I've recently produced a short commercial for a client. There's an actor speaking on the screen, no fancy stuff. Also I might add that the video has mostly yellow tones.
We have seen no problems in our referance monitor nor on the screen tests where the video is transferred to betacams. However, when it is broadcasted, there's a drastic change in the quality. Actor's face and skin tones are crushed with white, there seems to be too much contrast, and the overall quality of the picture is seriously deteriorated.
I really have no idea what the problem could be, the ad is broadcasted on the national television, which is needlessly to say that ours is not the sole commercial they work on, so I don't expect a major error on their side.
What could the problem be? I am really out of ideas..
I have no idea of exactly who is broadcasting your spot. Many cable providers have TERRIBLE equipment, and when you hand off your wonderful hi quality tape, they may be taking the composite video feed, processing it thru an old TBC to adjust luminance levels, and then MPEG encoding it (introducing all kinds of errors) to get it onto their server. The process I am describing to you is exactly what happens here, at some providers in Florida. What can you do about this - NOTHING.
As for your own equipment, you can't say "we see no problems in our reference monitor". You either have scopes, or you don't. You calibrate your signal to a waveform monitor (and today, with cheap products like the Blackmagic Ultrascope for $660, there is no excuse not to have one) - and you know that you have an accurate signal that you are sending out. Belive me, you can scream all you want to the cable provider - they don't care. Just make sure that your stuff goes out correctly.