In December 2011 I wrote about using a MacBook Pro as a playout source for the cast and crew screening of the feature film McLean’s Money. At that time it was the most practical and affordable way for us to get decent picture and sound quality in a modern cinema.
Since then a lot has changed and that is mainly because of a wonderful open source project called OpenDCP by Boston based developer Terrence Meiczinger.
What Is DCP?
A Digital Cinema Package is a specially designed collection file types defined by the Digital Cinema Initiatives organisation which was created by the major Hollywood Studios to standardise the distribution and playout formats for digital cinemas around the world.
Like a lot of people, I guess I initially expected these standards to be a variety of familiar formats with some special restrictions on the variants allowed. The first time I looked at the specifications it, I saw hardly anything that I recognised – had they gone mad and decided not only to reinvent the wheel but make it a hexagon as well?
I have come to appreciate the soundness of DCI’s logic in defining the standards but I’ll admit that this hasn’t happened quickly! If you want to see the DCI specifications themselves you can download the PDF from DCI.