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Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US

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Stephen OngBroadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:46:54 pm

One of my clients has approached me to work on a broadcast piece for US transmission.
I am UK based and work in 2D illustration and animation which is largely been distributed via web.

I've spoken to the US client and made him aware of the fact that i have no experience creating broadcast content.

I was wondering if anyone could give a bit of advice here, am apprehensive of mis-leading my client but don't know enough about broadcast myself, so want to nip it in the bud early and check if it's possible for me to take this project.

From my limited knowledge of broadcast (googling) I believe I'd need to ensure my frame rate and resolution within my animations is correct for US broadcast, as I'm from a web background I tend to use 24 or 30, but am I right in thinking 29.97 is correct and 1920 x 1080 is still an ok res for the TV ad?

That's the first amateur question out of the way!

Next I'm assuming we would need to get right is the colour,
I'll be working with a brand colour palette but am aware some colours like 100% white, aren't suitable for broadcast. Is it my responsibility to get this right or are we able to get a US broadcast colourist to correct in post after delivering the lossless animation in the right res and frame rate?

And finally, Is there anything else I've overlooked? (probably!)

Am aware this might be an absolute minefield, but I'm not technical minded and don't want to turn it down due to technicalities, the client loves the style of my work so will happily pay to get it fixed up and ready to go.

Thanks in advance!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 6:52:47 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:00:24 pm

Relax. It's not that tough to get the AE stuff right. Take the job. But know that the AE work is just part of the solution! First, you need to accumulate some basic information to do the job properly the first time.

You need to find out what you are expected to DELIVER. Who will receive your work? A colorist? A program distributor? A UK editor? A local American television station?

What are the delivery specifications for your work? Each of the above will have different specs. about codec, frame rate, horizontal & vertical dimensions and media container.

You may find it worthwhile to find a UK-based production house to get the delivery specifications right. They'll have the proper transcoding hardware / software, can fix video & chroma levels, audio levels (this WILL have audio, correct?), etc. Just figure it into your bill. The client pays you for your expertise. The client is expecting a new area of expertise. So buy some expertise about the USA in the UK.

But to get you started, here's something you can take to the bank. If you work at 1920x1080 and 59.94 frames/second, you can't go wrong. You can convert such work to anything that is broadcast on this side of the pond. It's good even if there is some editing to be done in the UK; they'd have to use USA frame rates.

Here are some potential pitfalls, which may change some of the advice above: who IS doing the audio? Who's doing any necessary shooting? Do they know about USA frame rates? Will there be UK-based editing required? Who's doing it? Who is the UK producer for the project? Does this person have any experience in USA delivery?

I sort of rambled in this post, but I hope you find it worthwhile.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Stephen OngRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:19:29 pm

Thanks,
Good start, a slight relief!

I should say my client is a freelance Creative Director delivering to his client, so he will be writing the scripts, he has a writing background in advertising, so non-technical. It's very open as in his client corresponds with myself too, so we all know what's going on. I am purely creative, so I stick to the animation and design and try not get too involved in production, due to time, and to me producing is my idea of hell...
so I really want to avoid doing a lot of what you've mentioned (handling the colouring in UK etc.)

So in that sense It's more making sure my basics are right here, which thank you is exactly what you've answered with that frame rate part. Audio wise they are unsure on stock or a score at the moment, but I wont be hiring / paying for that. Essentially I am just animation, no production is going through me.

Then your other points considered maybe we need to hire a US producer who is experienced in TV to work this out his side and ensure we're hiring the right people over there. If I'm good supplying a 59.97 1920 x 1080 and someone can be paid to fix it up over there then that suits me fine.

Fortunately as well the project is full animation no live action, it's a 2D stylised illustration piece, so the frame rate my end is just determined by me, no headaches from footage. Audio we might be getting done by a guy i know but we might.

Thanks again for your answer, very helpful.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:33:51 pm

Just one error: the frame rate is 59.94 and NOT 59.97. Those fractions make a difference.

Assuming you will deliver to your guy 1920x1080 at 59.94 frames/sec, know that this is a fictional frame rate / resolution combination, but that it can be converted to the actual resolution & frame rate with absolutely NO loss of image quality, no matter what the final specs may be. Furthermore, it's a dead-simple conversion.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Stephen OngRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:37:07 pm

Sticks '59.94' post it note to monitor...

Thanks again!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 8:47:24 pm

Ooh, ooh, one more thing....

It concerns levels: video levels, and more importantly, color saturation levels. Most video editing applications will automatically fix whites that are too white and blacks that are too black. But what about reds that are too red? Not so good... and red is the prime offender.

You're probably familiar with 8-bit RGB color. If you can keep your reds under 234-0-0 you'll have no problems. If you mix in some blue & green to that 234, no problem either.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Stephen OngRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 8:50:51 pm

Thanks this was one thing I thought might be able to be corrected in post by a colour editor over the other end but maybe it's best I keep an eye on it. We're using illustrator vectors and i know there is a red in the brand palette, but i'm pretty sure it's quite a dull red.

Does the same apply to white and black, I had heard this before?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:02:32 pm

White and black aren't as bad. As mentioned earlier, a good video editing application takes care of levels problems automatically.

Even so, when I make white text, I make it 234-234-234. Other people at my TV station do not. I guess I'm a little anal-retentive on that one: hey, it still looks white, y'know?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Broadcast After Effects Animation (no clue) UK > US
by on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:05:55 pm

One other thing to bear in mind, Stephen, is the CMYK to RGB conversion. You said that you're working with Illustrator vectors, and that raised the red flag for me.

When you convert graphics from CMYK to RGB, there is always a color shift. You're going from subtractive to additive color mode, so I've always found that the best way to avoid the client going nuts over the color shift, is to either have the client do the conversion (if they have an in-house art department or and agency), and decide what looks good, or do the conversion yourself, and get the approval on the colors before any animation is done.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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