Getting To Know The EasyDCP Resolve Plugin

Getting To Know The EasyDCP Resolve Plugin

February 21, 2017

Want to make a DCP directly from Resolve? In this Insight, Robbie explores the essentials of using the EasyDCP Resolve plugin.


Streamlined DCP Creation

A few years ago if clients approached me about DCP creation I said something like:

‘Yep, it’s something we can do, but because your project is so important, I’d feel better putting you in the hands of someone who does them all the time.’

Then my client responds in a nonchalant voice ‘ok…thanks’.

But of course they’re thinking – ‘this seems like something Robbie should be able to do, why is he passing me off to someone else?’

The real reason – DCPs scared me!

I had read so many reports of DCP horror stories, technical disasters, and budget or free solutions that were just really bad.

I didn’t want to risk a potential disaster authoring a DCP that went horribly wrong with a client relationship on the line. As a result – I passed the buck. But when I started to look more deeply into the financials, I realized I was quite literally giving away money!

In 2015 for example, my best estimate is that clients spent 45k for DCP authoring with 3rd parties I recommended. I’m all about helping friends but that amount of money lost is a tough pill to swallow.

Around this time I jumped into offering DCP authoring for my clients and haven’t looked back. But I realized something the other day – we’ve never done any Insights on DCP creation!

I thought long and hard about the best jumping off point for a series on DCP creation and then it hit me – start where I started – the EasyDCP Resolve Plugin.

At the time I started with EasyDCP plugin, I didn’t really know anything about the specs or the sometimes complex details about the specs – I just wanted something that worked.

So, that’s the topic for this Insight.  In future Insights, we’ll explore other DCP authoring tools – some for pay and some free as well as DCP player options for both hardware and software.

The EasyDCP Plugin Philosophy

I have to hand it to Blackmagic and the EasyDCP team – they hit on a very important market segment- people that can’t be bothered!

What I mean is that there are engineer types that love to tinker and perfect, and there are creative folk who just want something to function without the additional work and thinking involved to create something.

 

EasyDCP logo
EasyDCP from powered by technology from the revered Fraunhofer IIS is a go-to DCP creation tool for many facilities around the world.

 

The EasyDCP Resolve plug-in falls into the latter category.

Put simply, the EasyDCP Resolve plugin allows you to work and render as you always have.  There is no learning new tools, new workflows, and no techniques (for the most part).

Simply license the software, choose Easy DCP from the Deliver page and that’s that.

Of course, if you crave more control and a need more features for complex DCPs, EasyDCP offers a stand-alone package called Easy DCP Creator.

With that said, the EasyDCP plugin pretty much takes what you give it and that’s important!

  • Timeline color space – regardless of if you’re in a normal (non-managed) Resolve project or are using RCM, the color space (Project Settings > Color Management > Timeline Colorspace) determines how your project is converted to XYZ by the EasyDCP plugin.  I have not yet authored a DCP originating from an ACES project – I need to do some more research on this to see how the plugin handles that.
  • Audio – while there are no limitations on audio configurations for DCPs, it’s a generally accepted practice that they should be in surround (6 channels). Adding and configuring 6 discrete channels of audio is simple in Resolve. However, care should be taken if you only have stereo audio.  While you CAN use stereo audio, there is a good chance it will sound weird in a theater so many people will hire an engineer to do an automatic ‘upmix’ to 5.1.  This is not a perfect process, but on some project’s it can sound ok (best workflow would be to (re)mix in surround)  Another option is to take the stereo mix and make it mono (1.0) so it plays only in the center channel – this won’t sound very lively, but can avoid some of the issues with stereo mixes based on theater construction, etc. Finally, some playback systems will balk at anything but surround, so you can take the stereo mix and add silence to the other 4 channels.

Every DCP I’ve authored has luckily been in surround so I’ve avoided any of the issues surrounding (pardon the pun) stereo mixes and DCPs.

Besides the ability to handle more complex DCPs, the stand-alone Easy DCP Creator has sophisticated color management and more advanced audio tools.

EasyDCP Plugin Modules

It’s beyond the scope of this Insight to compare EasyDCP creator with the EasyDCP Resolve Plugin, but assuming you’re going the plugin route, you need to make a choice about the modules that you purchase.

  • Packager Plugin – this is the core part of the EasyDCP plugin.  This module lets you author DCP direct from DaVinci Resolve.
  • Playback Plugin – this allows you to add an authored DCP package to the Resolve media pool just like any other clip – while not the same as using a dedicated DCP player, this module allows you some degree of QC checking of an authored DCP.
  • Encryption Module – if you need to create encrypted DCPs you’ll need this module.  It allows you to create KDMs (Key Delivery Messages) for venues that rely on encrypted DCPs.  There is quite a bit to KDM delivery and maintenance, so purchase this if you know you require this functionality.
  • Decryption Module – this module lets you playback encrypted DCPs –  you’ll need the playback module as well.

For most small shops, the necessary modules are going to be the Packager and Playback ones.

 

EasyDCP pricing
While certainly not ‘cheap’. The EasyDCP Resolve Plugin offers streamlined DCP creation and playback. EasyDCP also offers their full featured Creator & EasyDCP player packages. Image courtesy of EasyDCP.

 

Unless you know you’re going to need them, the encryption modules are probably not worth the extra investment for most indie DCP creators.

Purchasing the Packager & Playback modules will run you about $1800, and adding the encryption/decryption modules will obviously add a bit more.

Here’s the cool thing – if you just want to test out the EasyDCP workflow, every install of Resolve has a trial version of EasyDCP functionality built-in. As you’d expect, this trial has several limitations – output is watermarked, playback will only show you full quality for a moment and then will degrade & audio will also drop out.

I’ll show you in the video below how to access EasyDCP, as well as (when you’re ready) to handle the semi-convoluted licensing process.

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Comments

33 thoughts on “Getting To Know The EasyDCP Resolve Plugin”

      1. Hi Robbie!
        Thanks for the heads up regarding your name.
        In the video you didn’t change the gamma from 2.4 to 2.6 for the final DCP setting. Is there an specific reason for this?

        Should the Legal range of Rec.709 be changed to Extended setting for the delivery and playback of the DCP test? Or when grading log/raw material for theatrical release, should the Extended range be used instead of the Legal range?
        Thanks in advance!

        1. Switching the FSI monitor I have into P3 automatically switches it in a gamma of 2.6. Additionally when using Resolve Color management and choosing DCI-P3 for output color space also puts you into a 2.6 gamma. I should have shown the check box for separate color space/gamma and that would have shown 2.6. But again choosing DCI P3 does indeed use a gamma of 2.6 and matches the monitoring chain I had.

          Since I’m doing any grading/transforms on the timeline, the timeline colorspace can remain the same. When placing the DCP on a timeline – without further grading, the timeline color space option has no effect on the image – but to play it safe you could always switch that to DCI-P3 as well.

          Legal/Full range choice is all about matching what your display is doing – if you’re grading on a full range cinema projector then choose full range. Working on a legal levels video monitor choose legal levels.

          So I could have switched my FSI over to data (full range) levels and switched Resolve to full range as well but since both were set to legal when I recorded the image look as expected – you run into issues when there is a mismatch

          1. Robbie, thanks for the details in the response.

            It’s good to know that DR automatically selects the 2.6 gamma when working in DCI-P3.

            I though the Legal and Extended range setting deals not only with monitoring the signal, but data internal processing as well. For your answer it seems like it is not. I might need to go back and watch Patrick’s videos on Legal vs Extended range uses.

          2. two different things – Full Range/Legal in video monitoring settings Full Range/Legal in rendering. I was talking about the video monitoring settings. For the rendering options almost always I leave that option set to auto to allow Resolve to negotiate it based on codec etc, unless I know specifically what I need.

            RE: P3 setting you can see this for your self. in the RCM settings choose P3 and then click the checkbox to show separate color space/gamma you’ll see 2.6 as the default match to P3.

          3. Great! I went back to DR User Manual. Yup! You are right regarding the differences between rendering and monitoring settings. My confusion was based in the fact that you were exporting, (processing) to DCI-P3.
            Once again, thanks for the clarification.

          4. noticed you did no change the input color space to xyz does resolve automatic know that similar to raw files?

          5. yes correct – I actually put a lower 3rd in that part of the movie as I didn’t mention it specifically. The DCP automatically gets flagged as XYZ regardless of what you’re Input Color Space is set to in the RCM settings. Which is actually a nice thing – one less thing to think about!

  1. Hey Robbie, Have you used dcp-o-matic? Ifs free and supports encryption and batching. Maybe you can run though that in a part 2. Can you export xyz jpeg2000s from resolve directly to apply to other free DCP apps?

  2. Hi Robbie, thank you for this Insight, very timely for me. Unfortunately I am not ready to lay down the cash for easyDCP for just one job at the moment. SO here is a noobie question. I received a film already graded to add some last fixes. I delivered the film to a local theater that agreed to make the DCP for my client as a 2k ProRes422HQ.mov. When they screened the DCP I saw most blacks were lifted and color was a little washed out. So my question is (if it does not require another Insight!) what are the necessary project settings and output format to deliver the film to them and have a decent chance at getting the right color?

    1. sounds like who ever did the DCP might have some of their XYZ transforms a bit off. Or guessed gamma etc. One thing I always do regardless if I’m making handing of a file for someone to make a DCP is annotate the file with technical information. So something like this: NameOfFilm_2048x858_23.98_239Scope_5_1_Audio_Rec709_Gamma2.4

      My guess is that who ever made the DCP just made the wrong assumptions about what the file was. But could have been other things too…but that’s my 2cents.

  3. Thanks Robbie for the detailed Insight, lots of infos packed here!

    I wonder if you (or some members) have already taken benefit of the plugin that ships with Premiere for creating a DCP: the ‘lite’ version of Wraptor DCP (http://bit.ly/2mqh2an). For scenarios where Lumetri is enough/Resolve not required (or when Resolve is used for grading and Premiere for finishing), I wonder if this built-in option could be of any help. Lite version is limited to 2K, but the 3 video sizes Full/Flat/Scope are there (cf. screen grab). Only caveat is bitrate fixed at 250 Mbps (pro licence needed to adjust it…), and also not sure of which DCP format is created (24 AND 25 fps are possible, so maybe it toggles Interop/SMPTE format depending of user’s choice?). Any thoughts/feedback appreciated. Thanks!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d5117bdf1fa43fbc64493405219b3e0965fa593d0b268d163c317da58a20cfe1.jpg

    1. I’ve tested out the Premiere Wraptor plugin. It’s a mess. Robbie’s right not to cover. If you’re looking for free solutions, check out DCP-o-Matic. The name is terrible, but it’s a fantastic and free tool. I learned about it from a friend who owns a local art house cinema and often has to create his own DCPs for one off screenings or smaller festivals. In the last couple years, I’ve used it to create dozens of DCPs without a single issue.

      1. Yep, I’ve never really given Wraptor a go. I will for sure be doing a future Insight on DCP-O-Matic. its a popular free tool and works well – there are some intermediate steps of course compared to the Easy DCP plugin but its free!

    2. I had a horrible experience with the Adobe/Wraptor route. Found out 48 hrs before the screening that the DCP was no good! Wound up using OpenDCP (free) and it worked like a charm. Workflow is a little tedious – lots of individual steps & intermediate file exports, but the end result was perfect.

  4. Hi Robbie, lot of precious info in this insight. Thanks!
    I just wanted to ask you if you ever thought about grading directly in a P3 color space (since your Flanders can show you that color space) rather that leaving the plug in to handle the conversion process from rec709 to P3.

    1. sure – if I knew that was the main deliverable. At least with my projects, the vast majority of them start out for TV, Blu-Ray or some other 709 deliverable the theater screening is a one off. Since 709 is already contained in the boundaries of P3 I don’t have to worry about making any creative sacrifices – go the other way around – if you pushed the grade in P3 you may need to do a more serious trim pass when going to 709. Make sense?

  5. For anyone who needs to get a 29.97 master to 24.00, I found a service called Isovideo that does amazing work. Using their own proprietary software they can not only make perfect 24fps (no frame skipping or blending), they even add the proper motion blur so that the resulting 24fps appears correct for 180 degree film shutter. Beats the hardware boxes by a mile. Check them out at: http://isovideo.com/press_915.php

      1. They process in house, but we are usually able to do the round trip transfer of the files online.
        Isovideo’s CTO is Keith Slavin ([email protected]). Super nice guy. I definitely recommend getting in touch with him and send him one of your own short clips for a demo. The results are pretty mind blowing. I once sent him a baked master that was an edited mix of film telecined to 29.97i (the usual 3:2 cadence) and standard 29.97i video. Somehow he was able to get perfect 23.976p out of it, including where the two video types were cross dissolved together! He also does the best de-interlacing and upscale I’ve ever seen. They aren’t the cheapest but because they are totally file based I can send Keith a set of media managed clips for processing and he will send them back with the same file names and length. So, I just relink and boom, they are ready to go. The time savings more than make up for the cost of the processing compared to manually running individual clips through a hardware box and back. Let me know what you think of Isovideo. I’d be curious how you feel they compare to other options out there.

  6. Robbie, I was told years ago that it’s necessary to set the inode size to 128 on
    ext2/3 formatted DCP drives. I always make sure to do this when I format my DCP drives, but you didn’t mention inode size. Have I been doing this extra step unnecessarily?

    1. Yeah, I didn’t mention this because it’s one of those things you get varying answers on depending who you ask.

      You’re right that an inode size of 128 is the most ‘universal’ in the sense that servers with older kernals support it.

      However, most formatting tools will default to 256 and all ‘newer’ servers with newer kernals should have no problem with an inode size of 256. I’ve formatted a few drives with 256 and I haven’t had a problem – but in those cases I’m good friends with the theater owner (small art house theater) so if something went wrong he’d just tell me

      So like you, I still format the majority MBR/ext2/128 (remember ext3 is just journaling- not really needed)

      1. Thank you for the confirmation! Very glad to know I haven’t been wasting my time formatting my drives manually in the terminal. Most of the DCPs I make get sent all over the place, so better safe than sorry.

  7. We use the same workflow but we have easyDCP player and creator bundle with the Resolve plugins included. As we are education we get a 50% discount and the easyDCP player and creator bundle costs one euro more than the Resolve encode & player plugins (no education discount on the plugins).

    A new(-ish) feature of the bundle (creator & player) allows you to have the Resolve plugins NOT on the same computer as creator & player, which is cool. We have been a beta tester when easyDCP was first added, we’ve kept our license active with support agreement (also 50% discount) and its been create to see new features and updating of the DCI naming convention.

    Oh the Resolve plugin works on the Linux version.

  8. Hi! Thanks for the great tutorial, have you ever used the easy DCP Publisher? I need to create only one dcp for a low budget short film and I would like to use this option, since there’s no since in purchasing the plug in for just one tiny project. They don’t specify how much it costs in the end, they just say it depends on the length. Any ideas? Thanks!!!

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