Downloading a DCP from Google Drive

We use Google Cloud Storage for storing DCPs. DCPs are delivered as Google Drive links.

There is one gotcha with downloading large files from Google Drive. Please read the below for instructions on how to do so successfully.

If you've already downloaded the link but the DCP will not ingest into the cinema's server, please see below for how to fix it.

Downloading successfully

Some browsers have strange behaviour when downloading collections of large files from Google Drive.

By default, Google Drive will convert the DCP to a ZIP file if you download the whole folder as one ZIP file.

We recommend downloading each file in the DCP individually.

When you click on the DCP download link, it will look something like this:

Google Drive DCP download 1

Do not click DOWNLOAD ALL. Instead click on the DCP folder (the long name stating with abbreviated title of the film). You'll see the contents of the folder:

Google Drive DCP download 2

Take note of the DCP name. Create a folder on your computer with this same name.

Google Drive DCP download 3

Now download each file in the DCP folder individually. Hover over each file in turn and click the "Download" button.

Save the files to the folder you created before.

Google Drive DCP download 4

or it may look like this:

Google Drive DCP download 5

Make sure you download all the files. Usually a DCP contains 6 files (4 x small XML files, 2 x larger MXF files), but if the DCP has soft subtitles/captions there may be more than 6 files.

You have your DCP!

Google Drive DCP download 6

Fixing a faulty download

If you already downloaded with the DOWNLOAD ALL method, and the cinema tells you that the DCP will not ingest into their server, here's how to fix it.

You can do this yourself, or pass these instructions on to the cinema/festival so they can fix at their end.

What's the problem?

Sometimes, what is downloaded is not all the files together in a single ZIP file, but most of the files in a ZIP file, and the largest files individually.

The problem is that the larger files get renamed in the process. The cinema server is looking for a file but it can't find it because it has a different name from what it's expecting.

The solution is very simple: Rename the files back to what they should be called.

What you get when you download

It will usually look something like this:

Google Drive DCP download 7

When you unzip the ZIP file, you get:

Google Drive DCP download 8

The largest file(s) have been downloaded separately.

The fix: Step 1

You'll see these files which were downloaded separately have -001, -002 or -003 on the end of the filename (before the .mxf, if your operating system shows you file extensions).

Google Drive DCP download 9

Check what the filenames are in the original Google Drive link:

Google Drive DCP download 10

You'll see these -002 endings are not present in the original on Google Drive (expand the browser window sideways if you can't see the whole filenames).

The fix: Rename these files to remove the -001 / -002. Check that the filenames match exactly what they are in Google Drive now.

Google Drive DCP download 11

The fix: Step 2

Move these files into the folder with the rest:

Google Drive DCP download 12

Now delete the ZIP file.

Google Drive DCP download 6

Hey presto! The DCP is magically repaired.

It didn't work

All DCPs we upload are automatically "hash-checked" to ensure they're uploaded exactly correctly. The DCP as it is in Google Drive is a valid working DCP.

You could try to download again, or feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Why don't you just upload DCPs as ZIP files?

You'd think that would avoid all this bother.

Unfortunately ZIP files have their own problems. Apple Mac's built-in unzip program "Archive Utility" has a horrible bug in it where it doesn't deal properly with files over 4 GB in size (practically all DCPs). This bug has been present for over 10 years, so clearly they're not going to fix it any time soon.

The result is that ZIP files created correctly to the ZIP spec won't open on Mac OS. And ZIP files created on Mac OS won't open anywhere except a Mac.

Consequently, we avoid sending ZIP files, to avoid these incompatibility problems.

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