easyDCP software suite – Ten years of enabling easy access to Digital Cinema

The postproduction software easyDCP has secured its place on the market for creation, playback, and quality control of digital cinema packages DCPs and Interoperable Master Packages (IMPs) for ten years now. Its rich functionality is not only available through the easyDCP standalone software, but is also integrated into a number of cutting-edge postproduction tools via the easyDCP software Application Programming Interface (API). Features like Dolby Atmos support, advanced subtitling options, GPU-accelerated real-time playback, GPU-accelerated JPEG 2000 encoding (Windows), advanced scaling features, extended export features, and for some years now authoring of Interoperable Master Packages (IMP) make it a reliable tool for generating DCPs and IMPs.

For almost a century it was sufficient to use a film roll, a projector, and a white wall or sheet of linen to display movie content at any time everywhere in the world. That seemed to be over – when digital became the new magic code for cinema beginning in the year 2005. The intention of the team of Heiko Sparenberg and Siegfried Foessel at Fraunhofer IIS was to keep this easy access to movie content everywhere, anytime, and almost on any cinema projection system also in the digital age. The starting point was the development of a reliable test plan for digital cinema systems on behalf of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI).

But – on the way to make digital cinema a common reality – that was only step one. Step two was to create tools, conform to the DCI specs, easy to handle so also non-digital-cinema natives could create a digital movie and play it on a big screen. This was the birth of easyDCP. After the release and the great feedback from postproduction people, easyDCP became a renowned software suite for the reliable creation and playback of DCPs and for Interoperable Master Packages (IMPs), too. Film festivals like the Berlinale have used it to guarantee screening of all submitted content. Meanwhile, the tools with the brand easyDCP are used in more than 1,800 postproduction houses and on every continent.

Without Detour to Digital Cinema – easyDCP Publisher

The most recent approach to enable smart workflows in postproduction was the development of the easyDCP Publisher. It is an all-in-one software solution for the generation and playback of Digital Cinema Packages (DCP) based on the recognized and wide-spread easyDCP suite. “It’s up to the business and workflow model of the post-house if they want to use the elaborated possibilities of an own stand-alone suite or a pay-as-you-go model for only a few movies per year”, explains Heiko Sparenberg, Head of the Digital Cinema group at Fraunhofer IIS. “We decided to make easyDCP also available via an on-demand licensing option, as we understand that many clients need reliable authoring software even for a smaller quantity of jobs.“

And the considerations did not stop at this point – a version with a data bridge between easyDCP Publisher and Final Cut Pro is also released in the easyDCP Publisher. Big advantage: this first end-to-end workflow directly from Final Cut Pro X’s timeline to the easyDCP Publisher ecosystem guarantees users a continuous workflow for DCP creation. The integrated step to the easyDCP Publisher allows an easy way for cinematographers, post-houses, and movie enthusiasts to create a standard compatible distribution package for the cinema. With this seamless transition from Final Cut’s editing timeline to easyDCP Publisher, users have the ability to carry out further improvements on the content as often as necessary.

And the next 10 years start with….

“At present, the major challenges lie in a further, fundamental change in the work processes of many customers. Our customers already receive the content through the cloud and they have to download, edit, and finally upload them back to cloud storage. It is therefore obvious that processing a movie directly in the cloud makes lengthy work steps superfluous”, states Heiko Sparenberg.

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