NTSC Broadcast legal video
Due to the large numbers of clients wanting to create their own commercials and send them to us on MiniDV and DVD, I am forced to release a letter describing broadcast video legal levels, not to mention a myriad of other technical and legal (Copyright and such) issues. What I am looking for is a web site that explains legal broadcast levels well. Anyone have a favorite? I tried searching Google for "legal broadcast levels", but there is just a plethora of sites that don't really explain it very well.
Any other info would be helpful as well.
Now, if I can explain to a couple of clients why their consumer MiniDV camera doesn't record audio well, I'll be set. ;^)
Whites too high= highlights burn out or smear, Buzz in audio at home.
Blacks too low= picture looks dark and muddy
Chroma too high= picture looks like grandma's old Zenith, people glow in the dark.
Chroma too low= picture looks as if done in color pencil
Any or all of the above= station or network will reject content on technical grounds
Simple solutions= get scopes and learn to read them. Get a professional video monitor.
Anyone claiming to be doing "professional" production of content for broadcast has no excuse
for not learning the most basic technical aspects of their tools. If the content looks like crap, the message is lost.
Some Useful sites:
Tektronix "Beyond Color Bars"
Tektronix video measurement:
Leader index of test and measurement papers
Video University PDF "Broadcast Requirements for Commercials and Infomercials"
Thanks Chuck. I was working on simple explanations myself. I like some of yours better.
The leader index is a great source. I think that will be my main link. It seems easy enough to understand.
Make it real simple.
Instruct them that all corrections needed to comply with established broadcast standards will be billed at $499.99 an hour.
$499.98 of that is to put up with the stupidy of the client thinking they could produce professional broadcast quality work and the remaining 1 penny to cover overhead.
All of a sudden they might start to figure out it would be cheaper to hire you in the first place to deliver "broadcast quality" material from the start.
LOL! I like that - a lot! Unfortunately, my bosses and sales staff look at the buy time and see dollar signs. Without a concern about the quality. Which is why I am putting together a tech specifications sheet to send out to these clients.
I just got a spot on MiniDV from a client. The video was soft, muddy, and not shot well, the audio was echoing, and the graphics were hard to read. They saw it on the air and didn't like the audio. I told them I could put new audio onto it for cheap ($50), but they just went with it as is. This is a TV station in a top 50 market! I'm surprised this is allowed on the air.
[tony salgado] "$499.98 of that is to put up with the stupidy of the client thinking they could produce professional broadcast quality work and the remaining 1 penny to cover overhead.
All of a sudden they might start to figure out it would be cheaper to hire you in the first place to deliver "broadcast quality" material from the start."
Hmmmm, let's see if I can put on a wizard's cap and guess where you are. There are three distinct possibilites:
1) You're in a hyphenated market. Take the example of Grand Rapids - Kalamazoo - Battle Creek. None of those cities in Michigan are very big, but together, they're market #38. In that size of market, local advertisers - even big ones - don't have very big ad budgets, and production costs can really eat into their time buys.
2) You're at one of those "other" affiliates. Back in the day, such shenanigans were the province of independent TV stations. But now those stations tend to be affilated with networks like UPN, WB, Pax and so forth. Heck, those guys have enough troubles just getting people to watch. Quality production is low on their list, and EVERYBODY's money is good! Even Sleazy Al's Fly-By-Night Carpets.
3) You're at a cable system. Now, there are good franchises, and there are not-so-good ones. The not-so-good ones tend to view the market in the same way the "other" affiliates do.
If the answer is "none of the above", yipes! But in any case, you suffer from unimaginitive management. Your strongest ally might be in the engineering department. The terms "Chronic illegal video and chroma levels" and especially "FCC Fines" tend to get management's attention. There may be a solution, too.
The next time the sales department adjusts rates, just have 'em build in a little "fudge factor" to cover a reasonable piece of production, and offer "free" production to the clients. Our station did that about ten years ago, and we've never looked back. The client gets x number of hours of shooting, x amount of time in editing, etc. Anything beyond that, and they pay an additional hourly rate.
Hey, it doesn't exactly encourage ground-breaking production, but at least you know the supers won't make the audio buzz.