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Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?

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Ralph Watson
Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 1:07:54 pm

Hi there,

We have a music video finished and ready to be sent out to channels - I'm new to video for braodcast and I'm coming up against a few points I find consfusing.

The video is HD - and one channel accpets submissions on MiniDV as long as it's Song or Panasonic stock: fine, we've done this - but they have now responded and stated that the audio level is 'too hot' - well, it's not going over 0db, which in any other situation, is fine. They said it should not peak at more than -6db. Upon researching this and phoning two studios here in London; they both stated that -6db is wrong and actually the audio should be at -10db! It'd easy to do either but I want to get it right. Could someone clarify the audio level it should be set at before I go ahead and send off any more tapes. Any help appreciated.

Secondly, I have phoned two format conversion studios and they are quoting vastly different prices to get our video onto digibeta; so much so, that I am sure they are quoting on different things. We merely need to give them the best quality possible via an uncompressed QT or AVI (I assume?) for them to then put that onto digibeta. Am I right to assume, we should NOT be giving them the full HD res file - but we should have already downed it to SD before the handover - and again, what should the audio levels be set at??

Thank you very much for any help..


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Rebecca Gillaspie
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 9:24:11 pm

You have to read the spec sheet. Each network can have different guidelines. Where I was at last time they wanted everything peaking at -6DB.

Ralph where are you at? Places like Alpha Dogs offer digital workstations that you can output at for affordable rates and they'll answer your questions as well.

For the down conversion output, there are several ways to do it, depending on how you're outputting and the system you're working on.

http://www.digitalservicestation.com/rates_services.html

Of course if you're in London, I'm out of ideas of where to take things.


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Ralph Watson
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 11:54:36 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks so much for the response. Yes, it seems I need to check individual stations - what a saga! I was told that -6db peak might also be -10db RMS so in actuality, they could all be meaning the same thing... HMM, confusing - it seems strange that there's no standard - and no real documentation online.

Yes, in London so will look to find simiar places - there'll be a million of them, I'm sure!

Thanks again for help and if anyone else can shed light then much appreciated.


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Shane Ross
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:05:46 pm

This is why not just anyone with a computer and an ability to edit can produce programs for broadcast TV. Not without a little help.

I'm not knocking your editing ability, you obviously have skill, as you edited something that people like and want to air. But the TECHNICAL side of broadcast...that takes a bit of time and skill to master. I know many MANY editors who are great storytellers, but couldn't output a tape for broadcast to save their life. And they might have been editing for over 20 years! Different skillset, different mindset. That is why people call themselves OFFLINE editors and the finishing guys ONLINE or FINISHING editors.

So, you either need to be taught how to do a broadcast delivery, or hire someone to do it.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Ralph Watson
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:14:59 pm

Thanks Shane,

I know that I don't know the answer - hence finding out as much as I can before proceeding - I'm simply trying to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible in this field; it'll stand me in good stead in future also.

I am going to get a pro studio to transfer to Digibeta in any case; I simply wanted to know about the standards of audio levels for broadcast. Yes, what we have is definetly getting broadcast and I hope more of the same will also make it to TV - I suppose that I'd like to know as much as possible; even if I'm simply handing it over to someone else for completion.

Thanks


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Shane Ross
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:18:31 pm

Part of this technical skill is reading the network technical specifications. So you might have caught the db issue beforehand. But I also don't mix my own stuff, I send the audio to a pro audio house and arm them with the tech specs, because there is stuff in there that I have NO CLUE about. Then they return separate AIFF files for each track...all within spec.

You'll get there...just take time and effort. I started out as a technical guy, and then went creative. Still not as good as the fully creative guys, but whatchagonnado? Jack of all trades, master of none.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Ralph Watson
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:25:35 pm

"Jack of all trades, master of none."

I know that feeling all too well! :(


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Gil Litver
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 23, 2009 at 1:14:05 am

Generally, we receive a HD QT file off a drive and put it into Final Cut Pro. We don't necessarily need a down converted QT file. We then create a sequence and change the output on the final cut pro to Blackmagic NTSC 29.97. The file then of course needs to be rendered. For broadcast standards: -20db on bars and tones, -10db on program. Different networks have different standards but to play it safe -10db is usually the case.


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Oliver Maingay
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 10:05:22 pm

Hi Ralph,

Set the audio to peak at -10. We layback to tape on a daily basis for many of the major labels to all formats, most commonly DigiBeta. If you need it done or any other advice please feel free to contact me.

Also most broadcasters now require that the material undergoes a 'Harding Test' for photosensitive epilepsy. If you Google it you should find more information or I can answer any questions you may have.

Good luck,

Oliver Maingay
Vanderquest Limited
http://www.vanderquest.co.uk


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Ralph Watson
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 29, 2009 at 9:03:52 pm

Thank you all for your help, sincerely. It's been a great help and put my to rest.. will check out all the links and sites also.


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Darren Edwards
Re: Music Video - submission to TV - audio levels and digibeta?
on Sep 30, 2009 at 10:11:25 am

I've onlined and submitted a few videos to MTV UK.
I've always mastered TV audio to the traditional
-1.5db (and film at -6) and they've never complained,
although Sky usually dislike audio too loud.

HD to digibeta is as mentioned before -- sending a HD
digital file (or tape) to an NLE and downconverting/
burning to digibeta in one go.

For a music promo I've never paid more than £50 for
the [insert format here] to digibeta process, the
time, plus the cost of the 5' digibeta tape itself.
Then again, I'm based in the north of England and
not London.

D.

youtube.com/darrenpce


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