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Submission Guidelines

For Digital Cinema Encoding and Distribution

Submission Guidelines

Tape and File Formats:

SDC can take films in almost any format. We have full HDCAM SR facilities on-site and we can also accommodate Dual Stream 3D SR tapes. We are used to working with many file formats including QuickTime ProRes (422 and 444), image sequences such as Cineon, DPX, TIF and many more.

If submitting on tape, please make sure it contains all technical information such as a record report. If important technical information is missing, it may slow us down.

Tapes should be 24fps in a progressive format (P / Psf). They should start with at least 30 seconds of bars and tone (at -20db) with picture starting on 10:00:00:00 / 01:00:00:00. Other formats can be accepted but they may need to be converted first resulting in additional costs.

Where sound is delivered separately to picture, picture should have both a 2-pip and end pip as should audio. Missing pips may mean your submission is rejected. 

If picture is submitted interlaced, we may have to de-interlace the picture before we begin. Sometimes broadcast tapes may be in a progressive format but the end credits may be interlaced. Please check that the entire film, including any logos, graphics and credits are progressive. De-interlacing will result in additional charges and possible quality loss.

Please note that it is not necessary to break the film into reels. We are happy to accept films in reels. But reel breaks, if required, will normally be added by us (usually every 20 minutes). Unlike film reels, breaks in digital prints do not cause any visual or audible artefacting on playback.

Hard Drives:

Hard drives should be Windows NTFS, Linux EXT2/3 or Mac formatted. If submitting a hard drive we request that you make sure it is 7200RPM with at least a firewire 400 port but ideally an ESATA or USB 3 connection. If sending drives from abroad we recommend sending two copies in case one gets damaged in transit. Please do not submit on RAID 0 drives as they are too fragile.

Please make sure hard drives are packed carefully with plenty of foam / bubble wrap. We cannot be held responsible if a hard drive arrives damaged.

DCPs:

SDC can accept DCPs created by other labs. However, they must be fully DCI compliant. Currently SDC work with DCPs mastered to the SMPTE phase 1 specification with plans to transition to SMPTE phase 2 in the near future. This is in-line with industry practice throughout the UK. DCPs will be put through a full validation process and those that we determine do not comply with DCI recommendations can not be distributed. In many cases SDC will be able to repair issues but this will have cost implications. Please note that material mastered with Open DCP is extremely likely to fail our checks due to reliability and colour space issues.

Aspect Ratio: 

We expect your film to be in either Flat (1.85:1) or Scope (2.39:1) aspect ratio. If your picture is 1920x1080 we will scale it a small amount so it can be projected as 1.85:1. This service is free of charge.

Frame sizes:

2K/4K

1.85:1 (FLAT) 1998x1080 3996x2160

2.35:1 (SCOPE) 2048x858 4096x1716

Frames Rate:

Your frame rate should be 24P / PsF. If it is not, we can help you convert it. Please specify this option when requesting a quote.

If your frame rate is 25 we can correct this by slowing the picture and sound down by 4% and performing pitch correction on the audio. But this does have cost implications. We can do the conversion free of charge if you do not require pitch correction. But this will have a noticeable effect on the audio with voices and music becoming deeper in tone. Please note that Some music licences prevent producers from pitching audio down without correction.

Colour space:

We can accommodate any colour space including Rec709, P3, SRGB and more. You do not have to do your own XYZ conversion. In fact, we prefer doing it here because we have extremely accurate methods and can ensure the picture is an exact match to your grade. All our QC facilities are fully calibrated to SMPTE and Dolby standards.

Delivering 10bit DPX log files:

We can accept files in log colour space. However, this will require a more in-depth colour space conversion. This will effect your quote so it is important to let us know if you are delivering in this format.

Audio:

Your sound should ideally be delivered as 48Khz WAV no more than 24bit. Each channel should be provided as a separate WAV file and clearly labeled. We can accommodate for mute, mono, stereo, 5,1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos. If you have stereo sound as part of your QuickTime movie, we will extract the sound free of charge.

Each audio track must contain at least 10 seconds of tone at -20db at the start.

Audio must be in sync and contain both a 2-pip 48 frames before the first frame of picture and an end-pip 48 frames after the final frame of picture. If the film is broken into reels, each reel should contain a 2-pip and an end-pip. If pips are missing from sound, we may reject your submission.

Please note that sound delivered in the Dolby E format can be accepted but processing may take longer and it may affect the price of encoding.

Please see above for information about frame rate conversions from 25 to 24.

All our QC facilities are fully calibrated to Dolby standards.

Subtitles:

Subtitles should be submitted in the Texas Instruments "CineCanvas" DCI compliant XML format.

We can also accept subtitles in other formats such as STL and convert them to the digital cinema standard. This doesn't normally effect costs but please check with us.

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