Audio with DCP


Most cinemas have at least 6 different audio channels. Although on your home audio system you might have 2 channels (left and right), with the speakers fairly close together, a cinema will almost always have:

Also, a cinema's left and right speakers will usually be quite a long way apart.

You can make a DCP with all these channels present, if your sound mixer has made a ‘5.1’ mix. If you only have 2 channels (stereo) you have a few options:


The other major thing to consider with audio is the level; i.e. how loud it is.

The most important thing is that the audio must not clip. This happens when the audio is so loud that it hits the limits of the levels that the DCP can describe. If this happens, your audio will sound terrible: extremely loud, and badly distorted.

It is also a good idea to get the audio to approximately the right level. Commercial DCP content is mastered so that if a cinema plays it at their “usual” audio level it will sound about “right”. Often they will assume that your DCP is at a similar level. Cinemas can turn the content up and down, but this requires someone to be checking the levels in the auditorium, and this does not always happen for every screening.