In my capacity as an editor at a post-production house, I often have to play out other people's edits to digibeta. These are generally delivered to me as quicktimes, and I usually ask for these to be rendered out as 8- or 10-bit Uncompressed video, or DV if that's what has been shot.
However, these requests are often lost in the chain of me - my managers - the client's PA - the client - the kid he's paid
H.264 is one of the variable codecs used for HD DVD authoring, and a fantastic internet delivery codec due to it's image quality and low filesize. Though, even at high data rates, I don't think I'd personally lay that to tape for broadcast. I agree with you, that on playback it will be fine, but after broadcast it will probably suffer from banding and other types of noise issues. I could be wrong, and I'd be interested in what others have to say, but that's my two cents.
North Hollywood, CA
"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution." - Bill Hicks
I found your post in the Broadcast Video forum, but figured I'd reply here since there aren't any responses there.
I'd go with your gut instinct. You're right about the broadcast recompression. It could go through as many as 2 additional compressions: ingest into playback server, digital transmission (over-the-air, digital satellite/cable). Not to mention that it's an inter-frame codec. The questions are: Does it meet the broadcaster's standards? Does it meet client approval?
If the project had my name on it somewhere, I'd be asking for those Uncompressed videos, because I believe in putting out as good of a product as I can that meets or exceeds broadcast practices. I say 'practices,' referring to what most of the networks (not local stations) call for/expect, because 'broadcast standards' doesn't really mean much anymore. But that's just me.
This is actually a question of mine. I'm using h.264 to send material from the field because of the file size. With upload speeds restricted to 80 to 100 Kbps sometimes, it's a lifesaver. However, if it's going to look horrible, I'd rather send a higher quality file. The stations typically aren't resending it anywhere, so any recompression is going to be done to get it onto a playback server. What do you think? Where should I look for technical best practices.
I'm using h.264 to send material from the field because of the file size
Are you in a situation like a mobile/remote newsroom, or are you a content/commercial producer?
Check with the station for their delivery specifications. In recent years though, they have (in my experience) become very flexible with how content is delivered (that is, they have lowered their standards for money). I'd better stop there before I start to rant. Usually, they'll ask for a "broadcast-quality" tape-based format. If you're an independent producer, you should rent or buy a deck (borrow is best, of course), or use a production house/TV station to master out. I'd recommend against a file-based delivery, unless you can give them one that is compatible with their playback servers without recompression (if they have the ability to import it). Otherwise, a video in H.264 will be recompressed/transcoded for their server (or compressed/rendered for tape output), then recompressed again when it is encoded and multiplexed for their digital transmission. It won't look so hot then.
If you're in an ENG situation, you should really check with your news director, chief photog, and engineering about how best to send videos.