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Christian Hart
Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 3:41:14 pm

Hi there,

Does anyone know of a web based resource - a checklist of UK requirements
and "how to"s for making your sequences broadcast safe when not using
a post house to do a grade or dub.

There are gaps in my knowledge.

I'm ok mixing down the audio and applying a broadcast safe filter but i know i'll miss something crucial if i'm not careful.

Can anyone give me a few refreshers/pointers in a hurry - or point me to some good pages?


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John Fishback
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 4:14:01 pm

I suggest asking the broadcaster for their specs. In the US those specs vary from network-to-network. It may be the same for you.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 2 (FCP 6.0.5, Comp 3.0.5, DVDSP 4.2.1, Color 1.0.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Kevin Maguire
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 5:04:53 pm

Hi Christian, as John said, it really depends on who you are delivering to.

Here's the BBC Technical Delivery Standards document, and if you deliver to these standards I doubt your broadcaster will have any complaints.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/dq/pdf/tv/tv_standards_london.pdf


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Christian Hart
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 5:15:25 pm

thanks very much guys

i do have a list of specs for the broadcaster but i was also
hoping for was more of this kind of thing :

(from walter's blog)
http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/?p=134

maybe some audio help as well!

Just dont want to forget anything as i only have one shot..


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Kevin Maguire
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 6:05:03 pm

Usually I have the luxury of sending the audio to a professional dubbing facility, but when budgets are tight I use Logic Pro to mix/sweeten all my audio, using a plug-in called PPMulator to monitor the output levels. This emulates the PPM meters calibrated to BBC standards.

Unfortunately this plug-in doesn't work with FCP.

As a rough guide, you should try to aim for an average level higher than -18db but lower than -12db.

You can use FCP audio filters like compression and EQ to sweeten the sound, but you really need a good monitoring system to hear what changes are being made, otherwise you can make a real mess of it without realising.

Again, refer to your broadcaster's documents, as they should be very detailed about what will be accepted in terms of audio quality.

Good luck!


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Shane Ross
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 6:18:37 pm

[Christian Hart] "
Does anyone know of a web based resource - "


What they said...the networks specs.

[Christian Hart] "and "how to"s for making your sequences broadcast safe when not using
a post house to do a grade or dub.
"


THAT is tricky. I do not know of a resource out there that says what to do, other than Walter's blog. You need to know how to use the tools to bring the video and audio levels within the range the network wants. I spent a year assisting an online editor to know all the big tricks, and subtle ones. This is a career field. Like asking "is there a manual for how to creatively edit? when to make a cut?" It is all instinct, feeling, and technical know how. And I only know the VIDEO side...I read audio specs and it is all greek to me. I send things to the audio mixer.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Gissing
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 9:10:01 pm


I am unusual in that I grade, online and mix audio for broadcast. If you wish to learn what I have from years in broadcast telecine, plus building and running my own post house for 25 years from a blog or online tutorial, then good luck. Meeting tech specs is just the beginning. Learning to be creative within those technical boundaries is the real challenge.

I can tell you that with FCP it is possible to produce broadcast spec pictures, but mixing audio in FCP is not going to deliver the pre mix stems and quality result that a proper audio studio will produce.


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Christian Hart
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 9:24:41 pm

Michael don't worry - i'm not some numpty that thinks he can press
a magic button as a substitute for a decade of tech knowledge and artistry.

However, i do find myself in this situation (rather unfairly i might add)
and I do need this film to pass the broadcast specs!

All pointer about how/ what tools to use within FCP and in what order -
as walter has so kindly done on his blog would be greatfully
appreciated.

Not to make a piece of amazing work - just to get it to pass!


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Michael Gissing
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 9:37:15 pm


Christian, my worry is that FCP is not the right tool for broadcast audio. Apple know that which is why they developed Sound Track Pro.

Basics like being able to produce stems of FX, music, dialog etc are not possible in FCP. Broadcast spec limiting is also difficult in FCP. Audio is the weakest area.


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Christian Hart
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 25, 2009 at 9:12:12 pm

I hear you Shane - i'm usually wrapped up fully in the offline side of things and hand over to a post house, so yeah - i am stumbling about a bit.

Off to go mix down my audio and check the yellow exclamation mark is banished...


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cowcowcowcowcow
Nick Price
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 26, 2009 at 8:53:52 am

HI christian,
the main thing with audio is making sure it doesnt consistently hit 6 on a PPm and that it never goes into the red (or the red light comes on...depends on your PPM monitor of course). That is the main reason it will fail QC. Otherwise generally make sure it sounds good to your ears. I have done many mixes using final cut and while its not ideal it is perfectly useable.

To stop the mixes going over 6 on a PPM, use the compressor/limiter . Mix down your sequence, add the filter. Turn up the track volume for the mix, and you will hear the compressor kicking in.

If you dont have a PPM use the Vu meter in FCP, everything wants to be generally between 12-18db. Make sure it never goes over 12db and you will be fine.
best wishes
nick



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Ben Scott
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 26, 2009 at 11:02:26 am

you can get ppmulator to work with FCP if you set it up with audio hijack and soundflower
PPM should have dialogue at a minimum of 4ppm and max should never go over 6ppm where 4ppm represents -18db and 4ppm is 8db higher

you will need to check the goniometer in soundtrack pro as well to check for Phase cancellation

for color correction I am sure walters article is good on this bit and how to apply the broadcast safe filter

make sure all titles are protected for 14.9 in UK

where in doubt about PSI e.g. red image and constant flashing images with different luma values bring down saturation and contrast and maybe even add motion blur

main rule
Always check picture and audio on broadcast quality kit e.g. if SD output be viewing on graded CRT and proper monitor speakers in a some sort of a controlled environment audio and ambient lighting


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adam taylor
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 26, 2009 at 11:13:42 am

Not quite accurate....Correct you cannot go over 6ppm, as that will get an instant rejection, BUT you can't simply whack on a compressor and pump the heck out of it either.
In the UK I know the stations now use loudness analysers which can work out the relative loudness of dialogue and music - if you are out of the approved range you fail.

Like Michael, I too do everything...audio, video, motion graphics, grading, etc (and i'm uk based) so have first hand experience (built up over 20+ years) - I had my first audio rejection this year when a commercial i mixed was just too full-on to pass, even though it was peaking several db below the limit.
I could have stumped up £700 for Dolbys plug meter but just decided to remix it first and see what happened. It passed because being made aware of what failed, i could compare it to previous stuff i'd mixed and had passed.

You may also find that rules for programmes may be slightly different to those for commercials, so you need to be aware of the rules relevant to your particular job.

I would never attempt to do a mix for broadcast in FCP, its simply the wrong tool for the job. I use Protools LE (don't need the £20k hd setups for my work), and a hardware PPM meter. Excellent monitoring is a definite must - and that does not mean decent hi-fi speakers. Your monitors MUST have a clear accurate representation of the audio, without artificially sweetening the sound.

For me, the most valuable plug-in is Waves L2 Ultramaximiser - (used as the final plug on the master mix )settings of output limit - -9db, Ultra noise shaping, dither 20bits, and varying the threshold to give a gain reduction (on the red meters) of around 3-4 db has worked every time for me. This is applied AFTER i have done my compression, eq's and balancing - not instead of.

And off air, the ads hold up well against their peers.

Depending on the material you are doing, the possible pitfalls of doing audio with no experience could easily cost you more (both in time, money, possible missed air dates) than booking a session at a posthouse. Thats how I learned...as a video editor on several shows I spent many hours in a mixroom watching the dubbing mixer, asking the occasional pertinent questions, and reading everything i could around the subject. It takes time, study and practice.

I would seriously recommend phoning the Senior Transmission Engineer at whichever station your material is being transmitted from, explain your situation and ask for their advice. They would much rather you asked and got it right than blindly kept on sending and crossing your fingers. A little humility can go a long way!

Good luck, and stick with it...experience is the only way to learn.
adam


Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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Christian Hart
Re: Checklist to prepare for broadcast
on Oct 26, 2009 at 1:54:12 pm

Would just like to say thanks to Adam Ben and Nick - that is all incredibly useful information. I hope to never find myself in that
situation again (up at 2am using the wrong tools, no time to spare
and with no solid understanding of what i am doing!)

Believe me i tend to be the sort of person that learns as much as i can
first, before attempting anything like this but as i say, it landed in my lap..


The transmission engineer was quite helpful in pointing out what would fail the program but i obviously couldn't ask him a million questions eg "how do i correct audio that is out of phase" etc etc so some heavy reading was required in places.

I corrected luma / gam levels and checked audio remained between -18 and -12db before mixing down and, for simplicity, centering all tracks (mono mix was stated as acceptable)

It's supposed to be broadcast very, very, shortly so we shall see...

Thanks again.


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