charge VPFs.Virtual print fees will eventually fade away as equipment loans are paid off. New VPFagreements have mostly ceased.The VPF business model was introduced to spread the cost of equipment upgradesbetween both exhibitors and distributors. VPF agreements probably helped toaccelerate the transition to digital cinema.
  6. 6. AdvantagesBroad AcceptanceFinancialMedia Integrity Perfect copies (hash check verification) Robust media, less fragile than 35mm film or Blu-ray Sound and picture as pristine on 100th screening as on 1st
  7. 7. 35mm Film Print DamagePhotos courtesy of Brad Miller, film-tech.com
  8. 8. Digital Cinema Mastering 101I. IntroductionII. What is a DCP?III. The Digital Cinema Mastering WorkflowIV. Digital Cinema Duplication and DistributionGraef AllenDolby Laboratories, Burbank
  9. 9. II. What is a DCP?DCP is a standardized delivery format. It is not a single file,but a collection of digital files.DCPs are intended to match or surpass the quality of 35mmfilm prints. Standards set by DCIDigital Cinema Initiatives, a studio consortiumToday’s DCPs: InteropTomorrow’s DCPs: SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers)
  10. 10. DCP: Video FilesUncompressed video files would be too large to duplicate anddistribute easily. File sizes reduced by compressing.Digital cinema projectors able to reproduce a broader array ofcolors than computer or television monitors. Aspect Ratios = 1.85:1 or 2.39:1 (not 1.78:1) Codec = JPEG 2000 Maximum Bitrate = 250 Mbps (about 10 x Blu-ray data rate) Color Space = DCI P3, mapped to XYZ File Container = MXF (.mxf)
  11. 11. DCP: Audio FilesMulti-channel audio on film required compression due tophysical space restrictions.Digital audio files are so small relative to digital video filesthat compression is not used. Uncompressed Sample rate = 48kHz Bit depth = 24 bit File Container = MXF (.mxf)
  12. 12. Information on Film vs. Information in a DCPAudio (Analog)Audio (Digital)Picture/Subtitles
  13. 13. DCP: CPLSample CPLVideoAudioSubtitles
  14. 14. Digital Cinema Mastering 101I. IntroductionII. What is a DCP?III. The Digital Cinema Mastering WorkflowIV. DCP Duplication and DistributionGraef AllenDolby Laboratories, Burbank
  15. 15. Video Source Files DCDMDigital Cinema Distribution Master DSMDigital Source Master Other sourcesTape (HDCAM / HDCAM SR / D5)ProRes or uncompressed QuickTime
  16. 16. Video WorkflowDSMDigital Source MasterDPX or TIFF RGB ColorDCDMDigital Cinema DistributionMaster16bit TIFF XYZ ColorJPEG2000Tape orQuickTimeextract framesresize to 2k or 4k,convert color to XYZJPEG 2000compression
  17. 17. Audio Source Files Uncompressed linear PCM (digital audio) 48kHz sample rate @ 24fpsAudio commonly delivered as 48kHz @ 23.98fps, whichrequires a sample rate conversion to stay in sync at 24fps. 24bit
  18. 18. Audio WorkflowStereo?Wrong sample rate?Wrong bit depth?Wrong file type?5.1 or 7.1 Mono.wav Files24bit, 48kHz @ 24fps5.1 or 7.1Interleaved.wav FileTape orQuickTimecapture orextract audiobit depth conversionsample rate conversionupmixinterleavefile type conversion
  19. 19. Subtitle and Caption Source FilesCineCanvas XML Timed Text + Associated Font File (e.g. arial.ttf)OR Timed Subtitle Spots + Associated .png Images(sometimes used for Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew)
  20. 20. Subtitle and Caption Source FilesSample Timed TextSubtitles(Partial File - Japanese)
  21. 21. Encryption, MXF WrappingJPEG 2000Encryption(Optional),MXF wrappingaudio.mxf(enc.audio.mxf)5.1 or 7.1Interleaved.wav FileCineCanvasSubtitles (XML),font.ttfFolder:CineCanvasSubtitles (XML),font.ttfvideo.mxf(enc.video.mxf)
  22. 22. Encryption Optional, but most distributors require features to beencrypted Encryption standard is AES, Advanced EncryptionStandard: Extremely secure Additional layer of link encryption between server andprojector applied at playback If content is encrypted, cinemas must be supplied withplayback keys to decrypt the content.
  23. 23. Key Delivery Messages (KDMs) Small XML files, generally delivered zipped by email. Three-way lock:Content• KDM specific to exactly one CPL.Server• KDM specific to exactly one server.Timeframe• KDM only valid between specified startand end times.
  24. 24. Common Post Production Issues Non-cinema frame rate HD aspect ratio Misidentified color space or dynamic range Highly compressed video source Color graded on uncalibrated monitor (cinema projector is best) Missing sync details (no 2-pop, no countdown leader) Sound mixed in uncalibrated room (way too loud or way too quiet) Mislabeled audio channels Invalid subtitle XML Mistimed subtitle XML Missing font file
  25. 25. The Final Product!Once the DCP is packaged, itneeds to be watched start tofinish to check for problems.After a full QC, duplicationcan begin.Feature DCP Distribution Kit
  26. 26. Digital Cinema Mastering 101I. IntroductionII. What is a DCP?III. The Digital Cinema Mastering WorkflowIV. DCP Duplication and DistributionGraef AllenDolby Laboratories, Burbank
  27. 27. Duplication Duplication done in batches Multiple identical copies created at once The smaller the master DCP, the faster eachduplication run will be Verification by hash check
  28. 28. Distribution Feature distribution on CRU Dataport HDD FedEx, UPS, DHL KDMs (Key Delivery Messages) sent via email Technical support should be made available, especiallyif content encrypted. DCP’s modular structure (separate file for eachcomponent) allows single-inventory distribution tomultiple territories.
  29. 29. Distribution SNAFUsProblems can include… Lost shipments (uncommon) Damaged hard drives (uncommon) Misplaced hard drives (morecommon) Server upgrades, new KDMsneeded (very common) Projector/server subtitle renderingproblems (uncommon)

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