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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Looking for some DCP expertise. (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Looking for some DCP expertise.
Jered Gordner
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Marietta, PA, United States
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted 04-25-2017 06:33 PM      Profile for Jered Gordner   Author's Homepage   Email Jered Gordner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
TLDR: I'm looking for assistance with settings on a DCP export for movie theater projector. I'm using Adobe Premiere Pro and my audio plays but the video is blank.

I would appreciate help from anyone who has experience in creating a DCP for use on a digital movie projector. I sit on the board of directors of a local non-profit (www.theberwicktheater.com), single screen movie theater. We've recently upgraded from 35mm film to a digital system and as such we're exploring our capabilities. Since we're a single screen non-profit, we try to keep as much work in-house as possible so we can minimize our expenses. In an interest to raise funds to help keep us in business we have started to look at doing on screen advertising.

I'm basically as green as one can be with Premiere Pro but I'm otherwise rather tech savvy and since anything tech related automatically defaults to my oversight, I was tasked with trying to get this sorted out.

Here's what I've done so far:
- Created a PowerPoint with our still images and recorded some audio for a few of the advertising scripts.
- Ran a macro that exports this out into a 1080p .wmv
- Imported the .wmv into my sequence.
- Imported royalty free music into my sequence.
- Ran a preview and verified everything was working as I wanted.
- Exported as a Wraptor DCP with the "2K Digital Cinema - Flat, 24 fps" preset.
- Imported the DCP into our projector (which I think is an SX-3000 Standalone IMB) with no problem.
- Noticed that DCP I imported says J2K 4K next to the file name but I definitely exported in 2k. Also, none of our actual movies are showing as 4K, just J2K.
- Ran the mock ad and discovered only the audio was coming out, screen stayed blank.
- Verified the file is the issue as any of our other stuff plays fine in the projector.
- Ran DCP in a trial version of neoDCP and verified the file plays audio and video in there.
- Banged my head against the wall for the past two weeks.

I recently moved from the theater and now live about two hours away so getting up there to test a DCP each time I create one isn't easy for me.

Does anyone have any idea what I could've done wrong? Thanks in advance!

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12445
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-25-2017 08:08 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does the .wmv file play with picture on a computer?

If so, then...I don't know anything about Premiere Pro or "Wraptor" so I can't help you with it, but I would suggest you download DCP-o-Matic and use that to create your DCP. It will work like a charm and probably be easier to use, as well.

On top of that, there are several people on this forum, including a couple of the developers of DCP-o-Matic, who will be able to answer any questions you might have about it (either here or by email).

www.dcpomatic.com

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7034
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 04-25-2017 08:27 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The DCP plugin that comes free with Premiere is a pile of poop. It won't even let you create an ISDCF-compliant CPL name, let alone any other refinements. For my DCP creation, I use DCP-o-Matic if I don't need to edit the footage (or otherwise manipulate it in a way that DCP-o-Matic can't, e.g. deinterlace NTSC video footage properly), or the Cute DCP plugin for Premiere if I do need to edit the content significantly first.

There are other DCP export plugins for Premiere out there, but IMHO, Cute is very good value for the flexibility it gives you in terms of output options.

In your case, if all you're looking to do is create DCP-ized Powerpoint slide shows, DCP-o-Matic should be all you need. I would be inclined to output the Powerpoint slides as individual still images and import those into DCP-o-Matic, rather than have Powerpoint output a video file: your DCP will render a helluva lot quicker. However, if you need to preserve Powerpoint slide transitions (dissolves/fades, etc.), you will need to export a video file from Powerpoint and use that to make your DCP from.

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Jason Raftery
Film Handler

Posts: 72
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Registered: May 2011


 - posted 04-25-2017 10:15 PM      Profile for Jason Raftery   Email Jason Raftery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've seen this before. I've never used Wraptor but have encountered a number of DCPs with invalid video MXF header values that were created by Wraptor. On your SX-3000, try playing the bad DCP and click the information button on the SMS. Then check to see what resolution the server thinks the content is supposed to be:

 -

If you see a ridiculous value like the image above, the video MXF headers are your problem. That screenshot is from an older model GDC but the same thing can occur on the SX-3000. If you are not on a recent software release, ask your technician to update the server to version 9.0-build417 (or later) as there have been improvements made in some of the recent releases to overlook bad header values in certain cases, which may allow the DCP you made in Wraptor to play successfully.

Someone with more knowledge of Premiere / Wraptor than me may be able to advise exactly where in the program one can correct the incorrect header information, but I'd also suggest using a different program like DCP-o-matic or OpenDCP for DCP creation going forward.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10701
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 04-25-2017 10:55 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jered Gordner
I'm basically as green as one can be with Premiere Pro but I'm otherwise rather tech savvy and since anything tech related automatically defaults to my oversight, I was tasked with trying to get this sorted out.
The Wraptor DCP plug-in in Premiere Pro is the "lite" version. It is pretty limited compared to the full version that costs $700. I can't tell if QuVis and Adobe have done any updates on Wraptor DCP, even in the latest update of Premiere Pro (CC 2017.1) released last week. Cute DCP costs a lot less money. DCP-O-Matic is free and has more features than the Wraptor plug-in.

Jared, which version of Premiere Pro are you using? Do you have an older, standalone version of it or do you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription? If you have the latter I would consider building up your sequences directly in Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects and build the project matching the resolution settings of the projector. Graphics re-sized from 1920 X 1080 to a DCP layout like 1998 X 1080 will look a bit soft and maybe have other problems.

Building a project in Premiere Pro and/or After Effects will give you far more creative control over titles, graphics and transitions than what PowerPoint can deliver. Lots of people like to use PowerPoint because they're just used to it (the US Army seems to live on PowerPoint). Title generation in Premiere Pro is improved and can take on certain functions directly from After Effects.

The user interface in PPro and After Effects can seem pretty disorienting at first. But there's lots of how-to videos on YouTube, Adobe TV and other places. You can start off with layered artwork in easier to use apps like Photoshop and Illustrator and bring that into PPro and AE to put it in motion.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-26-2017 07:57 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Agreed with everyone else who says that Wraptor is a piece of garbage and that OpenDCP and DCP-o-Matic are both free and work well. There are some commercial software options as well that I have not used, but that is probably unnecessary for a simple advertising DCP.

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Jered Gordner
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Marietta, PA, United States
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted 04-26-2017 09:32 AM      Profile for Jered Gordner   Author's Homepage   Email Jered Gordner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow, thanks for the quick responses everyone! I've been trying to chase this answer down for about a month now and have received no help at all, so I really appreciate all of your input. Since I'm actually going back home tomorrow and again on Saturday, I'm going to try to first play with DCP-o-matic tonight to try to create a package that will work.

I'm currently at work so I can't respond to each individual post at the moment, but I'll try to tonight. I just wanted to at least say thank you and let you all know I appreciate your insight!

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3774
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 04-26-2017 09:57 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yup. 'Wraptor is a pile of poop' put's it down nicely.

Start feeding Powerpoint stills (export slides as images) into DCP-o-matic directly. It also seems that recent versions of Powerpoint do a much better job exporting to movie files than earlier versions did. If you don't have too delicate animations in them, movie export for DCP conversion should be doable now.

- Carsten

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Jered Gordner
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Marietta, PA, United States
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted 04-26-2017 10:12 AM      Profile for Jered Gordner   Author's Homepage   Email Jered Gordner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm..I'm wondering if I put myself into a bit of pickle now. I've created the majority of the project in PowerPoint which included the slides/transitions/some voice recording I did. I then added in music in Premiere Pro along with the video reel animation I found and the film leader at the beginning.

You can watch the video here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cjel89hnw719diu/BTCCA 4-14-17 Ad DropBox Version.wmv?dl=0

Again, I'm entirely new to this whole thing and I'm just trying to save our theater a lot of money. Turns out, I really enjoy doing this too so I want to be able to figure out how to make it work so I can continue doing it.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-26-2017 12:34 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As long as it is in some sort of reasonably common video format at 24fps, DCP-o-Matic should have no trouble converting it into a DCP with picture and sound properly synchronized. Remember that the soundtrack should be a cinema mix (mono or 5.1, not Lt/Rt) in order to sound "normal" when played in a cinema auditorium.

Also, you probably already know this, since you were able to load your earlier attempt at making a DCP apparently loaded, but most servers will only read ext2/3 or NTFS drives (and NTFS is not guaranteed). HFS+ and Exfat drives will be generally unreadable with D-cinema servers.

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Jered Gordner
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Marietta, PA, United States
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted 04-26-2017 02:20 PM      Profile for Jered Gordner   Author's Homepage   Email Jered Gordner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
As long as it is in some sort of reasonably common video format at 24fps...
This brings up a new question: I've been exporting my DCP at 30fps...could that be my problem?

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8318
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 04-26-2017 02:28 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's what is great with DCP-o-Matic that the video can be 30fps and the conversion process takes this down to 24fps with no issues.

I've converted video via this program to play through DCinema units.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-26-2017 02:46 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
30fps is only legitimate for SMPTE formatted DCPs. Interop DCPs are 24fps only. If you somehow managed to create a 30fps Interop DCP, then, yes, you have a problem and it should not be expected to play anywhere. Some, but not all, servers will play a 30fps SMPTE DCP.

Assuming that you are showing normal movies that play at 24fps, you should probably make your DCP 24fps in order to avoid any potential glitches on screen at the frame rate change.

The real problem is Wraptor, though.

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1425
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 04-26-2017 04:40 PM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
Agreed with everyone else who says that Wraptor is a piece of garbage and that OpenDCP and DCP-o-Matic are both free and work well. There are some commercial software options as well that I have not used, but that is probably unnecessary for a simple advertising DCP.
I've used these two programs (DCP-O-MATIC and OpenDCP) with no issues. They both work great.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7034
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 04-26-2017 04:42 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If Carl would consider it, a very useful addition to DCP-o-Matic would be a nag box that appears if you try to sslect Interop and a frame rate other than 24 in the DCP video tab, with text along the lines of: "The JPEG Interop standard for DCP encoding only allows the frame rate of 24. Depending on your server, media block/IMB and projector combination, an Interop DCP with a non-24 frame rate may play OK. But there is no guarantee that it will, and so if you need to create a DCP with a non-24 frame rate, you should select SMPTE unless you know of a specific reason why it has to be Interop, and have tested an Interop DCP with your chosen frame rate on the system(s) on which this DCP is to be played."

As it is, the software will let you create a non-24fps Interop DCP without any warning to someone who doesn't know, that it may be unplayable on many cinema systems in the field. There can be circumstances under which someone who knows the risks might want to do this: for example, I recently did with a 25fps transfer from PAL Beta SP that needed to be subtitled and was playing once on a series 1 projector and server that I made a test DCP for and so knew would play it. SMPTE, subtitles and series 1 projectors = I hope you can speaka da lingo, buddy, hence Interop. But IMHO, it would be good if the software tried to prevent someone from making a non-standard DCP like this by default.

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