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OT: Spot delivery

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Matt Larson
OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:29:19 pm

I've been using an FTP service to deliver our commercials to TV stations for several years now and I've never been very happy with their service or video quality. Today may have been the final straw though when a station called me to tell me that an ad has been airing (in another state) out of sync. When I called the FTP company, their media tech told me that the sync was "close enough"!

I'm now making Betacams to overnight to the stations, and I'm thinking there has to be a better way. Any one care to share what format they use to get a finished commercial out the door?

We do need to have a lot of our ads closed captioned, so any advice on a service that takes care of that along with the dubs would be excellent.

Thanks-


2 x3Ghz Quad MacPro
9 GB RAM
Mac OS X 10.5.5
QT 7.5.5
FCP 6.0.5
AJA Kona 3 (6.0.1 drivers)
G-Speed XL 12 RAID


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:38:05 pm

[Matt Larson] "I've been using an FTP service to deliver our commercials to TV stations for several years now and I've never been very happy with their service or video quality."

What have you been FTPing? Transport streams?


[Matt Larson] "so any advice on a service that takes care of that along with the dubs would be excellent. "

Check out MacCaption. Pretty sweet software.


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Matt Larson
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:45:42 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "What have you been FTPing? Transport streams?"

10 mbit 4:2:2 MPEG-2 files. I had to buy Telestream Episode because that is the only software for Mac that makes that kind of MPEG-2.

I had looked in to MacCaption before but I was hoping to not have to do the captioning in-house (ie: Me). I'll look at it again though.

I never knew how good a Beta could look until I sent it downconverted HD from the Kona!


2 x3Ghz Quad MacPro
9 GB RAM
Mac OS X 10.5.5
QT 7.5.5
FCP 6.0.5
AJA Kona 3 (6.0.1 drivers)
G-Speed XL 12 RAID


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:51:19 pm

[Matt Larson] "I never knew how good a Beta could look until I sent it downconverted HD from the Kona! "

:)

If you aren't happy with telestream, I'd get them on the horn. I hear they have great product service. 10 mbit 4:2:2 is higher than DVD so it should look at least okay. I am wondering if you're encodes have been setup wrong. What format of HD are you coming from?

If you don't want to do the closed captioning, then you'll have to find a house that does and will make the beta for you at the same time. We just call our local dub house and they handle it all for us.


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Matt Larson
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 11:06:08 pm

Jeremy, you are right: Episode is a great product. The file I send to the FTP site look great. (I downconvert before I send the file to Episode).

I think the problems I'm having are coming from when they close caption the spot. From what I've been learning, they take the file I send them, uncompress it and add the captioning info, and then re-compress it.

I only get betas of the captioned spots for our library, so I don't know how the others look.


2 x3Ghz Quad MacPro
9 GB RAM
Mac OS X 10.5.5
QT 7.5.5
FCP 6.0.5
AJA Kona 3 (6.0.1 drivers)
G-Speed XL 12 RAID


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 11:20:45 pm

Aha. I got ya.

I'd then look in to MacCaption (you'll make more money!) as you will be able to encode/send the file with closed captioning. it is a bit of an extra step, though.

Jeremy


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Tim Ward
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 27, 2009 at 11:31:39 pm

Matt-

Here are a couple of things I've done.

1. Send 10-bit Uncompressed SD QT's to a company called Acoustech in Atlanta. They close-caption the spots and send them out through DG (I believe), and on Beta SP for stations that aren't set up for DG.

2. For smaller distributions, send video for closed-captioning, then get a QT Animation .mov file back of the Line 21 CC, drop it on the highest layer in the sequence (D1 sequence, that is), crop it to where just Line 21 shows, and export it or edit-to-tape. No generation loss. Sweet.

10Mb/s is low IMHO--especially if it's not the final stream. Now I've seen tons of 15Mb/s MPEG-2 (hardware-compressed) spots which look great--as long as it's the first compression, and not re-compressed. If they're editing that MPEG TS you send them, that's leaving room for possible audio/video sync problems, AND they re-compress it. Yuck.


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Matt Larson
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 28, 2009 at 6:11:33 pm

I couldn't find any info on Google for Acoustech, do you have a link or contact info? We currently use DG, and that seems to be the only game in town.

I was wrong with the 10Mb data rate. It is actually 18Mb. Still, had I known the CC process once it leaves here as an MPEG (upload to them, dumped to tape(!), captioned, recompressed) I would have suggested we find an alternative sooner.




2 x3Ghz Quad MacPro
9 GB RAM
Mac OS X 10.5.5
QT 7.5.5
FCP 6.0.5
AJA Kona 3 (6.0.1 drivers)
G-Speed XL 12 RAID


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Tim Ward
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Jan 28, 2009 at 7:14:32 pm

[Matt Larson] "I couldn't find any info on Google for Acoustech, do you have a link or contact info? We currently use DG, and that seems to be the only game in town.

I was wrong with the 10Mb data rate. It is actually 18Mb. Still, had I known the CC process once it leaves here as an MPEG (upload to them, dumped to tape(!), captioned, recompressed) I would have suggested we find an alternative sooner."



http://www.acoustechmusic.com/

The guy I deal with is Wayne Dykes. They're an audio production house, but have a Final Cut Pro/Kona system. We're kinda locked into using them for now, but I don't have any complaints about them. I can't testify to the integrity/quality of the digital distributions, since I haven't been able to see one of our spots after a TV station gets it--that is, I don't know if they got it from DG or Beta SP, nor the steps they went through to put it on air, but I haven't seen anything bad.


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Joe Murray
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Feb 6, 2009 at 3:27:18 am

The spot sync issue may be happening at the local station rather than the closed captioning stage. I had this problem recently with a spot - we sent it through DG, although I did the closed captioning in house so that was definitely not the issue. What we figured out was that the sync was different between the digital and analog signals being sent by the stations. One was in sync, the other was out. Can't remember which one was out. The question to ask is "was everything else on the station in sync?" because most likely there were similar problems with the other spots on that station. Did the same spot look out of sync on other stations?

For closed captioning, check out http://www.unisay.com. MUCH cheaper than MacCaption, at least on the front end, and you just pay for it when the project requires, per spot or per minute. Basically, you upload a text file of the script, and an audio file of your program (preferably a voice-only audio file), and Unisay's server uses phonetic recognition to match up the captions with the audio. You preview the captions, make any revisions necessary, then export an animation codec Quicktime and put it on a layer above your program in FCP, set bottom crop to 99 and you're ready to export a CC'd file. Coolest thing I've found in a while. Well, at least it's as cool as closed captioning gets.

Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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Matt Larson
Re: OT: Spot delivery
on Feb 6, 2009 at 3:09:21 pm

Thanks Joe. Unisay sounds like something that could be really useful for us.


2 x3Ghz Quad MacPro
9 GB RAM
Mac OS X 10.5.5
QT 7.5.5
FCP 6.0.5
AJA Kona 3 (6.0.1 drivers)
G-Speed XL 12 RAID


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