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JamieWorsfold
commercials specifications
on Sep 5, 2006 at 9:33:57 pm

I've got a freelance job coming up which may (or may not) need me to work on a commercial or two. Now, I've been working as an editor for a few years doing broadcast work, but up until now I've not been called on to do a commercial.

Are there any pitfalls I need to watch out for in regards to specifications etc? Obviously there's the normal title/action safe issues, 10 sec still at the end etc. But any other little oddities I should know about?

By the way, I'm in the UK. :)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 5, 2006 at 9:58:17 pm

By all means, talk to the broadcaster about its specifications for commercials. If you're working with an advertising agency, they should be able to give you a contact. Depending on the size of the agency and the size of the commercial buy, the agency may be able to give you all the information you need.

Don't be afraid to ask. Everyone needs to know something every so often, and you can always tell the client that you want to do the best possible job... and that's why you're asking.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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JamieWorsfold
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 5, 2006 at 10:24:16 pm

Thanks Dave

I thought it'd be more along the lines of each broadcaster having a slightly different spec. The guys at the ad agency where the job is seem a decent bunch and said to me "Just ask", but you know how it is - you like to go in prepared as much as possible :)

Most stuff is gonna be pretty much set up already as I'm filling in someone's shoes while they're away for a couple of weeks, so a lot of things are templates already made up in AE that just need compositing and outputting from FCP, so all should be good.

Thanks!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 5, 2006 at 10:53:03 pm

[JamieWorsfold] "I thought it'd be more along the lines of each broadcaster having a slightly different spec. "

Well, that's the cause of your jitters, and well-justified; also the intent of my previous message. I simply have to learn how to write. Since the agency has done this more than one time, I bet they know how... so just ask them.

You were hired for the job you can do, not for your encyclopedic knowledge of broadcaster's specifications for slate or bars & tone.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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Matte
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 5, 2006 at 10:04:01 pm

[JamieWorsfold] "10 sec still at the end etc."



Nothing like this in the USA.

Do you mean a 10 sec. FREEZE-FRAME of the last shot, or 10 sec. of BLACK following the spot? (The latter might be useful, the former, not so much.

I also understand that there's a tradition of a 30-second COUNTDOWN before the spot.

I can't understand why a COMMERCIAL would need a 30 SECOND PRE-ROLL... EVER!

A program that was rolling down a network feed might use a long countdown, but WHO would CUE at TV spot 30 seconds before the first audio/video?

OK,I'm done. ;-)
As Dave said, just ask someone where the spot will be played, as our opinions don't count.


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Chuck Reti
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 6, 2006 at 4:29:55 am

[Matte] "I can't understand why a COMMERCIAL would need a 30 SECOND PRE-ROLL... EVER!"

Whoa. Chill!

"Back in the day..." a 5 or even 10 sec preroll was not uncommon, what with those coal-fired machines needing some lockup time. Not a problem now, of course. A reason for a 15 or 30 sec long slate, usually a fullscreen billboard with the actual countdown from 10, was to assist the operators who had to cue up spots on tape. The longer slate was helpful when fast forwarding and rewinding as it provided a short few seconds of readable information as it zipped by.


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Matte
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 6, 2006 at 11:58:50 am

[Chuck Reti] ""Back in the day..." a 5 or even 10 sec preroll was not uncommon, what with those coal-fired machines needing some lockup time. Not a problem now, of course. A reason for a 15 or 30 sec long slate, usually a fullscreen billboard with the actual countdown from 10, was to assist the operators who had to cue up spots on tape. The longer slate was helpful when fast forwarding and rewinding as it provided a short few seconds of readable information as it zipped by."

Not quite.

I was an editor of 2" Quad videotape even before the days of Ampex "Editec".

A) I didn't say there was no need for a 10-sec pre-roll countdown/slate (we used 7-sec lock-up pre-roll). I said there was no need for a 30-second pre-roll slate.

B) In the days before 1" and 3/4" tape, there was no way to SEE ANYTHING as it "zipped by".
The only clue you had was listening to the audio during FF and RW.

THIS is why I can't see why anyone EVER needed a 30-secound COUNTDOWN on a COMMERCIAL, even back in the day on "ancient" commercials.


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Chuck Reti
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 6, 2006 at 3:30:58 pm

[Matte] "I was an editor of 2" Quad videotape even before the days of Ampex "Editec"."

Me too, though didn't use the Smith block but once or twice. I do have a screwtop can with dried up Edivue in it.

[Matte] "I said there was no need for a 30-second pre-roll slate."

Yes, You are Correct, sir. I failed to pick up on the distinction.

[Matte] "In the days before 1" and 3/4" tape, there was no way to SEE ANYTHING as it "zipped by".
The only clue you had was listening to the audio during FF and RW."


I was trying to forget about Quad spot reels :-)
That's why we used to put a LF, 50cycle (Hz, for the kids) or so tone under the slate. To HEAR it as it zipped by.

[Matte] "30-secound COUNTDOWN on a COMMERCIAL, even back in the day on "ancient" commercials."

The on-air directors drank more back then?

C,



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Matte
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 6, 2006 at 10:49:33 pm

[Chuck Reti] "The on-air directors drank more back then?"


I've seen some guys in "Master", even today, who could make short work of a bottle.

;-)


War stories of the good-old, bad-old days!

Why, some day we could talk about needing to THREAD a 16mm FILM CHAIN for playing the "Million Dollar Movie", or the "Creature Feature" or...
Oh heck, now its time for my NAP!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 6, 2006 at 11:33:09 pm

Speaking of film chains....

When the time to a newscast was getting tight -- and when wasn't it? -- edited stories weren't always SPLICED into sequence on the A and B-rolls for the show. Sometimes only masking tape held stories together.

I was in the production department. But when a projector hit a piece of masking tape, I learned many new words from the engineers, due to the great volume at which the were spoken. Or yelled.

And now, when my computer hangs up or the hard drive crashes, I find these words to be good stress relievers.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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Matte
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 7, 2006 at 12:29:22 pm

Ask any editor under the age of 45 what an "A-B Roll" was used for.


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David Cohen
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 11, 2006 at 2:58:24 am

Actually, I am 30 and at one point I edited on 3/4" with an Amiga CG. Gues I am an old guy now.

Cheers
-D-

Dave Cohen

Motion Graphics * Digital Design

http://www.daveswaves.net


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Matte
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 11, 2006 at 2:01:30 pm

[David Cohen] "Actually, I am 30 and at one point I edited on 3/4" with an Amiga CG. Gues I am an old guy now."


No, but you sure had old GEAR!



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Victor Angry
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 14, 2006 at 8:19:24 pm

Got that beat. I'm 26 and edited on 1", switched on an Ampex 4100, and aired spots off of Quad. Before you say that's impossible...I started early and I'm in a tiny market. Now someone else can come along and talk about film chains :)


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rafalaos
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 17, 2006 at 9:08:49 am

Today I'm 49. happy-birthday to meeeeee..

The only format (of the olds) I've never touched is the 2" ( Once I sow one in london).
My first job in TV was packing adds to be broadcasted. Just sticking them toguether in a 90 minutes Betacam tape, with 1 sec black in-between.
The matter of the preroll was not important (5 secs pre-roll can be a waist of time when your edditing news.Betacam works fine with 3s). The commercials used to arrive with Bars, tone (1000Hz, 0 VU) and a black just before the first image frame. Also the first frame image in the 00.00.00 TC. They used to be some specs, quite but flexible. One minute bars and 20 or 30 s black, but In the end nobody cares too much. In Christmas that you've got hours of commercials to be broadcasted the day after, who can stop to set properly the levels of a commercial?
Only when the advertiser calls you by phone screaming: What happens with my add that seems that the screen is burning?. Or what about the audio?. No body can hear the jingles. Then we used the bars and tone, and we corrected the levels.
Bars and tone, seems not much funny, but is the only way to make sure that your film will be properly broadcasted. Even if somebody make a bad copy (anagogic) of your film, if you adjust the system with the bars, your film get the proper levels. Is the only way for you to show that when looks or sound bad when broadcasted, IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
sorry for the nostalgia (Betacam I love you)
Salud,
rafel


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Bob Woodhead
Re: commercials specifications
on Sep 18, 2006 at 11:31:32 am

I was working during a football (not soccer) live feed through an un-named network's Master Control... the TD (not at the stadium, we're at NOC) had been "perking" up his coffee with a splash o' Jack... we go to break, everyone leans back for a moment. Remember this is a NOC, with lots of other feeds accessible, and the TD happens to be a fan of another team that playing on another major network. So we come back from break, take the live feed... recue stuff from the break... lean back again... and the Exec. Producer (who just happened to be in the NOC that day) starts shouting "THAT'S NOT OUR GAME!! @*^&%$#".... You can imagine the rest. Oh yeah, to keep this on topic, this was during the era of inserting spots into the program 1" reels. Grin... another time I'll tell the story of what happens when the take-up capstan motors fails on a one-hour show reel that's on-air....

Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
Quantel-Avid-FCP-3D-Crayola
G5/DP, 10.4.7, 3.5GB RAM, FCP 5.1.something, Aja IO, Huge 320R/raid3


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