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Digital Cinema Process

A guide to our Digital Cinema Mastering Process

The digital cinema mastering process starts with the creation of a Digital Cinema Distribution Master (DCDM), a master version of the film that has been prepared for cinema exhibition. This means it conforms to the correct frame rate, aspect ratio, colour space and picture format.

One of the most important steps in creating a DCDM is correctly converting the film into the XYZ colour space. We have various methods for doing this but we always prefer to work closely with your grading facility to ensure perfect colour space management using 3D LUTS (look up tables). We are able to provide "clip tests" for clients so that the look of the final DCP can be approved before we move on.

To make the DCP, the DCDM is placed on a high performance RAID array. Using our blazingly powerful Clipster server, every frame is converted into a JPEG2000 image and the sound into PCM at twice realtime speed. All the media is then "wrapped" into MXF format along with meta data and other files such as XML subtitles. Optionally, this data can be fully encrypted so that only the intended recipient of the DCP can play it back.


The DCP data is then placed on a CRU DX115 DCI compliant hard drive. These drives are correctly formatted by us for D-Cinema servers and they are also contained in a special caddy so that they can be slotted directly into the server and played from the drive. Next the DCP goes through our full validation process which includes several test ingests on popular digital cinema servers such as the Doremi DCP2000 and Dolby DSS200. It is also checked using DVS's D-Cinema validator tool. Finally the DCP is fully played back in our digital theatre. Clients are encouraged to attend this stage. A full QC report is made by one of our technicians to verify picture and sound quality, data integrity and DCI compliance. 

Once the client has signed off on the QC, we are able to begin the distribution process. Distribution is managed via MEL (Movie Encryption & Logistics) our bespoke web portal which contains various web apps for securely managing every detail of your DCP delivery. You can send feature films to cinemas electronically or on hard drive via 'Screenfast'. Trailers can be distributed via 'Trailer Park'. DKDMs can be provided for international labs via our DKDM Generator. KDMs can be managed automatically or manually through our easy to use KDM Tool. MEL contains a powerful suite of tools and we provide full training for distributors so they can learn to get the most from them.

In case something goes wrong along the way, we provide international 24-hour technical support for cinemas. So you can rest assured that there is always a technician available to solve problems if they arise.

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