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Following up re: digital delivery

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Tim WilsonFollowing up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 3, 2010 at 7:57:35 pm

There was a thread a while back about digital delivery that I wanted to bring up again.

Who's using digital delivery? For what? To whom?

Who have you used? What'd you think?

In case you missed it, or need a refresher, the original thread is here.


Thanks,
Tim

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!


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Bob ZelinRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 3, 2010 at 11:58:35 pm

wow, this came up today. I never got involved with digital delivery, and now I am begin asked about it. And of course, everyone wants to spend AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE (gee, what a surprise), so "yousendit" came up. The basic idea is to get an .mpg file over a ftp network, so it can be loaded on a server (in my example, a 360 Systems Maxx 500) for on air playback. The files have to come from a station in Puerto Rico, and wind up in Florida for the latin-american market. Now, would DG/Pathfinder, etc. work - of course they would work, but what is the CHEAP solution that works.

And yes, I know that yousendit (even in pro versions) has a 2 Gig file limit. (for a little more detail in what is being attempted so you can laugh, Fed Ex of DVD's of the shows in .vob file format that have to be converted to .mpg to get them on the servers).

Yes, this is a timely discussion.

Bob Zelin



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Rich RubaschRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:34:26 am

Ok, I'll follow a Zelin post...

DG Fastchannel - Been using them for a year or so. Very convenient and reliable. Using Episode to encode to their unique MPEG-2 requirements. I charge same as a Betacam tape, however if there are multiple spots to a single station I charge a bit more. Quality is fine and their service has improved over time. Big plus...stations love them.

FTP site - We set up a Buffalo Terastation to hold about 1 terabyte of SD promos for BBC and American Public Television. It is local at our facility so getting files to it is a snap. We allow anonymous access via any web browser and set it up to be accessed via port 9000 or FTP port 21 with simple web redirects....in other words they type in our web url with a directory name and it takes them to the file list. they right-click to save. So far it has been working swimmingly. We only had to increase our internet upload speeds at the shop to meet the bandwidth requirements....we are at 4 meg upload.

Station's FTP site - I have FTP folders on two network and one cable providers sites. I upload files to their directories with files to their specs (HD or SD) and they retrieve them. This system is ok, but not as bulletproof as DG. I have to make sure they got the file and have to make sure they QC the darn thing.

DG Fastcahnnel gives me most piece of mind...clients love getting the order from DG stating that everything has been delivered. It is like a Fed Ex tracking number.

Betacam still works locally, but if I send out spots statewide I encourage DG Fastchannel. If it only is going to a couple local stations I will try to use the "sneakernet" method of dropping a file on the local station's FTP site.

Need more?

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
Owner/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Tim WilsonRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:34:17 am

[Rich Rubasch] "Need more?"

You mention a unique MPEG-2 format for DG Fastchannel? Without giving away any of their trade secrets :-) can you say more about what it is? Even generally.

Also, what file formats are the FTP folks looking for?

This is actually a question I have for everybody - what kinds of files are you working with? What are the recipients looking for? Are there standards emerging?

Thanks, kids. Keep 'em coming.


tw


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Mark RaudonisRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:10:49 am

Digital delivery? Funny you should ask.

Short form has been into digitial delivery for awhile now, but only this year have we heard from multiple networks that they want their long form programming delivered digitally as well. You've gotta use WAN acceleration or have extremely fat pipes.

Here's a couple of vendors I'm familiar with in this space:

http://www.apseratech.com

http://www.signiant.com/-1/Solutions/Broadcast/


File formats: Quick time prores seems to keep 'em happy.

mark



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Todd TerryRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:25:21 am

We're still doing a little bit of uploading... not tons but some.

Mostly our stuff goes to DG Fastchannel, Knology, Comcast, and FTP'd directly to a couple of movie theatres (commercials shown in their pre-shows before the movie trailers).

The files look good, the transfers upload fine, the stuff looks ok on the air.

But...

Invariably, it takes a couple of emails and a couple of more calls for the recipient to find the files we have uploaded. A notification system that seems automatic (or should be), sure seems to have kinks in it. It always takes a least a couple of emails and usually a couple of phone calls before they can find our spots. INVARIABLY. Even though we do uploads to the letter, put things exactly where and how they are supposed to be, and send the requisite notification uploads. Usually after the second or third call we'll hear "Looking, looking.... oh! Yes, there they are. Yes, right where they are supposed to be."

It gets a little tiresome.

If they can hammer the kinks out of that, we'll be happy.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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John Davidsondelete
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:19:18 am

We've dealt with Discovery nets using YouSendIt for short form media. They still prefer tapes, but sometimes they have an emergency project that just has to be there in 2 hours. In those instances we send you a 1080i pro res quicktime straight out of FCP and it imports directly into their Avids.

I still prefer tape for now. 5 more years of exponential storage bumps and internet speeds and that may change.

When we all have 100 up/down FiOs we'll laugh about this question. And we'll cry about the money we spent on decks.


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Tim WilsonRe: delete
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:59:10 am

[John Davidson] "In those instances we send you a 1080i pro res quicktime straight out of FCP and it imports directly into their Avids."

I assume that the files are still under 2GB, right? I know that ProRes compresses nicely, and that there are different flavors of ProRes, but how *long* is a typical 2GB file of 1920x1080 that you send? Five minutes? 30?

Or are you sending via another method than YouSendIt?

[John Davidson] "I still prefer tape for now."

I agree that tape is still king. Even places with tapeless infrastructures are still often taking delivery on tape, so that THEY can manage the file formatting, rather than wrestling with whatever you've mangled.

But as mentioned on the original thread, sometimes you have to send 100 spots in different formats to different places - definitely a job for digital delivery....


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John DavidsonRe: short form
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:45:35 pm

Well, like I said, we're talking short form media. If, when using yousendit, you find yourself going over 2gigs, all isn't lost. I use an app call DMG chopper that breaks up a DMG into smaller chunks. When they're all downloaded onto the other side, double click on the first one and it consolidates all the parts back into a single file. Very useful.

I will say I've been plenty pleased with YouSendIt. A mixer turned me onto it and at first I had some problems - if a client replied to the generated email it went to a null address. That's fixed now, and I've noticed their servers are about 50% faster than mine or most networks internal FTP systems. I suspect network engineers cap server speeds, whereas YSI doesn't.

If I were delivering via YSI and had a large stringout of spots, I'd just upload the tags in addition to the main spot. The inhouse layback editor can paste the differences onto a stringout - done.

No solution is perfect yet though. Not until bandwidth and compression hit a universally awesome sweet spot. Until then, HDcam will rock us through.


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Mark GrossardtRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 2:25:24 pm

Rich (or anyone else using DG for SD distribution), you might want to seriously consider Extreme Reach.

We've only just begun using ER (based in part because of a recommendation found on the COW). So far, I've been impressed. They were founded by the guys who started FastChannel, so I get the impression that ER is the new and improved version of DGFastChannel. They're all software/cloud based, so nobody has to acquire proprietary gear to work with them. They take a high quality mpeg 2 or ProRes HQ master file and encode it specifically for each station's playback server, so automated re-encoding by the stations shouldn't be an issue. (Incidentally, the ProRes HQ file is a much more accurate representation of the spot sitting on my NLE timeline than the mpeg 2 format for either ER or DG). The list of stations using ER is large and growing, though not quite as ubiquitous as DG's. If a station isn't partnered with them yet, they can also dump the spot to Beta SP and have it delivered, much like DG. Since there isn't any proprietary gear for a station to buy in order to partner with ER, it seems like stations are coming online with them pretty quickly.

So far we haven't had any complaints about their customer service/billing/traffic departments. We've had a few hiccups with DG in that regard. Nothing that serious, but I know some others have had worse experiences with DG.

Another nice thing about ER is their online portal. You can view everything you've ever uploaded (in multiple formats for those married to a particular platform), enter traffic instructions, track uploads and deliveries, download QC reports if a spot is flagged, etc. You can even give clients limited access to the portal so that they can have an online library of their spots. And it's very user friendly.

So, the comparisons between DG and ER are such that we'd migrate our workflow over to ER even if they charged the same as DG, but fortunately, they're way cheaper than DG. Even for those guys who love good ol' tape, one look at the ER rate card will make 'em think twice about ever sending out another Beta SP.

Lest I start to sound like an ER honk, I'm really hoping that ER's HD delivery prices start coming down, as the price is still about 10x that of SD delivery. That's enough to make me want to actually call up each station to request their HD formatting specs/FTP address info. And we all know how much fun that conversation can be ...

I once had a guy tell me I could just email a flash file. Seriously.

Mark Grossardt
Video Editor
Clark Creative Group


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Todd TerryRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 2:42:51 pm

[Mark Grossardt] "you might want to seriously consider Extreme Reach."

Sounds good, but I bet a lot of people are in the same boat as me... we don't get to choose the vendor.

Our main clients are a dozen or so advertising agencies. In our case for clients who want digital delivery, it is the agencies who make that choice (usually DGF, it seems) and actually own the account and pay the bills. We are just stuck with using whomever they are using, and often inherit the technical problems that go along with whatever vendor they have selected.

Maybe someday it will all get better. Maybe.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jonathan ThomasRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Dec 26, 2011 at 10:27:05 pm

Yes... I would like to hear more on prices. I know DG Systems Standard Definition is $25.
An if I can remember HD is $200. My client can't afford that.


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Kent VanderbergRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on May 15, 2012 at 12:18:11 pm

When shooting HD and framing for 16:9, must one always protect for TV to center-cut crop the sides of the frame on 4:3 TVs? Our intent was to use the entire width of the 16:9 image and then letterbox it for 4:3 distribution. But a broadcast engineer wandered onto the set and said the letterboxed version would appear both letterboxed and pillarboxed on 16:9 TVs. Our frame included text on a sign which cannot be cut off if center-cropping might occur.
I have a 4:3 TV at home. How is it that I see letterboxed 16:9 national spots all the time? I cannot believe that those spots are being letterboxed and pillarboxed on 16:9 TVs; they're filling the 16:9 frame.
I would like to distribute the spots in full raster 16:9 for everyone that is viewing on 16:9 TVs, whether viewing the SD channels or HD channels. But I DON'T want those viewing 4:3 SD to have the image center-cropped. How do the national advertisers manage to have their spots letterboxed on my 4:3 TV while playing full screen 16:9 on newer Tvs? Please explain. Thank you.

Kent

Kent


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Alex ElkinsRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on May 15, 2012 at 1:38:22 pm

Hi Kent,

The simple answer to all of your questions is: Do whatever the broadcaster requires.



[Kent Vanderberg] "When shooting HD and framing for 16:9, must one always protect for TV to center-cut crop the sides of the frame on 4:3 TVs?"

If the broadcaster says you should, then you should. Most broadcasters here in the UK allow 16:9 title safe these days, especially for programme content. For commercials it's still 4:3 safe unfortunately.



[Kent Vanderberg] "But a broadcast engineer wandered onto the set and said the letterboxed version would appear both letterboxed and pillarboxed on 16:9 TVs."

That's nonsense. Broadcasters work one of three ways - they letterbox your material on 4x3 TVs or they centre crop. There's also a happy medium between the two called 14:9, where you get a bit of letterboxing and a bit of cropping. Keeping things 14:9 safe is often all the broadcasters request in my experience.
Again, check with the stations you'll be delivering to.



[Kent Vanderberg] "I would like to distribute the spots in full raster 16:9 for everyone that is viewing on 16:9 TVs, whether viewing the SD channels or HD channels. But I DON'T want those viewing 4:3 SD to have the image center-cropped."

That's not for you to decide unfortunately. Adhere to the broadcasters' specs or they won't air your content, it's as simple as that. The fact is that some broadcasters will do a 4:3 centre cut, some will crop to 14:9 and others will letterbox. You don't control that, but you can choose to shoot in a way that adheres to some or all of the potential broadcast standards. Check with the stations.

All the best
Alex

P.S. This is really a question more suited to the Digital Delivery forum.

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
Post Blue showreel
Latest work: Greyhounds in Motion at 500fps
My Vimeo Pro page


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Alex ElkinsRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:36:12 am

Hi all,

I'm in the UK and all of our SD commercials are delivered as files in PhotoJPEG format. We first upload to a company called Adway, who check the legality of the ad (as in the content, not technical), then upload to another company Adstream who QC and deliver via satellite to the stations. Delivery instructions are placed on their website, the orders paid for and then they're with the stations within an hour or so. It works quite efficiently, the only bottleneck ever really being our upload time, although for 60" ads it's not a big issue.

There are now a few broadcasters (particularly the smaller ones who presumably have less invested in tape systems) who are happy to accept larger files delivered on a harddrive. The larger broadcasters have been much slower to adopt this practice.
Personally I'm all for it. I entered the industry quite recently at a time where tapeless acquisition was just being adopted, so putting something onto tape seems almost backward to me, as long as the quality is the same. The greatest value in tape formats now is for archive, in my opinion. Files on a computer can't compete with the benefit of physically putting a tape on a shelf, which is why I don't think it will be superseded too soon.

I've recently started using Dropbox for sending files to clients and so far I like it AND it's free! There is of course a storage limit, but you can pay monthly to have more space.


Alex Elkins

Salad Daze Films - Freshly Tossed
Check out my latest addition to the Creative Cow Reels Section


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Tim WilsonRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 10:38:08 am

[Alex Elkins] "I'm in the UK"

Nice! Thanks! I was hoping for some folks outside the US to chime in on this.

Not that the US contingent should be done just yet. :-) I simply mean to say that I'm actively soliciting input from the entire world...

Thanks again,
Tim

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!


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Rich RubaschRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:34:33 pm

For direct to station delivery, H264 is the norm, but proRes is gaining ground.

We just did a test to take Canon 5D footage to an older Vegas system on a PC and a PC Premier system. Both PC systems have QT Pro installed. I encoded just about every flavor of 1080i footage, DVCProHD, HDV, MPEG-2 etc, and the final delivery to both was ProRes. Says a lot. I also have Media Composer on my PC and ProRes works fine in HD and SD.

So it is my hope that ProRes becomes the new PhotoJPEG so we can stop guessing at what format will work.

For now our local stations take straight DV, H264 for HD and MPEG-2.

As for DGs custom MPEG-2 format, it is an 18000mbps CBR MPEG-2 but they add 16 lines of "VBI space color" to the top of the file, meaning the encoded movie has an extra black bar at the top.

Audio goes out MPEG Layer II at 384Kbps.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
Owner/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Max KaiserRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:42:21 pm

Comcast just started allowing digital delivery for spots in our area (seattle).

Originally we had to do their very interesting mpeg-2 encoding to mixed results. Then, recently, they started allowing us to send them prores and they would encode. Spots looked much better.

Now, they are going to let us use HD. This is a first in our region. Still, they say it must be 29.97 prores. Does anyone have any experience with this? What are you using to convert 23.98 - which is all we shoot - to 29.97? Compressor yields okay results but with a slight bit of visible (to me) stuttering. Does DG do the conversion? Well?

Thanks!
Max

Max Kaiser
Director
Hand Crank Films
http://www.handcrankfilms.com

Various Intel
FCP 7
OS 10.5
RED/XDCAM/7D


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Jeremy DoyleRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:42:27 pm

I'll start by saying we send out roughly 6 shows weekly to various stations and lots of spots. Between our offices in various states we use FTP. To the stations we air on in the states we send tapes. We also air in Canada and to that network we load up a hard drive and dump all of that weeks programming in Pro Res HQ. It saves on shipping costs and has no problems with customs.



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Bob ZelinRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:49:50 pm

Jeremy wrote - "we use ftp". I hate that answer - exactly what does that mean ? What program are you using? Do you have an in house FTP server, or are you using an outside service. When your clients have to receive the video, what program do they use - what site do they go to to download your shows ?

PLEASE be specific, as this is a subject of great interest to me and others. Just don't say "we use ftp" please.

Bob Zelin



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Jeremy DoyleRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:00:10 pm

[Bob Zelin] "Jeremy wrote - "we use ftp". I hate that answer - exactly what does that mean ? What program are you using? Do you have an in house FTP server"

We have an internal FTP server. I personally access it via cyber duck, but it can be accessed via any ftp client or web browser using the proper user name and password.



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Mark SuszkoRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:01:40 pm

I like the way Alex thinks about tape. But even I have to look to the future as well. What I would like to do is cobble together an in-house FTP server from off-the-shelf stuff that is fast and easy for users to access. Question for those who own MediaBatch; can MediaBatch be used for the front end of such a system?

What I'm thinking about is that we don't want to have to pay DG or some other service to load our stuff into an FTP server, if we don't have to, and if we had our own FTP server, we could cut costs. Maybe. At least we'd have direct control of the ingest and QC issues. We have a mailing list for blast-faxing news directors when we have something they may want. Currently, we book a Ku uplink and feed it to everyone "in the clear" that way, but the asynchronous nature of FTP fits busy station schedules better than having to force all the postential users of our footage to commit to a specific 15 minute window of sat reception time.

We have access to fat pipes already, and can lease the computer hardware. I just have to crunch the numbers to see if I can make a business case for it.

What we would use the system for is to distribute 15 minute raw news footage and VNR packages to news stations in our state markets a couple times a week, to between 5 and 20 stations, as well as SD and HD spots and PSA's. I want to follow what Zelin's working on, because it sounds roughly like something that may fit our situation as well.


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Gary HazenRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:32:04 pm

We're looking for a way to handle digital delivery in house as well. At NAB Digital Rapids showed their C2 delivery software.
http://www.digital-rapids.com/Products/IndividualProducts/C2.aspx
It looked interesting enough, with tracking files that were downloaded or delivered.

C2 or some other FTP on steroids. I think these are the types of solutions that are poised for a great deal of growth. IMO, the business model of delivering 30 second HD digital files at $150 - $300 a pop isn't sustainable. At those prices I can justify adding a server and an application to handle delivery.


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Bob ZelinRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:53:35 pm

Hey, are we starting a NEW FORUM for digital delivery ?

Bob Zelin



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Mark SuszkoRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:13:32 am

Sounds awesome, Bob, I would read such a forum with interest.


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Tim WilsonRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:36:01 am

We're definitely up for it. I started with this forum since I'd seen the issue come up before, but I'm still trying to evaluate the extent to which it might be more than something that warrants some juicy threads now and again.

I'm also hopeful that, as I start putting together some of these discussions into an overview article, it will get the conversation rolling even more. Goodness knows, we agree that this is among the big issues that's coming, and very much worthy of the spotlight.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear more about the formats you guys are delivering for distribution. It sounds like ProRes is coming on stronger, but it sounds like there's a lot more as well.

To restate an earlier question about MediaBatch, what software are you using to prepare your files - Compressor? Sorenson? Direct output from the NLE?

And of course, happy to hear any more about the specifics of your experiences with any vendors.

I know that that's a lot of questions to kick around, but guys, this is really, really helping.

Tim

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!


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Bob ZelinRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 12:29:22 pm

I would LOVE to read a "Digital Delivery" forum. I would ask questions like "who is using FileZilla", and other specific questions that are difficult to get answers to.

Yesterday, after reading this thread, I called up my cable company (my client) and asked a question I never asked them before - "how do people send you files for delivery - do you accept YouSendIt" - to which they replied "well, mainly, they ftp us the media" - to which I again asked "what does that mean, how do they do it, what is your requirement for delivery" -

After 20 questions (who is your sales account rep), I finally dug out of them that they use Telestream AdManager to accept and transcode digital delivery. It was like pulling teeth to get this simple info. I would LOVE to be able to ask questions like this (and more specifics) on a forum, because you all know that EVERYONE wants to do it, and everyone wants to spend zero money, so while Telestream, Digital Rapids, and others have expensive solutions, this forum would address the important questions (like every other Cow forum) - I don't have much money, how can I do digital deliver (and how can I accept digital delivery).

I am all for this forum !

Bob Zelin



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Chris BlairRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 5:04:06 pm

In terms of what does FTP mean...we upload to dozens of network affiliates and regional cable systems here in the midwest, including markets like Louisville, Nashville, Indy, St. Louis, Paducah, Bowling Green, Lexington and several others.

We just use a professional level FTP software application (in our case CuteFTP Pro). We encode the spots to the specs of the particular station or cable system (usually MPEG2 or Quicktime H264 but also a few other formats/codecs). Then we log onto the station or cable systems FTP using FTP addresses, user names and passwords they provide. Then we just drag and drop the file to the specific directory they've given us (which can be navigated to automatically by the FTP software).

Now if all that sounds simple...IT'S NOT. Just like Todd Terry's post...we end up going round and round with stations and cable systems about finding the files, even though they're uploaded to the SAME place time after time. The BIG problem with most stations and cable systems is that the process does NOT involve people. The spots are uploaded to systems (typically a flavor of Telestream) that are setup to automatically grab you're uploaded file and either place it onto their servers for air (or more typically) re-encode them to their specific playback format and move them onto the playback server.

A human being does NOT look at the file, does NOT check it for quality, or for that matter, check it for content. This is not a good way to do business as many of our spots end up with reversed fields (because Telestream's software/hardware systems often have to make a guess about the field order if they re-encode and they have a 50/50 shot of getting it right), messed up colors or they're squeezed or stretched incorrectly for HD playback.

But...as far as the FTP part of it, it's as simple as using off-the-shelf FTP software and logging onto the station or cable company's server and dragging and dropping the file. That's really the easy part of all this. The encoding and quality control is the problme area because if you're sending to multiple stations and cable systems, you might have to encode one spot into 4 or 5 different formats/codecs. Then...your encoded file will invariably get re-encoded by a machine and/or computer/software combo...not a person.

I will say account execs LOVE this process because they literally don't have to do anything...except call and email you looking for their files even though they've been uploaded to the same directory on the same server for the 35th time this year.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Todd TerryRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 5:52:40 pm

"I will say account execs LOVE this process because they literally don't have to do anything...except call and email you looking for their files even though they've been uploaded to the same directory on the same server for the 35th time this year.

Absolutely. Considering Chris and I have had exactly the same experience over and over again (in completely different markets, five hours apart), would seem to be the norm in the business. That sure needs to change.

As does better quality control... we've also had fields reversed on numerous occasions. Once one of the techs we had to call (when they couldn't find our spot... as usual) actually said, "Well it looks kind of jittery, but I guess it's ok... found it, thanks!"

Sheesh.

You know, through the years I've often thought our once-pristine spots looked pretty crappy on cable, but still always thought "If only there was a way to make them look even worse." I think we've found it.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mark SuszkoRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 6:11:43 pm

Sounds to me like an opportunity for the encoding hardware makers to promulgate a single standard, which would grow the market bigger and faster than this mish-mash of formats.


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Mike CohenRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 14, 2010 at 6:48:38 pm

While we do not deliver anything for broadcast, we do deliver edits and final files to our clients for them to put on their websites and internal intranets.

"FTP" is like "Quicktime" - it means different things to different people.

A client may say "can you put it on your ftp site?"

I make sure the client(person) has an FTP client(software) BEFORE sending them an FTP address and login - inevitably they will paste the ftp address into Internet Explorer - without the ftp:// nothing happens, and even with ftp:// there is no guarantee FTP is allowed on their firewall.

FTP to many corporate folks means a web-based way to download files.

So manage expectations - make sure you and the recipient are talking apples and apples (the fruit, not the computer).

Thus, we have a web-based download system (we access via FTP for upload, downloads are via website) - our IT genius wrote a php file that automatically shows the contents of any folder on the server (within the httpdocs folder that is), even subfolders. If you want, you can add text information and a title to the php file in a text entry area, and we sometimes add a logo for our company or the client, just to remind them what they are looking at.

We also maintain an internal FTP server for uploads FROM clients (logos, PPT files, videos etc) and downloads to clients if they need a file that would be too big to download via a website. Also, since our FTP server is down the hall and our web server is in Arizona, it is faster for us to upload files to FTP vs web download location. But it depends upon the application, and most importantly, as stated above, the client's ability to access and download files.

Seems like this will be an interesting forum.

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer


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Bob ZelinRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:34:47 pm

Mark writes -
Sounds to me like an opportunity for the encoding hardware makers to promulgate a single standard, which would grow the market bigger and faster than this mish-mash of formats.

Mark - there is a single standard. It's called Telestream. Let me explain real life to you. People want to do this FOR FREE. They don't want to buy Flip Factory. They don't want to buy Episode. They want to do it FOR FREE. If I had the budget to get a Flip Factory, I would not be posting this crap on Creative Cow. The "big boys" all use Telestream - end of story. But the very nature of our wonderful business, is that everyone is looking for "the cheapest way I can do this, that will still work" - and if there is an MPEG2 encoder built into your software already - then "lets use it !". Hense, the problems.

Anyway, where is the damn Digital Delivery forum - I will be on there every day.


bob Zelin



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Mark UnderkoflerRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Aug 20, 2010 at 11:24:22 pm

I've got many of the same observations I've seen in this new forum. I do not have stellar luck with DG. Their "account executives" seem to be very junior and have a very limited knowledge of the process. I've submitted spots to DG only to have them rejected, then approved, then rejected again. It is as though someone looks away when a reject light comes on with an automatic "screening" device. It seems as though that "device" wakes up in a new world every day.

I dealt with the DG operations center in Tulsa that looked at rejected spots and said, "oh those are fine, I don't know why they were rejected - they're fine."

Plus, unless I'm a moron (which is entirely possible) there is no software that lets you view the DG encode you've made in their strange 720 x 512 Video News Release format mpeg2. At least I haven't found anything that will play it.

I had HD spots that I released in Pittsburgh and was appalled at the various formats these major station WERE accepting and WERE NOT accepting. There needs to be a standard. Period. It's insane to have so many formats and frame sizes. TV's have pretty much standardized on 1080p. Seems that the TV manufacturers decided to use a single standard. No can't we?

PS. I've had luck with a company called Hula Media Exchange. They claim to have as large of base as DG (I can't verify). But the guys there will bust their butts to get your spot to where it needs to go. Service. Something DG just doesn't have. I'd probably send all my stuff to DG if they'd provide a sane encoder and not have a website traffic system that was obviously designed by people that never use it. It is counter-intuitive and difficult to use - requiring you to enter information countless times and build groups etc, etc.

Mark Underkofler
Vertigo Post Productions
Dallas Texas



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Jeff StrachanRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Oct 28, 2010 at 7:53:59 pm

Our station has DG Fastchannel, Extremereach, and Mijonet.

the biggest problem is with Mijo who will send an e-mail that a spot is ready and when we look for it, nope, not there. They will claim up and down that it was sent out to all stations yesterday and later discover that oops they missed us somehow.
Mijo also does not arrange the spots on the server by date they were downloaded.

At least with Extremereach I can go and force a download myself.
they were also obviously hungry to get as many stations on board when they were starting up. We are very small yet they took the time to give us all the support we needed to be using their service delivery. That impressed me.

DG is usually on top of any issues like this and often calls us to let us know that there was a problem in trying to upload a spot to us(usually a modem/ISP issue) wheras Mijo seems oblivious when that occurs.

We also have DG's Pathfire for full length show downloads but we have not used it now for a year. This is a scheduled satellite download and they keep moving to different sat's. I have one, fixed, dish to use for this and its a real pain to have to re-aim it twice a year because CBS or Fox decides to change sat feeds.
we get all our shows now from Global TV's Canlink feeds or CTV's Red,green,and blue national feeds.


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Todd TerryRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Oct 28, 2010 at 8:49:41 pm

All I can say is that, at least here, digital delivery is still a big headache.

Over the last two weeks we've sent out boatloads of files to a number of television stations and cable systems. We're hot-n-heavy in political season, and with election day less than a week away we're churning out spots by the pound.

We're not using DGF or any other third party, we're doing individual FTP uploads to the various outlets.

I will say that here inside our building it's working flawlessly. We're making mpeg files that look good, and since we upgraded our internet connection we can usually upload a file (usually about 90MB) in the two-to-four minute neighborhood. It's finally faster than making a dub.

BUT...

It's at this point that the wheels fall off the bus. The standard MO is still to do the upload, send a confirmation email if requested, and follow the recipient's FTP instructions exactly... then just sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Usually anywhere from three to five times....

"Did you do that upload yet?"
"What did you call it?"
"Did you put it where it was supposed to go?"
"Are you sure you used the right folder?"
"We can't find it."
"Sorry, again where did you put it?"

...and then finally the last phone call...

"Never mind. We found it. It was where it was supposed to be, I think the production or traffic people were just overlooking it."

This happens here at least four out of five uploads. At minimum.

We've even had our ad agency clients tell us, "After you do the upload to such-and-such, you may get a few phone calls. They can never find spots." It seems to be the accepted norm.

I think for the last few decades, when things were delivered on tape, there was at least some kind of protocol at each station for shepherding a tape through once it was delivered. Now with file delivery, it still seems to be a total crapshoot.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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John PerezRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:43:36 am

You should check out these guys http://www.adstream.com.

They specialise in (amongst other related things) storing and distributing TV content to broadcasters and the post industry, they can do this ALL round the world.

As well as their online based services have a turbo charged stand-alone file delivery system called nVerge which is reasonably priced, very quick and 110% secure.

I've used them in the past and was very impressed.



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James BasiliRe: Following up re: digital delivery
by on Oct 14, 2011 at 9:40:11 pm

It's been about a year since the last post on this thread. I'm curious if people feel the landscape has changed a lot since then. In the thread, people mentioned using:

DG
Extreme Reach
YouSendIt
Hula Media Exchange
Adstream
Digital Rapids
Dropbox

And others, not to mention a variety of FTP configurations.

Some I've heard of that weren't mentioned are SpotGenie and EZSpot (from On The Spot Media).

That was a year ago. What's going on today?

Or like Tim said in the first post, "Who's using digital delivery? For what? To whom? Who have you used? What'd you think?"


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