Technical Requirements for Festival Media

General information

The Berlinale 2021 will be held in two stages with the industry platforms kicking off with an online offer in March and a Berlinale Summer Special event for public audiences in June.

The following technical guidelines relate only to DCPs, that will be needed for jury screenings in February and/or for theatrical screenings during the Berlinale Summer Special in June.

Please find the technical guidelines for the online screenings (H.264) during the EFM Industry Event in March here.

Please find the technical guidelines for the promotional video files (H.264) for the Berlinale’s public relations activities respectively the Press & Industry Screenings here.


The delivery deadline for DCPs for the jury screenings is February 8, 2021, while the deadline for DCPs for the Berlinale Summer Special is April 6, 2021. These deadlines also apply to the delivery of DKDMs in case you provide an encrypted DCP.

Accepted Formats for the Berlinale Summer Special

Only DCPs will be screened during the Berlinale Summer Special. Please contact the if you are not able to provide a DCP.



Upload Please contact the .
Hard Drive USB 3.0 or CRU hard drive (SSD preferred)
Linux formatted (ext2/ext3) as per ISDCF recommendation, PDF (102 KB).


Naming The festival can only accept DCPs that follow the latest ISDCF DCP Naming Convention (Version 9.6.2).


Image Size HD, Full, Flat or Scope @ 2K or 4K
Encoding JPEG 2000 (variable bitrate preferred)
Bitrate <= 250 MBit/s
Frame rates 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 48 fps
3D Please contact the .
HFR Please contact the .
EclairColor Please contact the .
DolbyVision Not accepted

Please note: The festival can only guarantee the correct side-masking for DCPs that are using the entire area of Full, Flat, Scope or HD containers. For all other pillar- or letterboxed formats the festival will do its best to position the side-masking as accurately as possible.


Audio Format 2.0* and 5.1
Please contact the in case your film sound is in 7.1, Atmos or Auro.
Channel Layout As recommended by ISDCF, PDF (143 KB).

*Please note: All Stereo (2.0) DCPs will be upmixed to 5.1 during playback unless you explicitly request stereo playback. The Film Office does not recommend stereo playback in larger venues due to the missing center channel.


Format The festival prefers subtitles to be burned into the picture but XML and PNG subtitles are also accepted.
See subtitles for more information. Please note that the image can be cropped by up to 3% during projection.


Since 2012, the festival requests Distribution KDMs (DKDMs) for all encrypted DCPs. The keys have to be uploaded to the Berlinale's servers via web upload and are automatically verified upon entry. The festival cannot accept DKDMs sent by e-mail. All DKDMs must be valid from the moment the DCP arrives in Berlin until June 23, 2021.

Upon request you will receive an e-mail containing personalised login information to the festival's Digital Cinema Portal. Please do not pass this information on to any third parties (postproduction companies, labs, service providers), but instead contact the to have a separate account created for your contractors.

All DKDMs should be SMPTE ST 430-1 compliant and in the “Modified Transitional 1“ formulation as per ISDCF guidelines, PDF (125 KB).

All DKDMs should follow the KDM Naming Convention.

Delivery/Upload of DCPs

Please note: Provided that the film’s rights owners grant their approval, the Berlinale will save on its central data storage any DCP sent for February’s jury screenings and keep it stored until June 2021 for further use during the Berlinale Summer Special. Should a different - or additional - subtitle version of the film be required for June’s Summer Special screenings, the festival will notify the film’s rights owner in due time and ask for another DCP (or version file) to be sent.

These are the available delivery methods:

Delivery Method

Upload preferred
Hard Drives accepted

File Upload

The Berlinale provides a securely encrypted and efficient file upload to receive DCP files via the internet. The upload process is browser-based and integrated into the festival's Digital Cinema Portal which also provides the DKDM upload functionality. Please contact the in order to receive personalised login information to the festival's Digital Cinema Portal.

An internet connection with an upload speed of at least 50 Mbit/s is required to use the system. Uploading a 150 GB DCP will take about 8 to 10 hours at 50 Mbit/s. You can test your upload bandwidth by using the speedtest.

Supported Browsers and Aspera Connect Plugin
The festival's Digital Cinema Portal at requires a modern internet browser.

The supported platforms are:


Platforms Windows 7
Windows 10
macOS 10.12 or higher
Browsers Chrome Version 66.0 or higher
Firefox 60.0 or higher

Please note: Internet Explorer / Edge is not supported.

Please contact the in order to receive an e-mail containing personalised login information to the festival's Digital Cinema Portal. Please do not pass this information on to any third parties (postproduction companies, labs, service providers), but instead contact the to have a separate account created for your contractors.

Should you encounter problems uploading please contact the to have one of the festival's tech-team members help you.

Hard Drives

If, for some reason, you cannot upload your film, you can still deliver DCP files on a hard drive. However, the full cost of transport including customs fees and insurance, as well as the return freight, must be borne by the sender.

  • Hard drives have to be either USB 3.0 or CRU and have to be delivered with a 230 V power-supply, where applicable. SSDs are preferred.
  • For all shipments from outside of the European Union: Please use the proforma invoice template provided by your courier service and state a modest value for customs (about 20 USD) and please state as purpose of shipment “sample” (NOT “commercial”).
  • Please inform the about the airway bill number of your shipment and the estimated date of arrival.



The festival prefers subtitles to be “burned” into the picture.

XML, PNG, MXF Subtitles will also be accepted.

Other formats (.sub, .srt, etc.) are not accepted.

For films screened during the jury screenings in February English subtitles are required for all non-English dialogues. The festival may contact selected participants of the Summer Special in June in order to determine the availability of German subtitles for the summer screenings.

All subtitles have to be positioned in the “active area” of the image and must not be positioned on a black letterbox area.

We highly recommend that you have your subtitles produced by a professional subtitling provider.

Positioning Recommendations

The image may be cropped by up to 3% during projection, due to the position of the projector and the venue’s architecture. The Film Office therefore recommends that you observe a safe area of at least 5%.

From experience the Film Office recommends subtitles to have:

  • a font size between 38 and 40pt
  • a VAlign “bottom” with a VPosition of the lowest line between 8.0 and 10.0


Should we prepare an Interop or an SMPTE DCP?
The Film Office highly recommends that you prepare a SMPTE DCP as it has various advantages over the older Interop format, specifically they provide a wider range of frame rates and metadata, improved security and more robust subtitles.

Why and how is Berlinale testing my DCP?
Experience has shown that quite a number of DCPs delivered to the festival have technical errors and would cause issues during presentation. As a precaution the Film Office has developed an automated testing routine that all DCPs pass through. It is, however, the participant’s responsibility to properly test the DCP in a SMPTE compliant cinema from beginning to end before sending it to the festival. The tests by the Film Office then focus on data-structure errors and interoperability issues that might arise during playback on a specific projection system.

Why does Berlinale need a DKDM (master key) for my screenings?
There are two reasons why the Film Office asks you to supply the Berlinale with a DKDM:
1) A DKDM allows the festival to generate KDMs (keys) on very short notice for the theatres that are used during the festival. In case the festival needs to reschedule a screening or swap projectors / servers it is able to generate new keys as they are needed.
2) It enables the Film Office to test your DCP in a secure environment in advance. Without a key the Film Office cannot perform a number of critical tests.

How does the festival store my DCP and KDM?
Both, DCPs and KDMs are stored in a secure environment. Special access-control applies to the DCP storage room, ingest-systems and the data-center where all data is centrally stored.

Contact Film Office

Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin
Film Office
Voxstraße 3
10785 Berlin
Tel. +49 30 25920-888