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Why Do I Need A DCP?

A Digital Cinema Package is simply the best way to show your film! (Other than actual film, nothing looks better than a film print)

Blu Rays sometimes fail, and if a file of your film is being played directly off a computer, all sorts of funky stuff can happen to the picture that can make your film look off. Many film festivals are now requiring DCP's for shorts and features.

What Budget DCP Provides:

All DCP's provided by Budget DCP are fully DCI Compliant and Unencrypted.

They strictly follow the Digital Cinema Naming Convention and are formatted to ISDCF Specifications.

The festival trend in recent years has been to forgo physical copies in favor of digital only distribution of DCPs.

Budget DCP still highly recommends physical copies for feature film DCPs but provides 90 day download links of all DCPs free of charge.

All physical copies are Linux ext2/ext3 formatted drives with an inode Size of 128 bytes and no blocks reserved for the operating system.

This is a "theater ready" drive designed for direct ingest by a projectionist into any digital cinema server.

Modern digital cinema exhibition can be presented by a very wide variety of servers and projectors manufactured over the past decade.

It is critical to adhere to these standards to insure that your film will ingest and play smoothly in any digital cinema.

A "theater ready" drive is not made to be read by Windows or Mac OS.

Do not plug it into a computer or any other device. 

Do not attempt to access the drive with third party software, filesystem drivers, or virtual machines.

Doing so could cause damage or corruption to the filesystem on your DCP.

What format of file should I submit to have my DCP made?

While Budget DCP can make a DCP out of almost any file, we want the best looking master of your film that you got!

For most filmmakers we recommend the following submission formats:



Quicktime Movie (.MOV)

Material Exchange Format (.MXF)


1920X1080 (1.78 Aspect Ratio 2K)

3840X2160 (1.78 Aspect Ratio 4K)

1998x1080 (1.85 Aspect Ratio 2K)

3996x2160 (1.85 Aspect Ratio 4K)

2048x858 (2.39 Aspect Ratio 2K)

4096x1716 (2.39 Aspect Ratio 4K)

If your film has a non-standard aspect ratio, Budget DCP will scale it to fit the best sized resolution without losing any of your image.

Frame Rates:

23.976/24/25/30 Frames Per Second. 
If your film is delivered at 23.976FPS it will be properly converted to 24FPS.

If your film is delivered at 29.97FPS it will be properly converted to 30FPS.


Apple ProRes 4444XQ,  Apple ProRes 4444,  Apple ProRes 422HQ,  Apple ProRes 422

Avid DNxHR 4444,  Avid DNxHQX


Stereo: 24 Bit 48kHz Linear PCM audio delivered as part of a .MOV/.MXF

5.1 Audio: Separate discrete WAV files for each channel in your 5.1 mix.

Audio files should be the same exact length as your video or your film to ensure sync.

In addition, please provide stereo audio as part of the Quicktime Movie.

For 5.1 Audio the channel assignment is as follows:
1.) L (Left)     2.) R (Right)     3.) C (Center)     4.) LFE (Low Frequency Effects)     5.) Ls (Left Surround)     
6.) Rs (Right Surround)

For compatibility with all venues it is recommended that you provide a 5.1 or 3 Channel (L,R,C) mix of your film as discrete audio files. 


We recommend your subtitles are superimposed on your film.
Other subtitle and caption options available per special request.


Head & Tail:

Your file should include 1-3 seconds of black before your film begins, and 1-3 seconds of black at the end of your film.

No countdowns, color bars, 2 pops, or extra black without audio should be at the beginning or end of your film.

But All I Have is an MP4 File:

Send it over and if its of reasonable quality we can still make your DCP!

Can't I just make my own DCP?

In short, yes you can.

However, we have found that the free or inexpensive software tools available are inconsistent at best.

They can easily create DCPs that do not meet DCI Compliance.

Common errors we see in "homebrewed" DCPs include: bad aspect ratios and image formatting, incorrect color space, gamma shifts, over bitrate violations, XML DCP packaging errors, short films identified as features, and unfollowed digital cinema naming conventions.

Most often, "homebrewed" DCPs will be formatted incorrectly as exFAT, HFS, NTFS, EXT4, or have the wrong inode size.

You guys like Pigs?

Yes, our favorite is Esther The Wonder Pig.



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