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Encoding for cable commercial

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Todd Schmidt
Encoding for cable commercial
on Jul 8, 2011 at 9:31:42 pm

Hi All,

I'm sure there are other forums to post this question to but I wanna give this a shot.

I'm always seeing this massive quality difference in spots and am wondering why. I usually render straight from After Effects either uncompressed or with an animation codec and give my stuff to another editor for final touches. Everything looks crisp and brilliant yet once it hits the stations I'm very un-pleased. Well I've been asked to produce the spots now and I'm looking at the requirements given by one of the stations. For FTP transfer they want it in a H.264 codec. I'm very worried about the quality that this will give my spot on cable. Yes, it is in SD..no real way around that since it was shot on SD.

Can someone give me some advice and also let me know why cable butchers our spots?

Thanks!

Todd


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Encoding for cable commercial
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:05:14 pm

[Todd Schmidt] "Can someone give me some advice and also let me know why cable butchers our spots?"

The short answer: at the local system level, it's because they can, and because they don't make money paying close attention to technical standards.

They make money running the spots, not when they exercise proper care in how good those spots look. It's a sad fact of life.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Todd Schmidt
Re: Encoding for cable commercial
on Jul 10, 2011 at 3:06:50 am

Thanks Dave,

I knew I could count on you for an answer. It is really sad that they do that. Let me ask you what is it specifically that they are doing that lowers the quality of the spot? Is it some sort of compression? I'm trying to really get a grasp on this so I can notify our clients when they ask why their spots look so much dirtier than the nationals.

Thanks you!!!!

Todd


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Encoding for cable commercial
on Jul 11, 2011 at 1:56:51 pm

The technical standards imposed on local cable systems aren't very stringent, and if they do indeed play spots out of a server, they can be very compressed; the resulting artifacting is most noticeable on dissolves. If it's a tape-based playback system, the kind of machines used and degree of maintenance can be a mystery.

National spots seen on USA, Food Network, Discovery, etc. are simply passed through; they don't suffer as much.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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