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Nicholas Edmonds
First time to broadcast
on Jan 6, 2009 at 7:28:16 pm


Hi guys, thanks in advance for any answers and suggestions you can give me. I have just been asked to be the editor for a new project. Up until now i have mostly worked on Corporate, Music and web video, But for this project i will be needed to make one copy for the web and one for broadcast at a local station. I have never edited for broadcast before so im wondering how i should go about presenting it and what i need to take into mind when doing so. The kind of things i would like to no is;

Audio levels - what levels do you guys use mostly (drama) for music, ambience, speech, etc

What do I need to do at the beginning of the tape / sequence -

As in bars, tone, countdown and timecode etc, Where do i get a countdown from?

Thanks for putting up with my newb question.


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Mark Suszko
Re: First time to broadcast
on Jan 6, 2009 at 8:00:01 pm

Simply call the station/ broadcaster's engineering department or traffic department, tell them what you're doing and ask what their standards are. They may even post them on their web site.

At very least you are going to have to put up proper color bars and tone, a slate with program info on it, and a countdown. If you have final cut, it can automatically generate the bars, tone, slate and countdown for you when you tell it to lay the program to tape.

Permiere does this too.

Or you can build a countdown, its just a string of one-second clips of numbers counting down to the "2-pop", then Black. The 2-pop means, your count goes like this, 10,09,08,07,06,05,04,03...each of those lasting exactly one second. For number 02, you only make that last 15 frames, a half of a second. It has audio tone for those 15 frames. There IS no 1 or zero.

After that half-second of the "02", you add in black with silence for one and one half seconds, then the first frame of your video. Technicians use that spot where the "02" disappears with the "bloop" of tone to cue your tapes up with, so than when they press "play", the switching gear makes a seamless-looking transition to your program from whatever came on ahead of it. Sloppy cuing or inaccurate countdowns often explain why you sometimes see spots "upcut", or airing missing a second or two of their beginnings, and thus ending a second or so early as well.

A couple things to be careful about: bars on the front of a program countdown are worse than meaningless unless everything in the program and your edit system and recorders is referenced to them at the same levels.

Beginners doing broadcast material for the first time may just drop in a random jpeg of bars in the front of a program while the program itself was shot and set up according to some different-level bars, or none at all.

This is worse than useless to the technicians setting up the program for broadcast, because they calibrate levels and color phase to the first bars and assume they mean something. Same for audio tone. An engineer would rather have to shuttle thru the program and set levels by eye to actual program brights and darks than calibrate to bars that are not in relation to that program. Things like this get your program rejected and sent back for a re-do, which is very bad for you.


Depending on the station and use, they have precise rules for what the time code should read at every point in a show, especially the beginning. Be sure to find out from the station what their particular rules are. They also will almost assuredly require drop-frame time code on the master. They might require closed captioning as well. Ask how they want the audio in terms of channels, mono or stereo or 5.1 surround or SAP for a foreign language track.

If you think this is harsh or complicated now, don't even try to submit a tape to PBS Boston:-)

Ask, Ask, Ask. There is no shame in not knowing, only in not learning.


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Nicholas Edmonds
Re: First time to broadcast
on Jan 7, 2009 at 11:27:19 am

Hi Mark

Thank you so much for your response. I have so much to learn. Thankyou for the explanation I will use that as I guide for sure.

'Beginners doing broadcast material for the first time may just drop in a random jpeg of bars in the front of a program while the program itself was shot and set up according to some different-level bars, or none at all'

finally I am getting to the bottom of "bars & tone" Could you possibly explain to me how you "set up" your project to a particular bars and tone? and what you need to conform to throughout your project when using said bars & tone.

Thank you again.

Nick



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Nicholas Edmonds
Re: First time to broadcast
on Jan 7, 2009 at 2:53:17 pm

I have been reading forums and threads all day, and its cleared up somethings and confused me a whole heck more on others. Allot of people out there have said that they use -12db tone and set that so -12db is the average audio level of their sequence. This made sense to me but then the same guy asking the question on that thread actually spoke to the film festival he was submitting his film to and they said they wanted a -12db tone to be set to the loudest sound in the sequence so now im confused, I could get the average reference thing as you would have the loudest sound as say -6db your speech and average audio around -12db in sync with the reference tone. But if -12db is the loudest what should the average level etc etc be for the sequence. Im sure its simple but hey ho.


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Mark Suszko
Re: First time to broadcast
on Jan 7, 2009 at 5:51:39 pm

Do you have real scopes? Waveform monitor and vectorscopes, I mean? What is your experience in using them? If none, google up some how-to's as a start, it is a dense topic and one already well-covered.


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Nicholas Edmonds
Re: First time to broadcast
on Jan 7, 2009 at 6:27:00 pm

I have used scopes within my NLE. Is that what you are referring to?



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