We simply copied and pasted the exact contents of the DCP master to 5x consumer small USB powered 320-500gb hard drives like this, labelled them up and then Picturehouse took control of those and distributed them physically across the country to sites in Brighton, Newcastle, Southampton, Henley and across London.
Even these hard drives felt too big to be honest. As Gin & Dry is a short film, the total combined file size of the DCP was 22gb for a 15 minute film. These days you can find tiny USB sticks with enough memory for that, which would save you a lot in terms of postal costs if you were self distributing nationwide or even globally on a big scale.
The great thing is that once a DCP has been ingested onto a server, no KDM means they can remain on that server in principle forever. Unlike a 35mm print, you don’t have to keep copies physically at the cinema as cinemas with multiple digital screens have the capacity to internally copy the film across from 1 screen to another, whilst the DCP is winging it’s way over to another cinema location for ingest. I worked out that you could easily take your film on the tube to every Picturehouse site in London and ingest the DCP into all their servers in less a day. Digital screens also have the capability to be wirelessly downloaded from a central server, removing any need to physically move hard drives around between sites. This costs more money as the bandwidth/server time is charged and can take many hours to download a film ready to play to a server. Our short took about 30 minutes to ingest at each cinema via USB 2.
RIGHT CLICK > CREATE DCP?
This is the future of theatrical distribution. I cannot see 35mm lasting much longer – it makes no sense at all to lug around massive 35mm reels when you can remotely drop a file onto a server. I can see in a few years time Final Cut Studio, Avid Media Composer, Premiere Cs etc allowing you to export a SMPTE/ISO standardised DCP direct from the grade. It has to happen. At the moment there are ‘home’ alternatives to systems like Clipster, such as EasyDCP which for an affordable price you can create them on desktop PCs.
I can see a future where the internet allows independent filmmakers to self distribute films to a theatrical level better than 35mm standard – direct to cinema owners, the only barrier will be convincing cinemas that your film is good enough and will bring an audience.
Big thanks to Soren Kloch – DCP specialist at Rack & Pinn for his guidance and help on the Gin & Dry release and on getting a grip on how DCP’s work.
Find out all about the film here
Producer | Capture
The special edition poster with the cinema logos below: