So how did you calibrate your monitor and were you prepared to do a trim pass at a D.I. facility for making the DCP?
The monitor was calibrated using an iOne Display Pro device, using the ColorNavigator software from Eizo. The calibration was stored in the display, and I ran HDMI to the display from the BlackMagic card.
There is no budget for a trim pass, hence the short test that I viewed in the DI theater. From the test, I decided to add a slight increase in saturation to the whole timeline (less than 5%), and I did see the effect of the DCP assuming gamma 2.4, when I worked at gamma 2.2. This made the DCP slightly darker than my display, but I rather liked it that way. The color rendering of the DCI theater matched my Eizo precisely. I was actually rather surprised by the perfect match. (of course, not a side by side comparison, but no two theaters are alike anyway)
In the past, I've always checked the DCP for gamma correction in person. The post house in Moscow needs to make a DCP in one day to meet the delivery contract this time around. They might upload a short test (showing 3 gamma assumption choices) that I can bring to a DI theater here in LA to view. This would help to confirm that all is ok and that they can make the "release prints" from there. I'm not sure the production will spend the money for this short screening though, and I'm done adding my own money for tests.
To make it more clear to some of the readers for this post, there is no specific gamma specification for REC709 and gammas from 2.2 to 2.4 are commonly used. In the DCP creation software, a conversion must take place from REC709 color space to P3 (DCI/DCP spec) gamma 2.6 color space. The origin gamma entered into the software for conversion effects the gamma or "brightness" of the final DCP. If I grade in gamma 2.2 and they enter 2.4, the resulting DCP will look a little darker than my grading monitor. But, a projection theater is not the same viewing experience as an emissive display, and from my experience, a little darker gamma works well for projection in a theater.
Our problem is that our producer is concerned about dark projection in the multiplexes, and would probably opt for something a little bit light, rather than dark. I know our venue for the big premiere is a 2000 seat venue with a projection system that only reaches about 7 foot lamberts. That's about 1/2 perfect screen brightness. They have two projectors there, and in the past, I've gotten them to test putting the DCP simultaneously through the 2 projectors to reach 14 ft/lb. However, there seems to be no one who knows how to properly register the two projectors well enough, and they will not guarantee that the DCP will play all the way through on two projectors due to the encryption system and server. I've given up on this after 3 previous premieres in this venue.
I hope I'm not going too far off on a tangent here, but the gamma conversion issue does raise it's head when grading on an emissive display rather than a DCI projection theater. But our budget is what it is and the filmmakers will not pay for enough time in a theater, so ... I'm doing the grading myself (and getting paid for it!) rather than observing a low budget colorist grading on the same equipment I am not the fastest colorist in the world, but, I think, I've gotten pretty darned good at it. At least to create the movie that I photographed look as I intended.
Be warned fellow cinematographers: Do not try this at home! Ok, you can, but be warned: Grading a feature is a marathon and the responsibility and stress level can be more than during principal photography. You are the last step in the process, there is a deadline, last minute changes to the film edit, and all the money depends on getting the movie out on time. It gives me a real appreciation for those post people doing the stuff we never see them doing!