Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
What standard are your DCPs created in, SMPTE or InterOp?
Our DCPs, by default, are created in the newer SMPTE standard (which the majority of theatres worldwide support). If you require the older InterOP standard, please inform us you wish to have this selection. If you are unsure on which you need, please ask your distributor or festival which format your theatre supports.
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.
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.
What if my project is in a nonstandard frame rate?
DCPs can be made in many framerates including 24, 25, 30, 48, and 60. We professionally convert all 23.98 and 29.97 media to the nearest whole-number framerate. This service is included in the price of your DCP. Contact us if your project is not 23.98fps, 24fps, 25fps, 29.97fps, or 59.94fps.
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.
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).
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.
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.
What are your preferred file delivery specifications?
File Type: MOV Codec: ProRes 422 HQ | Frame Rate: 24fps | Resolution: HD, 2k or 4k | Color Space: Rec709 Gamma 2.2 | Audio: 48kHz at 24 bit. For 5.1 Sound Mix you must send 6 separate 48kHz 24bit WAV Files (L,R,C,Ls,Rs,LFE). They MUST match picture file in length exactly.
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.
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 upconvert them to 2K. Please note that, despite considerable advances in technology over the last decade, we cannot guarantee your picture will appreciate in quality.