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Specifications for Broadcast

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Ryan Johnson
Specifications for Broadcast
on Mar 2, 2014 at 9:46:46 pm

I had taken on a job to do a few web videos and the client wanted me to take one of them and adapt it for T.V. Having no experience this is my first time doing anything with broadcast. Basically, I got everything ready (changed frame rate from 23 to 29.97) and made all colors fit within broadcast specs. The only thing I cannot figure out is the section below that they sent. If anyone can translate this for me into English I would be very appreciative. The commercial is a 30 second spot.

Layout specs

5 Seconds of Slate (Agency Name, Client Name, ISCI code, Title)
2 seconds of Black (00:00:05:00 . 00:00:06:29)
Commercial Content (00:00:07:00)
1-5 frames of Black
Audio Peaks at -10dB

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Steve Crook Jr
Re: Specifications for Broadcast
on Mar 3, 2014 at 3:05:03 pm

I cannot definitively answer your questions, but I have had to edit a video for broadcast that might help you out.

1) Slate -> I would guess that that is the official name of the text at the beginning and end of the video (I would expect that broadcasters want the same at the beginning and end, but client wanted differently)

2) 2 seconds of black -> Is there, too. Just after the text at the beginning and before the text at the end.

3) Content -> I found that without leading/trailing text/black the content was exactly 1 minute. Just what it should be.

4) Black -> Different specification than the one I worked on, but put a couple of frames after the content.

5) Audio -> For this one, you need to open the audio in an audio mixing/editing program. Not sure what software you use, but if you use Premiere you can right click the audio track and edit it it Audition. Once there, make sure that no part of the audio spectrum "rises" higher than -10dB on the scale. If any does, select all of the audio and "amplify" by a negative number (-1 or some other small number) repeatedly until the audio is in spec. (You could also select just the part(s) of audio that exceed the bounds, but then you might mess up the balance of the entire composition.)

Again, I am not trained in broadcast in any fashion and I have only worked on the one composition. I do hope this helps, though.

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Tom Matthies
Re: Specifications for Broadcast
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:01:19 pm

The slate is pretty straight forward. It's the information about the spot or video that follows. It identifies just what the content of the video is. It usually includes the Agency (or who the video was made for), the name of the video or project. The ISCI code is pretty arbitrary. If your client has a code that identifies their video, get that code from them and put it on the slate. Otherwise, if they don't have a code number, make one up but make sure that you use the same number on the slate that goes to the traffic department at the station to make the traffic folks happy. Traffic departments will use this for placing the spot on their logs and for billing purposes. Other info would be the length of the spot. Angry traffic folks are not your friends and can make your life miserable. Always give them what they need and they will be cheerful when you call later.
Other items of interest. Whether it is full frame or drop frame. If it's for broadcast and it's longer than a 30 sec. spot, it generally should be drop frame code to get an accurate running time of the entire video-for airing in the US anyway. It also helps to note what the audio is-mono, stereo, mixed and so on. If you are sending a :30 sec. file rather than a tape, make sure that the audio is mixed to two channels. If it's a longer format for broadcast, check with the broadcaster to see just what they need.
The black run out at the end makes me suspect that they are expecting a digital file rather than a tape. If that's the case, you will also need to know what file format-mpeg2, H-264 mp4 and so on, they prefer. It is VERY important to get right the first time to avoid delays in getting your video on the air. Again, get the info from the broadcaster. You may also require their FTP log in info for digital delivery of the file.
Finally, audio. the -10db limit refers to having no audio peak over -10db on a 0dbfs scale. Generally audio for digital broadcasting uses a reference point - usually -20dbfs or -18dbfs (Db-FULL SCALE) that would correspond to 0db on an analog scale. It depends on what you used for editing your video as to what kind of scale it uses. Most use the 0DBFS scale for metering but not all. Keep all of your audio peaks at or below the -10dbfs point. Most broadcasters have audio processing on their output audio before it hits the transmitter so this requirement can be somewhat flexible. Again, it depends on how picky the broadcaster is.

So, give them exactly 5 seconds of slate, exactly two seconds of black, your video exact to the frame and then 1-5 frames of black roll-out at the end. Note that if your video is a 30 second spot, they will be looking for 30 seconds of content to the exact frame. Not a little longer or shorter-exactly 30 seconds.

Hope this clears things up a little.


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