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Quality Control

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rocco
Quality Control
on Oct 17, 2006 at 12:39:18 am

We have a D5 master that keeps failing QC. There are about 60+ issues with the tape. I will list a few:

Vertical Blanking out of spec at 23/558 (should be 21/560)
Program does not start at top of hour
Video Aliasing effect / line bounce throughout program
Scattered dirt
Electronic blacks
Solarized whites
Awkward audio edit

etc.

We have sent this tape in to "get fixed" but it keeps failing. Am I to assume that the problems listed are unfixable at the master tape level, without going back into the avid online and remastering?

Or can they be fixed by creating a new master tape and making linear edits - fixing as you go along.

Thanks for *any* input (we need it!)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Quality Control
on Oct 17, 2006 at 7:01:19 pm

I HATE trying to make dubs or masters for PBS stations. They have a reputation for finniky standards that makes Tony Shaloub look like a slob:-)

To your issue:

Vertical blanking can be "fixed" on the fly by running the master thru a DVE and cropping/re-sizing.

I personally don't make a big deal out of making master reels start on the top of the hour, or 2 minutes prior (to make room for tone/bars/ slate, etc.) so actual program starts at 00:00:00, because we use no automation in our plant that would care about that, tapes are manually cued to a 2-pop for manual playback and the counter zeroed accordingly, or they are edited using a linear controller that does not enjoy pre-rolling and back-timing over a :59/:00 time break... but...

If I had to prepare a tape that went outside and they required the time code set up that way, I'd oblige, of course. But these days, tapes are all digitized into a server anyway, at which point their time codes pretty much become moot to my way of thinking. I mean, you can preserve the codes in case you want to re-lay shots into the master from the NLE timeline, but in the ten-plus years I've been editing daily on NLE systems I have needed to do that exactly... um... never. You could "fix" the time code issue by making a digital clone of the tape and jamming new code, or using a spare audio track to lay linear time code on and guiding on that. I can see where it is unpopular to have a bunch of tapes in the shop that each need a different setup for time code to play... can lead to mistakes on-air. Particularly drop and non-drop time code conflicts. We started editing in the 80's using only non-drop, but eventually switched to be more compatible with our broadcast users.

But then again, my work is not as "high-end" as others here. I can imagine sceanarios where that "zero-time on first frame" time code setup would be necessary. I just don't believe that's universally "required" anymore. However, if the client sets a standard, you are honor-bound to comply with it, regardless of your SOP.

I got in quite a wrangle with a guy one time because our shop is still mono audio,(what can I say?) and the masters we send out are labeled as such, and 2-track identical mono (the phase was right) was just unacceptable to "mister surround sound" engineer at the other end. Give me a break, it's a guy at a desk reading a prompter, do I really need to enable the subwoofer channel? :-) Another time, a guy took my ear off over the phone because out of a dub run of 200-plus, his one station required a certain track of the umatic dubs to be blank, so he could insert audio pulses into it for his automation playback system. As we talked back and forth, it became clear all he needed to do to make his dub work was flip his audio monitor switch on the feeder deck from channel 1 to channel 2, or move one measly audio patch cord over one space, or do an audio insert over the one unwanted channel, which he needed to do anyway to lay down his pilot tones, but *I* was screwing up his "system" with my "out of spec" dub. We tried hard to make him his "special" dubs from there on out, but the guy on duty for the run didn't always remember to mute one chanel on one of a dozen decks during a pass, and mark the one unique dub for the one client. So we'd get the screaming thing on the phone about once every six months, till his automation system died and was replaced, and we went to betaSP dubs anyway.

I don't know what "electronic black" in your reference means except that it is maybe referring to Japanese standard superblack at zero IRE units. If you bump that up to 7.5 for max black, your peaks are going to go over 100, and bringing those down, you lose dynamic range in the image though it's now "legal". Doesn't look good, I'll admit. The solarized or hot whites (lost detail in digital that goes over limit)can't be recovered. This tape sounds like the entire edit was badly done or done without setting initial references, then "corrected" by running multiple passes thru proc-amps or whatnot. I will admit to making some of these mistakes myself as a beginner, long ago, though not all of them in any one tape:-)

If the original elements are available, I'd require a remastering. If this is legacy tape that can't be re-done, best to put it in the Avid and clean up what you can, and bill for it. Sending it back to the guy who messed it up in the first place will just get you the same results over and over.

For FCP, there are some cheap but effective tool plug-ins from Digital Heaven that can repair or heal missing pixels and dropouts on the fly, look them up.

Best of luck with this thing. Let us know how it all ends up.





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