October 23, 2013

Creating a 2K DCP from HD

This article demonstrates a fast and effective way to create a DCP (Digital Cinema package) that meets the requirements for screening in Ster Kinekor cinema’s in South Africa, using only a 1920×1080 Prores or equivalent Export and free software. The Ster Kinekor Cinema’s have recently upgraded all their projectors to “Christie Solaria One“.

The software we will be using is MPEGStremclip and OpenDCP.

It has to be said that creating a DCP using a HD file is not ideal. The DCP format can store much more colour information than a Prores 422 file, and since the resolution is larger some scaling will occur. Thus if you are following a professional online-edit and colour-correction workflow, you should export to DCP directly from your online package. For many editors this is not possible; either their source footage is only HD, which is very common for documentary projects and lower budget productions. If this is the case, the workflow below will work perfectly for you.

Let’s start by looking at what specs SterKinekor requires the DCP to be delivered.


Resolution: 1998 x 1080 (1.85 aka FLAT) / 2048 x 858 (2.39 aka SCOPE)
Codec: JPEG2000
Colour Space: XYZ
Framerate: 24/25


Stereo / 5.1 separate WAVE Mono files 48kHz, 24bit unencrypted PCM.

The minimum requirements for admission to the academy awards are the same as above with the exception that it has to be 24fps and Audio must either be 3 channel (Left, Centre, Right) or 5.1

Preparing your HD Video for conversion

I’ll start by assuming you have a Master Export in 1920×1080 resolution with Stereo sound.

We have to re-size this to either fit into 1998×1080 or 2048×858 resolution. Then we have to convert it into a tiff sequence. The image below illustrates how HD fits into the DCP dimensions:

16x9 scaling to DCPDepending on which format you’re exporting to, you’ll have to scale your image up, and crop the redundant pixels:

16x9 scaling to DCPThe image above shows the amount of pixels that will be discarded at the top and bottom of your image.

Let’s open MPEG Streamclip and open the video file you want to convert. Next, select “File > Export to Other Formats”. You should be greeted with a dialog box that looks like this:

MPEG Streamclip Crop Factor

Let’s set the resolution, (frame size) first. I’ve selected 1998×1080, but you can select either 1998×1080 or 2048 x 858.

Next we want to crop the image to maintain the aspect ratio, if we don’t, MPEG streamclip will stretch your film to fit the new resolution. Referencing the diagram above, set the crop to 39 pixels above and below if you are exporting a 1998×1080 DCP. If you are exporting a 2048 x 858 DCP, crop the top and bottom by 147 pixels. (If you are not using an HD 1920×1080 file, your crop factor will be different. Rather comment below and I’ll provide you with the correct crop factor)

Make sure that you have selected to crop “SOURCE”.

Sound can be set to “No” since image sequences don’t carry sound.

I’ve deselected “Interlaced Scaling” because my video is progressive.

The last step is to select the format at the top. Change this to “Image Sequence”. I’ve mentioned above that DCP uses JPEG2000, however, we can’t export them yet because they have to be in XYZ colour space. Thus we’ll first export a TIFF sequence, and convert them to JPEG2000’s in XYZ colour space later. Next, click on “Options” next to “Image Sequence”

MPEG Streamclip ImageSeqSelect TIFF and set your Frames per second. This can either be 25 or 24,  but it must match your video file and must never be changed during this export. Deselect “Insert space before number” as the space will confuse the numbering later. Click “Options” again.

MPEG Streamclip Tiff OptionsYou’ll notice a few options regarding the amount of colours to save. Most Video files are only 8bit and already compressed, thus “Millions of Colors” are more than enough. If you are sure you have a 16bit Video file (FCP can only export 10bit), go ahead and select “Millions of Colors+”.

Don’t simply select “Millions of Colors+” because you think it’s going to make your project look better, it won’t. It’ll simply add 6GB of superfluous data per min of footage. Click OK, OK and OK.

You should be prompted to set a filename:

MPEG Streamclip naming

Create a new folder and name it “TIFF exports”, name your file something like: “movieName00000” if extensions are not hidden it should look something like this: “movieName00000.0”. It is important that you add four or even six zeros after the name of the film so that your files will be padded and consecutively numbered. Hit “Save” and you should see this:

MPEG Streamclip TiffExport

Note: If your files are not padded and look like example below, the conversion will not give you errors but will place the frames in the wrong order:

name 1.tiff
name 11.tiff
name 12.tiff
name 2.tiff

Starting the Conversion process in OpenDCP

We can now open OpenDCP to convert the TIFF files to JPEG2000 in xyz colour space.

OpenDCP Jpeg2000

The first tab on OpenDCP creates JPEG2000 in xyz colour space and contains various settings to adjust different inputs and the type of DCP you want to make.

The Encoder will default to “OpenJPG,”. Unless you have another JPEG encoder installed, leave this selected.

The Profile must be set to Cinema 2K to match our resolution. The frame rate is used to calculate image size and does not affect your conversion, in my case it was 25.

Bandwidth refers to the overall bit rate of your JPEG2000 image sequence. A higher value doesn’t always mean higher quality. For a 2K project such as ours 125mb/s is more than enough.

Under “Image Parameters” we need to select the source colour as either sRGB or rec709. This is dependent on your specific video file. Unless you specifically managed the colour workflow of your project to have a rec709 export, you should keep it on sRGB.

By selecting “XYZ Conversion” we will convert the sRGB TIFF files into XYZ JPEG2000 files.

The “DPX Logarithmic” Setting is not relevant to us.

We’ve already re-sized the HD video to the correct resolution so leave “DCI Resize” on “None”.

Hit “Convert”, create a new folder named “JPEG2000” and click “OK”. The conversion is a slow process even on a fast computer.

Note that these files will be in XYZ color space and will thus look like this:


You should now see this:


Great, now that we have the frames in the correct format, we need to place them in the correct video file container along with the correct meta data: MXF.

Select “MXF Creator” in OpenDCP:


Select JPEG2000 as the source since we’ve just created these files.

Keep the package set to SMPTE (Society for motion picture and television engineers). SMPTE is the newest specification and MXF interop is deprecated.

The frame rate should be set to match your original file, in my case 25.

We’re not exporting a stereoscopic film or a slideshow, so leave those alone.

Next, select the directory where you saved the JPEG2000 sequence, and select the Output directory. Create a folder called “MXFVideo” and save the file as “nameMXFVideo”. It’s important to add “video” to the end because we’ll be creating an audio MXF next.

You should now have a single video file called “nameMXFVideo.mxf”

Our next step is Audio. Make sure that you have separate WAVE Mono files at 48kHz, 24bit unencrypted PCM, for the LEFT and RIGHT channel.  OriginalAudio

In OpenDCP, and still in the “MXF Creator” change “Source” to “WAV”.


Ensure “Label” and “Frame Rate” is the same as the video, SMPTE and in my case 25.

Sound Input Type is Mono, and output type is either Stereo or 5.1, depending on your file. I used a Stereo Video and selected that.

Add the mono files to the “Input Files” and select an output directory. Create a new directory called “MXFAudio” and name your file “nameMXFAudio”, hit “Create MXF”

Now you should have a video and audio MXF file which can be combined to create the final DCP.

In OpenDCP select the “DCP Package” tab at the top.


This is the final step to create the DCP.


It is important that you use the “Title Generator” to name your DCP. The LMS Playback system at Ster Kinekor requires certain meta-data to be present in the name of the DCP for the projector to correctly identify the type of DCP you are creating.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 8.28.02 PM


The above name can be interpreted as follow: SHR: Short. EN-XX: English without subtitles. 20: Stereo. 2k: Resolution. Date.

Once you click on “Title Generator” you will be greeted by the following prompt:

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 8.27.50 PM


I’ve filled in the most important data above. If the above is not filled in, the projector will not know what audio type or resolution your film is, and will continue to play using the previous settings. The “TYPE” field directly underneath the name is used to sort the media on the Player at Ster Kinekor. This makes it easier to build playlists.

We will use  SHORT SUBJECT for films, and TRAILER for Trailers.

Once you have the above filled out click OK.

Now add the XML files to Video and Audio respectively. You need to ensure the duration of all MXF files are the same (if they aren’t, you might have selected the wrong frame rate somewhere). In some cases the Audio and Video might differ by a couple frames. If this happens, you should adjust the audio to match the video. This does not change the content of the MXF files, it simply indicates to the player when to start/stop each MXF.

Hit “Create”, make a new folder called “nameDCP” and your DCP is created.

Your DCP package should look like this:


If you want to test your DCP package on your own computer, you’ll have to find DCP player software. They are very expensive but many demo versions are available. Just remember that the video is in xyz colour space, and will thus look low in contrast and saturation with a yellow tint. This is normal, the projector at the cinema will interpret the colours correctly when your film screens.

You are now ready to copy your DCP onto removable media and take it to the cinema for projection!

To give you a better understanding I’ve included some photos of the LMS system where the files are ingested to be played.


Above is the central LMS (Library Management System) where all DCP packages are ingested, play listed and scheduled to play in all the cinemas. The DCP’s are copied onto a RAID storage unit and then distributed to another RAID drive in each cinema connected to the projector.


Above you can see DCP packages that have been transferred, at the top: The Amazing Ordinary Story’s Trailer in Stereo 2K 2D. Underneath that is MothersKisses Advert in Stereo 2K 2D, and underneath that a incorrectly labeled DCP without any metadata.

Happy DCPeeing. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, pop me an email or give me a call.


Print Friendly


  1. Natalie Perel

    Hi Wicus, I just want to double check if I must keep DPX Logarithmic checked or not?
    In the tut you say it isn’t relevant but in your screenshot it is still checked?
    Don’t want to have another mistake like today. Thanks!

  2. WicusLab

    Hi Natalie

    DPX Logarithmic is only relevant if you are using a DPX sequence instead of a TIFF sequence. So it won’t make a difference if it’s checked or not since you’re using TIFF’s


  3. gavin

    Hi Wicus,

    If I have a 1920 x 800 to give the 2.40 aspect ratio. what do I need to crop by in mpeg to prevent the picture from being stretched? Or do i Still use 147 for top and bottom as you have said?

  4. WicusLab

    Hey Gavin

    If you’re editing in 1920 x 800 you’re probably creating a Flat 1998 x 1080 DCP with letterbox bars at the top and bottom. In MPEGStreamclip I’d import the the sequence and scale to 1998 x 1080. You’ll thus use 833 pixels of the 1080 pixels available vertically. However, you’ll need to add black pixels to the top and bottom of your image. This means you have an extra 247 pixels of black, thus 124 at top and 124 at bottom.

    You’ll do this in MPEG Streamclip not by cropping, but by zooming. Thus, set your zoom to 100%, and your X/Y to 1.29651860744298 (Because 1080 / 833 = 1.29651860744298) This should produce a undistorted picture with the correct bars at the top and bottom. Do not crop at all.

    • Olga

      Hi,I have the same problem. Speedgrade eprxoted hundreds DPX files which takes about 70gb for 5 minute movie. Very confused and lost at the moment, looking for right info

      • WicusLab

        Hi Olga
        You can use the DPX files that Speedgrade exports and import them straight into OpenDCP. Just make sure you select “DPX Logarithmic” if the DPX’s are exported in Log colour space.

  5. Thanks a lot for such a valuable detailed information. You have explained every thing very nicely & clearly. I have been looking for it. I may bother you to know more in the near future May God bless you. Thanks once again.

  6. Dear Wicus, Thanks a lot. I am grateful for the information you have provided in such a wonderful manner that its very easy to understand. I just wondered at the end when you mentioned “Now add the XML files to Video and Audio respectively”. I could not understand it, may be I missed some thing some where in over excitement but I could not find the answer about the XML files. How & from where to create them? I wish to know, if you will be kind enough to explain that to me. Thanks a lot. May God bless you.

    • WicusLab

      Hi Mangal.
      Thank you for the comments. The after you’ve exported the TIFF sequence, you convert this to JPEG2000. You then convert your JPEG2000 sequence to a XML. This XML is the video file. You must also convert the Audio files to XML. These two XML files are then combined to create your DCP package.

      • Dear Wicus, Thanks a lot for the reply. In fact when I had completed the process, I understood it when it showed two xml files as final DCP. Thanks a lot once again. Very Kind of you. May God bless you. regards, Mangal Dhillon

    • OpenDCP makes the XML files for you when you bring the MXF files into the DCP tab for processing

  7. We are new to DCP film-making and have been asked by our local theatre to check into producing our on-screen advertisements for projection on their new DCP projector along with the feature films. We shoot in 1440 x 1080 24p and use Vegas Pro 10 editing software. We are able to convert the video to 1920 x 1080 24p and create a TIFF sequence (no bit rate for TIFF is expressed however), and we are able to render the necessary 48khz, 24 bit stereo sound. We were led to OpenDCP and have successfully created the 6 files necessary. But the files were successfully loaded to the theatre’s projector, the projector did not play the 15 sec test ad we had made, and no warning or notation appeared to explain why. We did not use the OpenDCP Title Generator and wonder if that is the only reason it would not play.

    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

    • WicusLab

      Hi Gini

      It’s strange that the projector did not present any error messages. Did you connect the HDD directly to the projector? Or did you ingest the DCP through a server?

      Some common problems are the MetaData gets corrupted or is incorrect when the XML’s are combined to create the DCP, however the projector or LMS System should give you a checksum error if this is the case.

      Another problem is people try to bypass the converting the TIFF sequence to JPEG2000 on OpenDCP, thus they export a JPEG2000 sequence straight from their Online or Editing software. The problem is that often the bitrate on the JPEG2000 sequence will then be too high for the projector. A single frame in JPEG2000 is about 400-600 KB, if it’s around 1.5MB per image the bitrate is too high and the projector will simply refuse to play it.

  8. Peter Varnai

    Brilliant! Thanks for the article! 🙂

  9. PJ Kotzé

    Thanks so much! Really fantastic breakdown.

    • WicusLab

      Thanks PJ, let me know if you have a suggestion for another article.

  10. This has been absolutely helpful! Puts everything into perspective.

    I was able to produce a 2k DCP trailer (Jpeg 2000 as my client calls it) and played back in the cinema. Thank you!

  11. I figured out (still in testing phase, but it seems like it is working) that with Adobe Media Encoder CC2014 you can create a TIFF sequence which will encode about 4 times faster than MPEG streamclip, the files are about 20% bigger though. I’m sure this is possible with previous versions of AME as well.

    • WicusLab

      Hi Leon.
      Yes, you can generate the TIFF sequence using Adobe Media Encoder, you can actually use anything to generate the TIFF files, and getting them straight from your NLE has some advantages over the proposed method in this article, however there are some disadvantages. The advantage is you save one export generation and loads of time. The downside is most NLE do not offer the hight bit depth a DCP offers. Thus, exporting your TIFF’s from something like Resolve or Baselight is going to be a much better option than from FCP.

      In my experience, however, the resizing filters are different from one application to another, so test which ones scales the resolution best and rather go for resizing quality over speed and size 🙂

  12. but,how to do make the sub to the MXF

  13. andreas

    It works perfect \o/
    Thank you for this great Tutorial.

  14. Hello Mr. Wicus, wish you & your family a very happy & prosperous New Year.
    I wanted to know if you could be kind enough to let me know, how to convert to DCP file from a DVCam footage? We have some footage on DVcam & we wish to convert it to DCP for special screenings. Similarly, we have HD footage also & we wish to convert it to DCP. It will be very sweet of you if you could kindly let me know a process in which there is a minimum loss of quality. Thanks a lot. May God bless you. Mangal Dhillon

  15. Mark Buyskes

    The creation of a DCP for the Christie Solaris or any other similar projector to be displayed as intended can be as simple as selecting 2 or 3 items in a menu but and here’s the but … as long as the file used to create the DCP is correct in every way.
    On set is where it begins. Shoot your footage in RGB and edit in sRGB – problem. Edit in adobe premier and grade on a Pc, edit on fcp and export a final sequence in a Prores mov ,use an aspect ratio of 1920 x 1080 to create a scope version, approve the grade on an lcd that has not been set to the correct gamma, encode the DCP with the incorrect display setting like scope or short film or trailer instead of what you may intended to use – flat.. remember the projectors are automated so seeing an encoding in scope will increase the luminance by 3-5 %.
    If you have edited on 1 system that has a correct gamma setting 1.8 and not 2.2, you have worked in sRGB, you have at least 3 channels of audio and you master is an MXF or Prores HD at least then i would suggest a very simple program called DCP-Omatic. Its free and is 100% compatible with Ster Kinekor systems. 10 mins will take about 40 mins to export. Good Luck .
    I always remember a little phrase,” If you think its expensive to hire a professional wait until you try do it yourself.”

    • WicusLab

      Hi Mark
      Thanks for the great response. I’m a little unclear on why you’d shoot in RGB and edit in sRGB?
      I’ll give DCP-Omatic a go! Thanks!

      • Mark Buyskes

        I would not shoot in RGB, but the affordability of DSLR’s has introduced the rise of the “Producers/Camera Person/Sound Recordist/Director” all rolled into 1 person. Unfortunately some DSLR’s are by default set to shoot RGB. which could mean “Record GigaBytes” to some and therefore goes unchanged and thus the path laid out is unpredictable.
        “Shoot the highest you can, edit in proxies, grade from an xml, audio mix to a dv pal and create a master ~ but not higher in spec than your footage.”

  16. Gentle

    Hi Wicus, I would like to ask why I cannot save tiff file from my mp4 video, it shows that mpeg streamclip 1.2 not responding. please reply

    • WicusLab

      Hi Gentle,
      It’s difficult to give you an exact reason as to why it’s not working. You might need to install QuickTime if you’re on a PC, or your mp4 might be corrupted.

  17. Jon

    Terrific article, thank you!

    One issue is occurring with my MXFaudio file: when I make it from two left and right audio wav files, the resulting MXF file comes out with almost twice as many frames as my MXFvideo file.

    I input on mono and output in stereo as instructed, but I can’t work out what I’m doing wrong after trouble shooting.

    Any ideas why this is occurring?

    • WicusLab

      This could be the result of not setting in and out points inside the audio software when creating the separate Left and Right channels. You can always try using the Stereo audio file in EasyDCP, and simply select Stereo as input and output.

      If the audio is longer than the video you’d usually set the end frame on the audio the same as the video. This will simply stop the audio playing in theater at the same time as when the video stops.

      • Jon

        Thanks for the swift response!

        I rechecked the video and audio conversions and found that in fact my audio was converting fully, but my video TIFF conversion in MPEG Streamclip has been stopping at 60 per cent converted. It then returns to the beginning of my video file and starts the TIFF conversion again. It’s done this several times, even though there is adequate space for TIFF files on my hard disk.

        Do you have any idea why this is happening? I am converting from an HD master.

        Thanks again.

  18. Hi Wicus,
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on DCP.
    Can you suggest any other software other than mpeg streamclip as it hangs after some time on my system?

    Look forward to your reply and some more informative articles.


    • WicusLab


      You can use Adobe Media Encoder or Adobe After Effects.

  19. I want to ask why the difference beetwen sRGB and XYZ are so big? is it possible to avoid this?

    • WicusLab

      sRGB is a Display Colour Space. It’s most often used to display images on a computer monitor. XYZ Colour space is not suitable for a monitor. “It should be emphasised that [XYZ] is a ‘device-independent’ colour space in which each primary colour (X,Y,Z) is always constant, unlike RGB which varies with every individual device (monitor, scanner, camera, etc.). XYZ is typically used to report the spectral response of a sample measured by a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer. A colorimeter may contain as few as three sensors, one each for red, green and blue, (or X,Y and Z), and will typically be used for display calibration and profiling. A spectrophotometer will report the entire spectral response at frequent intervals along the spectrum, say every 10 nanometres, and will typically be used to measure printed sheets to control a press or create an ICC profile.” –

      Thus, XYZ Colour space is converted to RGB during the projection process, since it’s the technical standard for DCP’s there is unfortunately no way of avoiding the shift, unless you are grading on a DCI compliant projector and exporting directly to XYZ colour space using Resolve or Baselight.

      • I do not know if I understand correctly .For example :

        I have got tiff sequence 16 bits ( export from after effects) , next it is transcode by the company to XYZ ( after this image look like image in this article) and they make a DCP.
        Next , during the projection in cinema it is converted from XYZ to RGB and image come back to colours like it looks in sRGB or stay as XYZ (asking about photos in this article)

    • WicusLab

      Hi M,
      Unfortunately this can’t be avoided as XYZ is the SMPTE approved color space for projecting DCPs

  20. Nicholas

    Good day thanks for all this great information. I have a question. I shot my film n dslr at 24 frames per second but actually it shoots at 23.97 frames per second. Do I still choose 24 frames a second when I’m in the process of creating the DCP?

    • WicusLab

      Hi Nicholas.

      This will depend on what your editing and sound time-base was set to. If you are doing sound at 24 but editing at 23.976, your film will loose sync after a few seconds. I suggest not converting, but simply conforming your footage to 24 fps so that audio and video is in sync. This might change some of your cut points which you’ll have to refine in the edit. Good luck!

  21. Deon

    Hello Wikus, thanks for a great platform. If I shoot in 4K, by how much should I crop top and bottom ? Another quick one, converting 1080p x 1920 MP4 file to DCP … would the quality be maintained well enough to screen in a theatre ? I have some footage I want to use in a commercial but have never done it before and just wondered what your thoughts would be or if you have ever done it before ? Thanks, Deon

  22. shank

    Hi, will a 1920 x 816 ( 2.35) will have black bars on top and bottom in final DCP. Importing a tiff of 1920 x 816 into opendcp and then using any crop settings?

    • WicusLab

      Hi Shank

      Importing a 1920×816 into opendcp will not work. If you select the You must follow the DCP specifications: Resolution: 1998 x 1080 (1.85 aka FLAT) / 2048 x 858 (2.39 aka SCOPE). Thus you must convert your footage to fit into one of these resolutions. Since your aspect is different than these, you will have to “hard matte” (include black pixels at the top or at the sides), or crop your image to fit into this aspect.

      You can either set your DPC to 1998 x 1080 and scale your image up 5%. This will not crop any image and keep black bars at the top and bottom.

      The other option is to set your DPC to scope at 2048 x 858 and scale your image up 6.666%. This will fill the screen and not have any black mattes at the top or bottom. Also, in scope cinemas the curtains should mask the parts of the screen where there isn’t picture, while if you’re using FLAT, the projector will project “black” at the top and bottom of your screen.

  23. Deon

    Hi Wikus,

    Is there any way to change the type from ‘feature’ to ‘trailer’ in Wraptor DCP (Premiere Pro) ? The reason for my question is that it appears as if in a 3d cinema , the projector reads ‘feature’ as a 3d movie and brings the 3d lens into position with the result the trailer doesnt screen properly. Do you have any ideas ? Thanks you.

  24. shank

    Hi, thanks so much
    1 other question. Do you think if I export 2048×858 tiff from encorder ( top n bottom black pixels) and then make a SCOPE dcp will the projector project entire image. I dont mind top n bottom 21 black pixels.

  25. LK

    I am exporting my NTSC 29.97 fps movie, 112 GB as quicktime. movie.
    Do I keep my frame rate at original or can I switch to 24 or 25? will the audio be out of sync?
    Also, how do I move quicktime movie into DCP? Do I drag and drop it somwhere?
    Sorry, I am struggling with tech stuff!
    Thanks for your amazing info! LK

    • WicusLab

      You can’t load the quicktime straight into OpenDCP. You must convert it into a Tiff sequence first.

      If you change your frame rate the audio will run out of sync yes.

Submit a Comment

Posted By