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720P or 1080P?

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Greg Ball
720P or 1080P?
on Dec 19, 2017 at 3:17:37 pm

I'm working on a trade show video for a client and also a series of ad spots for TV. We're only using their footage which is 720 X 480!

I suppose that I can edit on a 720p timeline for the trade show, so at least the footage will be a little larger. There will be lots of picture in picture effects, because I never want the footage to be blown up full screen! ButI'm concerned about the ad spots. Is it safe to deliver those in 720P? Or should they be 1080P?


Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

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Mark Suszko
Re: 720P or 1080P?
on Dec 19, 2017 at 4:20:47 pm

Well it never hurts to ask the station what their tech requirements are. Though it's often hard to get a straight answer, unless you talk directly to someone in Engineering and not sales. Your region may differ but where I am, even if you submit 1080, it's still converted and delivered to the final audience as 720.

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Bob Mark
Re: 720P or 1080P?
on Feb 25, 2018 at 5:35:50 pm

Yes, ask the outlet what there deliverables specs are. I recently did a spot for a cable network and they gave me several options. To my surprise they didn't care about bars and tone.


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Todd Terry
Re: 720P or 1080P?
on Feb 25, 2018 at 6:38:55 pm

[Bob Mark] "To my surprise they didn't care about bars and tone."

This is pretty much the norm these days (99% of what we produce are broadcast commercials, so I deal with this pretty often). In fact, I can't even remember the last time we delivered something with bars, tone, countdown, or slate of any kind. That would have been back in the tape days... and we have racks of decks that haven't even been turned on in years.

Not only do most stations/cable outlets not request bars/slates... a great many of them actually forbid them. Uploading of spots, especially for cable systems, is now a very automated thing... and many/most require, for example, that a 30 second spot is exactly 30 seconds. As in 900 frames. One particular national cable system that we upload to daily will kick back a spot that is 899 frames... or 901 frames. They require it to be right on the money.

And yes, different recipients require different specs... so it's always prudent to find out. We maintain a big "upload bible" which is an electronic document with lots of specs in it. Since upload requirements often change, I leave this document on our server here so anyone in the building can access it and always have the latest version, rather than individuals working off their own personal lists. This master file is a list of every television station and cable outlet that we deliver to (and a few movie theaters), and lists the specs as to whether they prefer 1080 or 720, file type, preferred audio level/type, as well as all of the FTP upload protocols for each. Fortunately I'd say 95% of them or more request exact same specs (usually 1080i upper field first mpeg2 .mpg files) so it's not too difficult, but every now and then there's some rogue station that requires something else.

Always best to check...


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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