Playing back DCPs

If you've created a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) on CineSend, or anywhere else for that matter, your first instinct might be to try and open the DCP to watch it for yourself.

In simple terms, a DCP is a folder containing a collection of metadata and media files that a Cinema Server uses to play back your film. The underlying video and audio data are stored in MXF files. Your DCP will likely have two or more of these files depending on the duration of the film and if any auxiliary data tracks are present (subtitles, etc).

The format is designed for playback on specialized cinema systems. While there are some commercial software-based DCP playback programs on the market, these options are often expensive and require very power computers. The unfortunately isn't a free or easy way to properly play back DCPs on your Mac or PC. This is for a few reasons:

  1. DCPs are in X'Y'Z' color space. A standard computer monitor cannot display this correctly, so the image will look washed out and green.
  2. DCPs are playlist based. Your DCP might have several separate audio and video files that may each have in/out points and offsets that need be interpreted by the player.
  3. DCPs are encoded with JPEG2000. This codec requires a very powerful computer to play back in real time without stutter or dropped frames.

If you purchased your DCP on CineSend, rest assured that your DCPs was screened in a properly calibrated screening room before it was delivered to you to ensure quality. If you have any specific questions or concerns, get in touch with us and we'd be happy to discuss them further.

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