Jump to content


How Should I Export for a Movie Theater?

Recommended Posts

I was asked to make a short animation for a film festival that will play before the each screening in a movie theater. I am pretty new to using Cinema4d and After Effects and am wondering what kind of export settings I should use in each program. My workflow involves creating scenes in C4d and then editing/compositing in After Effects.  Many whom I've asked simply suggest exporting 1920x1080 pixles.

So far the settings I've been using to render in c4d are:

1920x1080 pixles

300 dpi

TIFF (psd layers)

8 bit


Then I bring in the sequence to After Effects and after editing/compositing export as an .mov file. 


Any thoughts on this? I'd hate to render/edit an entire animation and then find out that it looks terrible upon projection. Apologies if this is a newbie question I have literally never done this before. 


Many thanks!





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to render out the resolution required and specified by the theater and their projection system. This is information you need to ask for from the festival organisers or the theater and not ask in forums.


It is important to check as most digital theaters are either 2K or 4K resolution. 1920x1080 is more home resolution, but it does depend on the theater and projector being used. You may even find that they provide something other than a 16:9 format which doesn't mean you need to use it, but it's something to consider. Most projectors can scale a lower resolution video without too much issue if you were to output 1920x1080, but it could affect the quality of the finished output.


The only setting you have in there that is unnecessary is 300 dpi. You can leave it at the default of 72 dpi for screen. It doesn't really matter, but it's just an unnecessary change you've made for screen outputs. DPI is a measure for print output, not screen.


TIFF files are generally unnecessary as well and are usually larger than PNG files, but that is more personal preference than a necessity in your situation. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Topic Author
  • Hi ABMotion, 


    Thanks for the speedy reply! Even if the ultimate answer lies with the theater and their specs, this is still very useful info. Appreciate it!

    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    @katm Yes, definitely find out the top resolution of the festival equipment and render at that. TIFF files are superior, sure, but it's overkill unless you intend to do a lot of post processing. PNGs work fine if you're just assembling the image sequences, or even doing simple compositing in AE.


    Keep in mind that the biggest loss of quality you'll face (after resolution) is in the final compression.  Adobe Media Encoder has a lot of presets that you can look through depending on the resolution you're going for.  A lot of festivals take film submissions through Vimeo, so I stick with Vimeo's 1080p preset (just make sure that you set it to 2-pass, which can make a big difference over 1-pass). I've been to small festivals where they are running films off of a laptop, and inevitably someone submitted their film at a higher resolution or an abnormally high bitrate, and the laptop couldn't handle it - so "bigger is better" doesn't always work.


    Is this for a festival in NYC?  I'm intending to submit my latest short film to a couple fests out there.

    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.