News HD B-roll Package Question
I'm filming a b-roll package for a client with a Varicam. I'm going to downconvert and submit the final on BetaSP.
My question is 16:9 or 4:3?
- I know our local stations broadcast in 'fake-d' (upconverted SD tp fit HD televisions) but I'm not sure if they're interested in 16:9 footage for that purpose.
Also, will they be less likely to use our footage if it has a film-look (originated in 24p)?
I'm afraid that sending them 16:9 24p footage is going to make them afraid to use it.
To clarify, when I say 16:9 I mean letterboxed.
The safest bet would be 4:3, no 24p. They usually don't want it to look like handout video.
Another option is to give them both, one right after another with a slate at the head telling them that both are on the tape.
Yep that's good advice, 4:3, 60i.
You specifically said NEWS B-roll... I can't imagine any news outfit going for 24p footage just for plain-ol B-roll that they need to be able to intercut with other footage, it just doesn't look like their other stuff.
Now if you have exclusive footage of a one-time news event, then they would probably take whatever they can get.
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For the market you are in, just call the Engineering or news departments and ASK what they prefer: letterboxed 3:4, full-frame center-punched 3:4, anamorphic widescreen in a 3:4 that they'll re-stretch, etc. They'll often tell you, though maybe not right away. If you don't have the time for that, then in your package give them the best shots both ways, 3:4 and Letterbox or Anamorphic, and slate it that way. Leave a phone number slate at the beginning and end of the tape asking them to call you with their preferences for next time. This also lets you know they seriously considered running it.
As to shutter, I would stay away from 24P motion artifacts for any news footage. You have to realize your footage is likely going to go thru at least three dubbing/transfer generations or re-renders before it airs, and if you introduce motion artifacts at the front, it will only get worse over time, maybe so bad as to become unusable. Some stations do their HD by running all conventional SD sources thru a converter near the end of the signal chain. Others take their time and do a real HD job from initial aquisition thru to broadcast, but these tend to be the largest market stations with bigger budgets. A lot of shops remain mostly SD inside the plant except at some terminal stage where things get "blended" and conformed. It's about money.
Granted, if it really IS newsworthy, like an assasination or airline crash or something of that nature, they won't care if it came in on a fischer price pixelvision or your kid's 350-pixel cameraphone, they'll run it. But for things like video news releases, where the material is not that urgent, don't create a tech barrier to the use of the footage by introducing temporal artifacts. And of course never put CG's on the footage itself, but you knew that already.
I have a SD question on this topic - I'll post here and if I should do a new topic please tell me.
I am shooting B-Roll for a guy who is hoping for appearances on interview shows on various stations to demo his product. He just wants 20 seconds of the product. I am shooting SD on DVC tape - not Sony DVC but just mini-casette DVC tape.
In talking to stations, I seem to get conflicting info (even from same station) as to format for client to take to station. Sony tape guy says give it to them on DVC tape- that their systems can ingest any DVC tape. Of course he recommends Sony DVC - but he admits that if you have good quality footage and no drop outs - what you give it to them on is not that big of a deal. Station engineers are saying they want either DVC-Pro or DVCAM tapes - even if SD footage.
My limited understanding is DVCAM and DVC tapes are basically compatible in tape drives for ingesting, but that DVPro are not - takes a different machine.
And I am not sure where BetaSP fits in any more - is that now an outdated format for presenting to stations ?
So my question is - is this just a station to station thing, and should I be concerned if my client takes a DVC tape with SD footage to a station for an interview that they will not be able to use it ?
And one more thing - if I put the video up as 720x480 SD AVI footage for the station to download from a web site - am I out of line recommending that to the station ?
As you might tell, I am new at this and trying to understand the right questions to ask.
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Generally, I have found Panasonic DVC pro25 machines and Sony DVCam machines can play back DVCPRo25, DVCAM, and consumer mini-DV tapes (assuming they are not in LP recording mode).
You are right in that these are all flavors of the same DV 25 format. Typically, all the station would need to play that mini tape is the special cassette adapter that lets it fit their deck. These adapters are not ubiquitous, some stations may run on such a tight shoestring as to not have one handy. Perhaps you should own one just in case of that.
The newer Panasonic DVC pro decks that handle DV50 are backwards-compatible to play your DV25 flavored DVCAM and DVCPro25, but may not be able to play it off a consumer DV tape any more, even though that too is DV25. It seems that when every new generation of deck that comes out, as they add a new format compatibility on the front, they drop one step of backwards compatibility on the back end. So keeping some older DVCPro decks around could be a smart move, if you are in the position to be getting assets on consumer mini Dv sometimes (like newstip footage at a tv news station coming in off civilian home movie cameras).
BetaSP is an obsolete format, but remains a staple especially at news stations until the cost of the tape stock and repair parts (decks are no longer being made AFAIK) becomes prohibitive. There was just such total market penetration of the format for so long, it will be years before it is weeded out of all stations and even then will live on in archives.
I think if you want your guy to have the best shot at getting on air, you want to go to some dub house or rental shop and make copies onto "real" DVCPro25 or DVCAM as well as BetaSP. Give the stations what they want. You can buy used but clean beta tape from places like Carpel.
You might also consider saving the footage off to DVD as MPEG-2 and as pure data on a data DVD, for shops that have better computer editing systems and infrastructure. You want to be able to leave-behind whatever you bring, so make more copies than you expect to need.
I would not ask them to download it from somewhere. Number one; it's extra work and extra time and that makes it likely your guy will be eliminated as too much hassle. You HAVE to make it EASY for stations to take your material, do as much of the work for them in advance as you can. Number two, they may not have sufficient data infrastructure to pull things off the net and get them into a production flow easily. Again, hassle factor.
One other way to get footage to stations nationwide or statewide is to book a 15-minute satellite window thru a vendor, and uplink your footage. This can cost just a few hundred dollars for a simple squirt of SD analog on the Ku band with perhaps a "turn-around" on C-band to maximize possible reception.
Before the day of the uplink, you send faxes and emails and snailmails to the assignment editors or news managers telling them at what time and on what bird and what transponder they can pull down this footage. (pick a time slot that's not during their actual newscast, or they will be too tied-up to take the feed much less use it, 9AM-11, 1:15-4PM, or 7-9PM can work, though the earlier in the day the better)
You send a press release with coordinates and details along at the same time as the notice. If they decide your stuff might be useful, they'll downlink a copy of it and use the footage in a story they create. You don't know who uses it until you see it used.
A variation of this technique is called an SMT, Satellite Media Tour. Your guy sits in a studio for a live shot in one town, connected to the uplink dish, and each station that wants to interview him takes turns in 10 or 15-minute "windows". He wears an earpiece that connects him by phone to each station that calls the special IFB number. Doing one of these takes some organization and advance planning, but is very cost-effective spread over multiple market hits when it's a hot topic and everybody wants a piece of your guy.
No matter what people say SP is still out there.
Even though I own a Varicam, DVX-100A, SONY HVR and lease an HVX-900 I still shoot with my HL-V59 almost daily.
On almost all b-rolls we do, myself and clients included, we still deliver on SP. It is still a viable format. Albeit, a dying one. I have been hearing Beta will be gone in 3 years for the last 10. LOL
And yes to your concern over posting footage. The best way is to put it (the dub) in their hands.
If your concerned about BetaSP, DVCam is your next best choice. I am a network shooter and use affiliates across the county for feeds, so I am in their control rooms allot, and I would say about 90 percent still have BetaSP. And almost all have multi-format DV decks.
Hope that helps.
I think the first question would be why to source on HD/Varicam? If the goal is to provide this to the stations, chances are they shoot some flavor of DV. Just go with a high quality SD 4:3 60i workflow and issue solved.
I would assume you are acquiring in Varicam for later use for client? If your shooting Varicam just to shoot Varicam for a news b-roll, I wouldn't.
I would capture in 30fps as stated above as 24 would not be acceptable for news rooms because of reasons stated above.
I would down convert and give them both 16x9 and 4x3. And as stated above, just slate each. Lots of newsrooms are in 16x9 but not HD, yet! So having b-roll come in in 16x9 SD might be an added advantage for your client to get their piece aired.
Evolution: the goal is to provide this to the stations, chances are they shoot some flavor of DV. Just go with a high quality SD 4:3 60i workflow and issue solved.
abd MarK: I think if you want your guy to have the best shot at getting on air, you want to go to some dub house or rental shop and make copies onto "real" DVCPro25 or DVCAM as well as BetaSP.
Thanks for replies, I could just write out my SD DV footage to a Sony DVC tape and essentially do what Evolution suggests. Or I could write it out to a TDK tape (the tape I always use in my camera - maybe that needs to change in the future). I was also under the impression from talking to the Sony Tape rep that I couold also pop a DVCam tape in my DV camera (Pana DVC80 or 30) and write SD to the DVCAM tape. Would there be an advantage to going with one format over the other ? It just doesn't seem to me there is any reason to go DVCAM tape (unless that is all the station will take - and I don't think that is the case - just not clear on that issue yet.)
And my client just needs to take footage in an acceptable format - his interview acceptance is not tied to the footage he brings - but I want him to be able to hand the footage to them and for them to be able to use it - and not tell him - gee, your guy is a dumb nut and should have known better not to give you footage in this format.
I guess that is why I like Evolutions suggestion - but I think Mark makes some good points also.
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