DCP Builder

Digital Cinema encoding made simple

DCP Builder can be used to create unencrypted Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs), which can then be played on Digital Cinema servers. DCP creation needs several signal processing techniques, such way that encoding becomes a very CPU intensive task. This software makes use of many freely available libraries, which are listed in the credits menu. Please note that this program is conceived to be used by cinema professionals, and not by the casual user.

This is a FREE program but not open source.

Windows GUI interface

What is a DCP?

A Digital Cinema Package is a collection of digital files used to store and convey Digital Cinema (DC) audio, image, and data streams.1

The term has been defined by Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC in their recommendations for packaging of DC contents.2 Following to the recommendations, general practice adopts a file structure that is organized into a number of (generally) multi-gigabyte size Material eXchange Format (MXF) files, which are separately used to store audio and video streams, and auxiliary index files in XML format. One such file, the Composition Playlist, defines the playback order of Digital Cinema Packages during presentation.

The MXF files contain streams that are compressed, encoded, and encrypted, in order to reduce the huge amount of required storage and to protect from unauthorized use. The image part is JPEG 2000 compressed, whereas the audio part is linear PCM. The adopted (optional) encryption standard is AES 128 bit in CBC mode.

SMPTE standards are used to conform to the recommendations among different tool vendors and producers.

DCP Creation

Film producers and distributors generally rely on digital cinema encoding facilities to produce and quality control check a digital cinema package before release. Facilities follow guidelines set out in the recommendations to ensure compatibility with all digital cinema equipment. For bigger studio release films, the facility will usually create a DCDM (Digital Cinema Distribution Master).

Mac OS X GUI interface

A DCDM is similar to DCP, only the frames are in either DPX or TIFF format and both sound and picture are not yet wrapped into MXF files. The frames are then compressed with the JPEG 2000 algorithm, and this step is denoted as DCDM*.

A DCP can be encoded directly from a DCDM. A DCDM is useful for archiving purposes and also facilities can share them for international re-versioning purposes. They can easily be turned into alternative version DCPs for foreign territories. For smaller release films, the facility will usually skip the creation of a DCDM and instead encode directly from the DSM (Digital Source Master) the original film supplied to the encoding facility. A DSM can be supplied in a multitude of formats and color spaces.

For this reason, the encoding facility need to have extensive knowledge in color space handling including, on occasion, the use of 3D LUTs to carefully match the look of the finished DCP to a celluloid film print. This can be a highly involved process in which the DCP and the film print are "butterflied" (shown side by side) in a highly calibrated cinema.

Less demanding DCPs are encoded from tape formats such as HDCAM SR. Quality control checks are always performed in calibrated cinemas and carefully checked for errors. QC checks are often attended by colorists, directors, sound mixers, and other personnel to check for correct picture and sound reproduction in the finished DCP.

Linux GUI interface

Current version 0.3.4

This version can produce encrypted DCPs and with the keyman command line application (available separately) you can generate KDMs (for a very limited number of servers, though).

  Microsoft Windows 64 bit, exe installer

  Apple Mac OS X 64 bit, dmg archive

  Ubuntu Linux 64 bit, deb package (if you have an Ubuntu > 13.04, please install first libtiff4)

DCP Builder Keyman v0.1.1

Please check DCP Builder documentation for the usage.

  •   Microsoft Windows 64 bit, 2'291'233 Bytes, MD5: 942630957e1d88b0907c5f4f05ff8618, zipped executable


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1 Information on Digital Cinema Packages and their structure has been taken from the English Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Cinema_Package.