November 14, 2016 at 12:36AM


Best Composition & Rendering Values for 1080p movie to exhibit in Movie Theaters ??

I'm working on a movie project and want to exhibit in local movie theaters, and I want to know, the best composition and rendering values (including Cinemascope's Accept ratio, Format and Frame rate), to get the best movie look. Please Help Me :D


If you are delivering a DCP hard drive, the demands are a bit different than if you were delivering say, a Blu-Ray disk. If delivering a file, you might ask about the standards they want. They probably won't know, but it's worth a try.
"Scope" in HD is 1920 x 1080 with letterboxes reducing the used space to 1920 x 816. Frame rates in the US are 23.976p and 59.94i. Consumer formats are 8-bit, 2.2 Gamma and brightness values should stay between 16 and 235 to avoid clipping.

For 2K DCP, "scope" is 2048 x 858, 24, 25, 30, 48, 50 and 60 progressive only. I suggest sticking with 24p since it's what people are used to seeing. The gamma and color-space/gamut are different from consumer video formats, which is why so many locally-produced commercials before the movies look murky. It's best to shoot for the output medium but you can convert between the two standards if necessary. DCP is 12-bit JPEG2000 2.6 Gamma with 24-bit 48K PCM audio in an MXF wrapper.

That's mostly it for the technical stuff. Now for my personal recommendations:
Do everything you can to keep compression and rolling shutter to a minimum and use greater than 8-bit capture/post if you can. Those artifacts are annoying on You Tube but absolutely nauseating on a 10M high screen. Avoid resizing if you can, so if you shot in HD and need to deliver DCP, don't resize to 2048, it will be sharper if you leave it at 1920. Also, use the best lens you can, avoid gain and don't try for a razor thin DoF. Most lenses are sharpest at F4-F8 any way. Extreme grading is blatantly obvious in the theater too, so do your best to shoot the way you want to see the final image. Film and Alexa look bad enough when the colorist screws with the image but can handle way more abuse than DSLR video. There aren't specified standards for those things but you want the cleanest, clearest image possible. Also, if you ask me, the "scope" aspect ratio needs to be retired in the digital age. On film, you got a wider image and less grain. On video, the screen just has a bunch of wasted space. Optimal dimensions for HD is 1920 x 1080, optimal for DCP is 2048 x 1080.

November 14, 2016 at 5:07AM, Edited November 14, 5:31AM


In fact H.265 would be good enough for screening a film (with at least 10-15 Mbit/s). Some larger filmfestivals want ProRes but that's no big deal. It's just a larger file format.

November 15, 2016 at 6:09AM, Edited November 15, 6:09AM

Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller

Your Comment