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What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?

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Travis Miller
What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 9:24:50 pm

Hello all,

Next week we're doing a large digital delivery to a few hundred cable stations around the country. Some of them take DG Fast Channel or Hotspot etc., so I just upload one file to them and it gets distributed quickly.. my problem is all the other stations that take different formats.

Some of them require 30 seconds of bars and tone, some 60.. same with the slate and the blacks in-between. My question is: Is there a program in existence that will take my 30 second FINAL and attach a specified length of bars, black and slate from a preset? I have 12 spots to deliver and if I have to make a different version of each for every cable station.. I end up having to make like 2400 videos.

I already have presets for many of the stations in compressor, so that isn't much of an issue, but if there is software that will format my 30 second spot with the correct pre-program content, THEN encode it too.. my life would improve dramatically.

How do most houses deal with this problem? Do they just make one basic format and encode it for all the stations, hoping they don't kick it back for having too much or too little pre-program?

TIA,
Travis


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Mark Suszko
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 9:58:23 pm

I have never heard of a station rejecting a master because the bars were too LONG. Too SHORT, maybe... but is this even a factor these days, in digital terms, the bars are not treated the same way as beack then. Back in the tape days, though, they might object if the time code wasn't incremented the way they liked.

Have you looked at creating something in Apple Automator to do this work for you? I don't know much about Automator.

Look on the bright side: it is simple work and they pay you by the hour:-)


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Travis Miller
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 10:11:17 pm

Earlier this week I got a rejection notice from a cable station in LA because a spot HAD bars and tone and a slate. I was reading the wrong set of specs when I formatted it for them and they ONLY wanted the 30 second spot in the file. When I spoke with the Master Controller to ask why it was rejected he said they "tried" cutting it down to 30 seconds, but were unable to.

I'd LOVE to just make a 30 second version for the stations that only want the content and a version with enough pre-program for everyone else - then just let the cable stations deal with it.. but I also don't want to walk in on 200-some-odd rejection emails Thursday morning.


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Bob Zelin
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Jul 31, 2009 at 2:28:36 am

I have been doing this since 1978, and I never heard of a spot getting rejected for having bars and tone.

In LA ?

bob zelin




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Mark Suszko
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Jul 31, 2009 at 2:33:07 pm

Well, it makes a kind of sense, I guess, Bob.

Since they are digital, playing files off of drives, there is no need to cue up a tape to the "2-pop" any more. And in these, the final days before the rapture, color bars generated in the camera... don't actually seem to relate to the captured images anymore.

While I'm not advocating we skip bars altogether, more and more, for me, personally, a bars chart shot under the actual light of the shot, thru the lens, means more in terms of color-correcting the pictures following that shot, than internally-generated camera bars. There are guys here on the COW that have posted they only use bars as something to cover the first few seconds of leader with, and to separate multiple takes for fast visual cueing, nothing more.

Even back in the 70's and 80's, I saw folks stick some bars onto a tape that had nothing to do with the setup of the actual footage, and I'm like: "friend, you are unclear on the concept of calibration standards". If you set up to the "faked" bars, chances were the program levels would be seriously out of whack, so if you had any suspictions about the quality of the master, you double-checked actual program levels on the scope and WFM, not just the bars. I saw a guy take a tape that had been edited with the chroma phase wrong, and he later wed that to a shot of bars similarly, purposely tweaked "wrong" in phase to match, his theory being that all would be well again when the tape was TBC'd thru the frame synch and corrected to make the bars look right. Well, it seemed to work at the time, but certainly not a good practice. The next tape to play out of that machine, done right, would have been seriously out of whack too.

Nowadays, the bars generator in a camera just plays back a stored jpeg, doesn't it? What relation to the actual footage does that really have anymore? So I can understand if a tech at the station ignores the bars and sets up his alignment based on actual program material. If the standard becomes "operationally irrelevant", it tends to get dropped.



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Chuck Pullen
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Aug 1, 2009 at 3:14:57 am

I really don't think many stations are holding people to ANY sort of standards anymore. Here in Chicago I frequently receive PSA's on DVD with no bars, no tone, no slate...I frequently have to add the proper disclaimers to paid programs, edit out pieces of black, and I almost never use bars and tone for any sort of reference, because really most people just look at them as that annoying noise and pretty picture at the beginning of the tape.

I have seen it all; my new favorite is a Bow flex paid program that played for months before I noticed ten seconds of the AVID "Clip missing" slate half-way through. These programs use so many silly effects, everyone assumed it was supposed to be there!

Take it from an old school Master Control operator, bars & tone, slate, then countdown, (In that order!) and most stations won't give you any problems.


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Bob Zelin
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Aug 1, 2009 at 2:18:49 pm

uuuum Chuck, Mr. Expert -
perhaps you should look at the post DIRECTLY BELOW THIS ONE from
Peter Wollsey, who is getting his HDCam master rejected for illegal levels.

Every one of you "experts" is living in your own little world. I deal with EVERYONE - one side says that a FW400 DV25 signal is "good enough (acutally you just said you got a DVD master), and the other side has to deliver HDCam SR with specific specs, audio levels matched with a Dolby LM100 meter, and IT STILL GETS REJECTED.

So who is right Chuck. Maybe we should have you call QC at Discovery Channel.

Bob Zelin




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Jay Whitley
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Aug 1, 2009 at 6:08:34 pm

Why are you going to make so many different versions? Do any of these stations have Pathfire or DGS or some other delivery system? If so, why not make a version those people will accept and distribute your content that way. The majority of material we air comes from those sources. For the cable sources, most cable systems are owned by large corporations, why not find out what the corporate standard is and work to that? ( They may hate it, but the locals will know how to handle it.)
As far as the quality acceptance issue "He who pays,plays". In other words, if its going to make us money we will try anything to get it to work. If we're buying it you will do it our way.


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Bill Davis
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Aug 5, 2009 at 9:00:47 pm


Or use the Sargent/BBC method for spot approval - send a new dub of the same spot with NOTHING changed to the folks who rejected it yesterday - and smile as it suddenly passes all their technical standards with flying colors.

((See Stef Sargent's story in the DV Pamphlet (can't really call it a "magazine" any more can we?) for Aug 2009.))



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Chuck Pullen
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Aug 6, 2009 at 2:55:55 am

Bob, if he's delivering to Discovery, they have very specific published standards. If he's delivering to "Joe's truck stop and trailer park cable system" serving 50 households in Des Moines it's a little different (He didn't really specify)

I've worked in the #3 DMA for many years, at several stations, and all I am saying is that the strict standards that broadcast television once held advertisers to many years ago, have slipped to the point of ridiculousness, mainly due to the fact that now any college kid with a palmcorder and laptop can shoot a PSA as a class project for some non-profit and distribute it on DVD to his local market stations. He of course probably doesn't know what bars/tone and a slate are, and unless anyone rejects it, he'll assume that he's dong everything correctly.

I can tell you from experience that some stations are so desperate for $$$ that they will let almost anything pass QC and even when they deal with someone who's submission is so bad that it can't air, they bend over backwards to help the advertiser get their spot to air. It's a common theme amongst people I talked to… in this market at least.

That's the way it is in my little #3 DMA world… I'm glad to hear that the networks in your world are still holding their advertisers to some QC standards…Just one question, are any of them hiring?


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maurice jansen
Re: What is the easiest way generate all the formats I need for a massive broadcast?
on Aug 9, 2009 at 11:00:46 am

well

i can only speak for the country i live in. for commercials they only want D10@30MBps
send by FTP
and they don't want bars and tone anymore. the slate is in the metadata send seperatly.

indeed bar's and tone are VERY often generated by a seperate device.(for instance internal signal of the deck) what use is a reference not generated by the used system i guess nothing.

greet
Maurice


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