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Old April 9th, 2019, 03:12 AM   #1
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DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

Hi folks. I'm now diving into the magical world of DCI Compliant DCPS for a feature documentary I've finished that's entering into the film festival circuit. Attended a workshop on DCPs about 18 months ago so nothing is coming as a great surprise (thought it didn't then) but I am curious on what folks have done with an aspect ratio I'll need to fix. I've seen a variety of different stuff online but I'm curious what folks have done here.

I shot my film in 1920X1080 (1.78). As I understand it for a proper DCP to show theatrically it needs to be 1.85 Academy Flat or 2.39 Scope. How have folks adjusted their video format with the least loss of framing/quality?

Screenshot from: Stage 32's workshop "DCP 101". I'm not affiliated with them in anyway just wanted to give credit where credit is due.
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Old April 9th, 2019, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

Are you sure the DCP cannot be in 1920 x 1080? I had a DCP made for me that was, unless the DCP maker was not familiar with most theater formats.

So therefore, if it has to be 1.85, I would suggest in your editing program, bring the entire movie, into a new sequence that is 1920 x 1038, which is equilavent to 1.85:1, or the closet I could calculate to it. You might loose a bit of the framing on the top and bottom but not too bad, I would say. I'm not expert but do you think that would work?
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Old April 10th, 2019, 05:12 PM   #3
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

Ryan: yeah that's basically exactly what I've done (if anyone has a better solution, I'm all ears). I tried it both ways (pictured here). I created two project sequences at 1.85 resolutions to test with my source footage being 1920X1080. Below are two frames attached. When scaling the footage to 105% (to cover the pillar boxes) you have the choice of moving the frame up or down a bit if desired, but depending on how you can shoot that might cut some stuff off. In the end I realized that the best case was to not move the picture vertically so that when I scale it cuts a little bit each of the top and bottom but not a lot of only the top or bottom, however that means I'll have to adjust my lower thirds slightly as well (image 3).

1998X1080

1920X1037
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DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical-aspectratiiotest_1998x1080.jpg   DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical-aspectratiotest_1037_withoutheightadjust.jpg  

DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical-lowerthirdadjustment.jpg  
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Old April 10th, 2019, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

Personally, I would just pillarbox the image in a 1998x1080 frame.
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Old April 10th, 2019, 05:28 PM   #5
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

As I understand it there are two reasons you don't want to do that. 1. The curtains that will go to the "edge" of your screen and are set for an automatic distance from the screen itself often won't match the color of your black pillarboxes. So you'll have two sets of pillarboxes. Which can be a little distracting, especially since it's uncommon to the general viewers theatrical experience. 2. Mileage varies with projectionists experience and skill. Some of them will see the pillarboxes and try to fix it by digitally stretching itto fit the format which can end up with a look you want to avoid (everyone looking fatter) to distortion on text and circular objects.

Last edited by Josh Hayes; April 11th, 2019 at 05:21 AM. Reason: Misspelling.
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Old April 11th, 2019, 07:06 AM   #6
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

I have definitely seen movies with different aspect ratios throughout, from docs to films like Galaxy Quest and the pillarboxing isnít distracting.
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Old April 13th, 2019, 01:41 AM   #7
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

The pillarboxing would might weird in this case I think, cause it's not meant to be a movie where the aspect ratio, changes right, so it would be weird to see a little pillar boxing on the sides.

Is the movie shot so tight in his framing that shaving off 42 pixels off the bottom of the screen is too much?

But then again a lot of movies are shot in aspect ratios that are wider than 1.85:1 and put have letterboxing on the top and bottom, so maybe it's okay, to have pillarboxing on the sides therefore...
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Old April 29th, 2019, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: DCP - Conforming 1920X1080 footage to Flat or Scope for theatrical

Oops forgot to set up auto updates when someone responded to the thread, sorry about that.

Yeah I reached out to a few film festivals and they also said they didn't suggest and some said they wouldn't take it with pillarboxing. No the movie is shot too tight at all that's why I decided to just do the adjustment since most guides tell you to do so, and each of the filmmakers that went theatrical I talked to also suggested it. The point about some projectionists trying to fix it and stretching the whole film is still there also. As a viewer only I'd find it a little strange but would probably get used to it, but when it's your first film going theatrical and you want to have your best showing, if it's an easy fix I don't see why one shouldn't fix it.

Only thing I really have to do is lift the lower thirds and there's a scene with burnt in subtitles as well that will have to be raised.
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