What is a CPL?

What is a CPL?

‘CPL’ is the abbreviation for ‘Composition Playlist’.

Your DCP can consist of several video and audio streams. For example, your DCP could consist of

  • a) Video Stream 1
  • b) Audio Stream 1
  • c) Audio Stream 2

You would want the projectionist in a theater to know, that he/she can play two different versions of your film:

  • CPL A: Video Stream 1 + Audio Stream 1
  • CPL B: Video Stream 1 + Audio Stream 2

This means, a CPL defines a specific combination of several assets that are included in a DCP. In other words: A CPL is a playlist for a specific ‘version’ inside your DCP.

Each CPL has a name (or title). The Digital Cinema Naming Convention defines how this CPL name should be structured.

For example, if your film’s title is ‘Great Film’, your CPL could look like this:


As you can see, the part behind your title consists of metadata related to a specific version of your film. In this case:

  • Trailer #2
  • Container: Flat
  • Internal Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None (‘XX’)
  • Audio: 5.1
  • Resolution: 2K
  • DCP created: 03/20/2015
  • DCP created by: DCP Manufaktur
  • DCP Standard: Interop

These rules also define, that in a CPL

  • space characters aren’t allowed and should be replaced by “_”
  • the leading title can have a maximum of 14 characters