Adobe CC 2014 DCP Creation

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 Update 2/6/2015: Latest updates to Wraptor have eliminated this behavior to be in line with other applications as it relates to frame rates and audio sample rate.

With the latest release of Adobe CC 2014, Adobe added the ability to easily create DCP directly from Premiere Pro CC or Adobe Media Encoder CC. The Wraptor plug-in is provided by Quvis. This is exciting news for indie filmmakers looking to create a DCP screening copy for festivals or screen a work in progress in a theatre. Being mainly a Media Composer user, this was great news and DCP output from Media Composer has been a long time request from the Avid community. I would guess there are probably a fair amount of Media Composer users who also have an Adobe Cloud subscription for Photoshop and After Effects, they now have a solution for making a DCP from the Avid timeline.

Because the Wraptor plug-in is limited as to what controls are available, making the DCP creation process very easy to do. This is both good and not so good.  It pretty much is a drag and drop process after selecting aspect ratio. The output will always be 24.000fps but can take in 23.976 fps and 25.000 fps programs. It always assumes Rec.709 video (and levels) as an input and will properly apply XYZ and DCP gamma. For Media Composer users, do a mixdown or a render with either DNxHD or ProRes (OS dependent) and export a “same as source”.mov file. Open that with Adobe Media Encoder, select Wraptor, then aspect ratio of content, and you’re good to go. Adobe Media Encoder will transcode and create the DCP package with proper XML and MXF wrappers as defined by the DCI specification but no control over file DCP naming conventions.

The “not so good” side of the Wraptor encoder that comes with Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014, is that it does a frame rate conversion where program duration is maintained. So if working in 23.976p or 25p project types, it does what Avid Mix & Match does which is add or remove frames to maintain duration, rather than a frame-for-frame conversion where the program duration will change; .1% faster for 23.976 sources, and 4.1% slower for 25p sources. The advantage of frame-for-frame is much better overall quality as the motion remains as originally shot and mastered, be it camera moves, moving objects, or both. Of course the audio would need to be sample rate converted to maintain 48kHz when changing playback rate, but it is far easier for the eye to see motion artifacts than it is for the ear to hear a one-pass sample rate conversion.

For my test, I created a 1080p/25 timeline that was 00:01:00:00 in duration and created a DCP with Adobe Media Encoder. As you can see in the screenshot, the frame count of the EasyDCP Player (bottom left) does not match the burn-in frame counter of the program. At Frame 356, there is already a 12 frame difference being compensated for. Also, if you look at the bottom right, the total program duration at 24fps is still listed as 00:01:00:00. Click frame to see frame actual size:

wraptor-dcp.png

I then used FinalDCP as a comparison, as it does support frame-for-frame conversion as part of its feature set. As you can see in the following screenshot, for the very same frame in DCP Player, the frame count is the same, and the bottom right program duration is longer, as I would expect when slowing down 4.1% and since audio plays in sync, there was a proper sample rate conversion done to maintain sync at 48kHz. Click frame to see actual size.

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I think it’s great to have a DCP encoder that can be used for quick screenings or festivals as part of a suite many of us may already have, but I would not recommend it for final delivery and distribution due to the quality of motion artifacts than will happen. This can be overcome in Premiere Pro by taking your final program output and using “interpret as” 24.000fps as it will create a frame-for-frame version. Then deal with converting audio tracks in an audio application for sync and sample rate conversion. For Media Composer users, I wrote up a step by step in my first blog entry:
File Based Universal Mastering

I will be reaching out to Quvis, to see if they have an upgrade to the free version has these types of controls with Adobe Media Encoder and will update once I get a response.

Update 6/29/2014:

  • Job te Burg mentioned in another thread that other DCP applications do the frame-for-frame conversion as well. Thanks for the heads up, I was only using FinalDCP as an alternative example of , and in my opinion, better method for higher quality DCP creation.
  • Oliver Peters emailed and asked about padding or scaling of the 1920×1080 sources. I admit my tests were focused on frame rate conversion and did not check to see about padding or scaling but will try to get to that in a future test.

Update 6/30/2014:

  • I just tried the free DCP-0-matic and it does the proper frame rate conversion, allows for padding or scaling of 1920×1080 to met the 2K DCI spec, and has stereo 3D support. Comes in all flavors of OS: OS X, Win 32bit, Win 64bit, and Linux.

 

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