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Legals on a Spot :: Standards?

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Christy Pessagno
Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 20, 2010 at 11:57:06 pm

I've foraged the internet resources for a legals standard on standard definition footage and high definition footage with no luck. I've been able to piece together a few things and I understand that different broadcasters have different requirements, but does anyone know of, or have, a set of guidelines they adhere by unless asked for something different?

Ideally:
SD
Scanline height minimum
Opacity
Contrast
Timing

HD
Scanline height minimum
Opacity
Contrast
Timing


It's interesting that this is not easily available even via the FCC.
Help? Suggestions?


Much thanks in advance!


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Bob Zelin
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:53:10 am

oh, it's available. It's available from EVERY TV STATION. You ask for any stations delivery requirements, and they will be more than happy to send this info to you. Do you have a TV station in your town ? I bet you do. And I bet if you contact 3 of them, they will ALL have different delivery requirements. And you know what you need - a WAVEFORM MONITOR and VECTORSCOPE so you can check your levels, and meet their delivery requirements.

Here is the process. "Hello WXYZ TV, may I have the sales department. Hello, we are going to put a 30 second spot on the air on your station, yes, it's a local car commercial - no no, we have our own production facilities. Anyway, we need your technical delivery requirements - you know, levels, blanking, close captioning, all that stuff. Can you send me that document. Thank you"

Comprende ?

Bob Zelin




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Christy Pessagno
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 22, 2010 at 6:13:45 am

Hi Bob,

I'm actually specifically talking about LEGALS. The fine print that lives on certain commercials that generally deal with banking and communication services.

There are no finite rules for the fine print, but the question I am asking the forum is does anyone have guidelines that they adhere to that they would like to share in regards to the scan line size of the font, the opacity, etc (all in my original post).

The FCC gives suggestions for not misleading consumers, but I would really appreciate any input for what other finishing houses are doing that are practiced, not just suggested.

As a side note, regardless of if my question seems idiotic to you or not, it's really no excuse to demean. I would rather you not waste your time if you think it's a "stupid" question or request.

Thanks.


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Gary Hazen
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:21:51 am

The only time I had to adhere to a specific scan line size was for political spots. The text had to be 20 scan lines in standard definition. This spec is set on a state by state basis. I think in other states it ranges from 18 - 22. There isn't a one size fits all answer. For clarification in your state contact your local broadcaster or perhaps the state film commission. HD? I don't know, I haven't done any HD political ads.

Regarding non-political spots I've never heard of specific rules for scan line height on disclaimers. I've never had a spot kicked back because the disclaimer was too small.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:39:30 pm

What Gary said. BTW, Digital-Heaven has a handy plug in for handling this stuff once you have decided on that standard.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:30:44 pm

Christy,
I am offended that you are offended. This subject (what do I have to do to make my spot legal) is a subject that is discussed weekly on Creative Cow. You did not bother to read any of the posts on this very forum. This is the exact answer that you want -

some stations have no standards. They are desperate for revenue, and will accept a DVD master, with levels all over the place, as long as you guarantee that you will PAY THEM for the ad time. They will fix whatever needs to be fixed, as long as they can make some money.

other stations with "some" requirements will have a tape delivery requirement (deliver on Beta, deliver on Panasonic DVCProHD, etc.) and will possibly wave all technical specs, because it won't kill them to adjust your audio and video levels with proc amps, and possibly even correct analog blanking levels that you may have (by sending it thru a frame sync time base corrector).

Other stations (like PBS and Discovery) will torture you. You can own the best gear in the world, have all the knowledge, and your tapes will STILL be rejected, because they are using error monitoring equipment from Tektronix, Leader, Harris, and others. They will find errors in things that EXPERTS dont' check for, or don't own the montoring equipment to look for. Are you checking for 608 and 708 close captioning errors? Are you checking for average audio dialog levels of -23dBfs ? Many stations would never even dream of asking for these requirements (they want the advertising revenue) - other stations like PBS and Discovery - you bet your ASS they are looking at this, and will reject your tape.
I had Bravo/NBC reject a tape for a ONE FRAME error channel condition on a Sony SRW-5800 delivery, in the middle of the show. To date, we have no idea of how this happened, but our tape got rejected for delivery by Bravo.

So did I give you a snot nose, disrespectful answer, or did I answer you accurately, and give you a reality check of what happens in real life. NO ONE on Creative Cow - not even me, can tell you what your station (or stations) will accept, or reject. It all starts with a phone call.

Bob Zelin




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Tom Matthies
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 24, 2010 at 2:17:50 am

Bob, I believe that the question is referring to "Legals" as graphics otherwise known as Disclaimers and their required heights, in scan lines and the time necessary to remain on the screen to be read by the viewer.
Tom

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.--Ferris Bueller


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Gary Hazen
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 24, 2010 at 6:27:20 pm

" You did not bother to read any of the posts on this very forum." - Bob Zelin

Bob it's evident that you don't read some of the posts in this forum either. Here's Christy's second post in this thread:

"I'm actually specifically talking about LEGALS. The fine print that lives on certain commercials that generally deal with banking and communication services." - Christy P.

Somehow you managed to ramble on for 3 paragraphs without mentioning anything about her specific question. Because you're an engineer an not a content creator you don't understand some of the terminology used in the post suite. The term "legals" in the post suite refers to disclaimer text that has a minimum height and must be on the screen for a certain amount of time. Christy even clarified her use of the term "Legals" in her second post. The phrase "broadcast legal" means that the technical requirements of the broadcaster airing the spot. You know, the stuff that you rage on and on about here on a regular basis. The issue here is about semantics - Christy used the term "legals" and you misunderstood. There are plenty of times that lazy people post stupid questions. And they deserve the full on Zelin Rage Machine. But in this case I think you got bent out of shape for all the wrong reasons.



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Christy Pessagno
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:59:16 pm

Thanks for the input so far.


If anyone is interested, we are setting ours as so for the time being:

SD
Scan line height min: 14
Font: Helvetica
Opacity: 100%
Timing: 3 seconds for the 1st line, 1 second for each additional line

HD
Scan line heigh min: 22
Font: Helvetica
Opacity: 100%
Timing: 3 seconds for the 1st line, 1 second for each additional line


For both, everthing will be title safe. For HD we will center cut the legals.


These are just the guidelines we will use when presenting specs to a client. Ultimately, these rules will be up to the client and their legal department.



Any other suggestions or info is still very welcome.

Editor :: Videographer :: Photographer


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Christy Pessagno
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 28, 2010 at 2:47:58 pm

Also, for both SD and HD we are doing 8 scan lines of leading if there is more than one line of legal.

Editor :: Videographer :: Photographer


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Mark Grossardt
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 28, 2010 at 5:56:19 pm

Hi Christy,
I've always been told that the font height must not be less than 4% of the screen height (ie. 20 scan lines of an SD image) and up for no less than 4 seconds for a political. Everything else, I generally go with a sans-serif font at about 9 pixels (9 point leading), and I've never had anyone complain.



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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Jan 31, 2010 at 10:12:16 pm

Well, as you've discovered, there really aren't any set in stone standards. I can tell you that at the network (ABC), legal could get pretty cranky about disclaimers & rules.

We rarely went below 18 points (as in an 18 point font on a Chyron) for contest rules and other disclaimers. Otherwise it gets pretty hard to read. They didn't usually specify a font, but a sans serif like helvetica or futura was more readable at that small size. 90 or 100 percent opacity, with a 1 or 2 line drop shadow or edge to make the text stand out a bit.

The goal was "plausible readability"- almost no one was expected to read the stuff, but they "could" if they really wanted to.

The bigger fight was usually to reduce the required info to a bare minimum. 4 lines maximum for anywhere from 3 to 6 seconds seemed to be the best compromise. The phrase "for full rules, go to abc.com" made life much easier and covered a multitude of sins. Because if it's a contest, they WILL get sued if there's even a hint of not following the rules to the letter.

Car spots and other actual advertising seems to play by different rules. There's no way anyone can hope to read those disclaimers, and no one seems to mind. Stations (and networks) want the ad dollars, so they look the other way. I've never heard of a spot getting rejected because the legals were too small, but i've never seen a spot with legals much smaller than that 18 point limit.

One last point: most stations run breaks from a server (small markets still use tape playback). These servers use lots of compression, and the spots generally look pretty bad. Text, in particular, degrades very quickly. So that mouse type turns into a blur of pixellated text. As do small graphic elements. Not pretty, and kind of calling attention to the too-small font.

So your best bet is to try to reduce the word count as much as possible, and make what has to be there at least minimally readable, even when compressed. Make the legal department your friend, and you may surprised at how muck slack they'll cut you on disclaimers.


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Jay Rudin
Re: Legals on a Spot :: Standards?
on Mar 22, 2010 at 5:17:53 pm

Christy,
I agree with you that the standards are vague and I've been frustrated before trying to get answers to other legal questions from the FCC. They were very difficult to deal with especially considering I was simply trying to find out the rules so I could abide by them.
I also think Bob has an anger issue and you should ignore his pompous insulting attitude. This is normally a friendly, helpful and supportive forum and there's no place or reason for rudeness.
Good Luck,
Jay


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