Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is a DCP?

    A DCP (a Digital Cinema Package) is the most common standard for digital theatrical film and video projection. Its unique compression structure gives it unrivaled picture and sound quality. Standard DCPs are delivered on CRU-mount hard drives which slip into slots in cinema servers. However, DCPs can also be delivered on USB hard drives and large-format flash drives.

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    Why do I need a DCP? Is there any advantage to a DCP over a ProRes or H.264 file?

    As filmmakers ourselves, we used to think the DCP format was overly complex and expensive. However, we have seen first-hand how much better our films look in DCP. At 20 times the data rate of blu-ray, your film will be consistently sharp and beautiful, and your sound will be clear and immersive. We have found in our experience that screening ProRes can be inconsistent across theaters, and tends to come out looking very dark. H.264 is a lossy format that tends to crush details, and can significantly reduce the crispness of your image. We can say from experience that if you want your film to look and sound the best it possibly can, you need a DCP.

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    Can I make my own DCP?

    In a word, yes. However, we have found current open source DCP software to be too unreliable and inconsistent to be trusted in professional applications. Penguin DCP has the tools and the experience to provide you with a dependable final product.

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    Do you ship DCPs directly to festivals? Do you ship to international festivals?

    Yes. Please email or call us with the deadline, shipping address and contact information with your work order request form.
    You will be billed for shipping upon completion of the DCP.

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    How can I get my movie to you?

    You can deliver the file via postal mail, drop it at our offices in Los Angeles, or split the file into small chunks and upload it via FTP (we’ll guide you through this process).

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    What if I want multiple copies of my DCP? Do I have to pay the full price for each DCP?

    Not a problem. Please select the number of copies when submitting your order. Each extra copy is provided at a greatly discounted rate.

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    Why penguins?

    Penguins are cute. They also like to spending time in the snow, just like the owners of Penguin DCP.
    While making a DCP can be a confusing or stressful process, we hope your experience with our team will be one of joy and happiness.

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    I just screened my DCP and I need to correct a spelling error, what do I do?

    We are filmmakers; we understand this happens. Send us back your corrected media within 30 days and we will re-author it at a 50% discount.

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    What specifications are used for DCP?

    Picture: JPEG2000 (the compression format) @ 250 Mbit/s (the compression target rate) | Audio: PCM (the compression format), 48kHz (The number of samples per second), 24bits (the bit depth)

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    What are your preferred file delivery specifications?

    Upon submitting a work order request, you will receive a specifications document you can deliver to your post-production supervisor, editor, & sound mixer. Our preferred delivery specs are:

    —Picture File container [MOV]
    —Picture Codec [ProRes or DNxHD]
    —Picture Resolution [HD (1920 x 1080), 2K (2560 x 1440), 4K (3840 x 2160)]
    —Audio File Container [WAV or AIF]
    —Audio Sample Rate [48,000kHz]
    —Audio Bit Rate [24bit]
    —Audio Format [Stereo (L,R – 2 files) , LRC (L,R,C – 3 files), or 5.1 (L, R, C, LFE, LS, RS – 6 files)]

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    Do you accept HDCAM or other tape-based material? Do you transfer to LTO tape?

    At this time we only accept file-based formats. We do not lay off to LTO tape.

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    What if my project is in a nonstandard frame rate?

    Contact us if your project is not 23.98fps, 24fps, 25fps, 29.97fps, or 59.94fps.

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    My film is in Standard Definition. Can I get a DCP? Do you make DCPs in 720p?

    We don’t recommend screening in SD or 720p but if your picture is in these resolutions we can convert them to 2K. Please note that there will be a noticeable depreciation in quality.