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Best Output Settings for TV Commercial..?

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Angela Yuhas
Best Output Settings for TV Commercial..?
on Apr 13, 2010 at 7:34:31 pm

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on here.. I am fairly new to After Effects and am required to make a 30 second commercial entirely of graphics. I've been doing research and it seems that I should find out from individual stations their specs for the output. However, this commercial will be airing on different stations throughout the country. I haven't started the project yet. Is there a format out there that more stations seem to prefer over others?


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Andy George
Re: Best Output Settings for TV Commercial..?
on Apr 13, 2010 at 10:38:17 pm

Hi Angela,

[Angela Yuhas] "Is there a format out there that more stations seem to prefer over others?"

If your shipping around to numerous individual stations (like it sounds) your probably going to be asked to send your spot as NTSC standard Definition.

The most common formats your going to get requests for are Beta Sp, Digi Beta, DV Cam, Mini DV, or DVCPro.
There seems to be a growing number of stations that will also accept a digital delivery via FTP

I have had stations say to me "just make me a DVD" (shudder)
This generally means your talking to a sales person :)
Ask to speak to the person that is actually going to be processing the
spot.

Here is big question you want to explore-
Do you want to make an HD (16:9) spot that will be letterboxed (or center punched)
upon conversion to 4:3 NTSC
or do you need a 4:3 NTSC spot that will not require any conversion before printing?

It's really an aesthetic question more than anything, and a conversation with the client
on the topic will probably be necessary.

Personally, if the client does not have a preference I prefer to make everything HD 1920x1080.
(as large as possible) That way I know Im ready for any scenario, and it will compress beautifully for web if needed. Of course I have a really fast system that can support working in these resolutions so you want to take that in consideration if your working on a laptop.

What the TV station wants does not really play into the codec you use when rendering from AE.
You should always create a master using a lossless codec like animation or prores.
How you print to tape from there really depends on your setup.




-Andy


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Angela Yuhas
Re: Best Output Settings for TV Commercial..?
on Apr 14, 2010 at 1:45:07 pm

Thanks so much! This is exactly what I need to get started.

"Do you want to make an HD (16:9) spot that will be letterboxed (or center punched) upon conversion to 4:3 NTSC"

This is probably pretty basic, but if creating my original at HD 1920X1080, how do I achieve this when printing to mini DV..?


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Andy George
Re: Best Output Settings for TV Commercial..?
on Apr 14, 2010 at 7:00:46 pm

Angela,

There are a couple of ways to go about it.

You could keep it all in AE.
Drop your 1080 comp into a NTSC DV comp.
Then with the 1080 comp selected go to layer>Transform>fit to comp width.
This will scale your spot to the appropriate letter-box

If your center punching you want to scale the spot to fit the comp
height. Of course this will cut of the sides of your video so
you want to plan ahead for that
(like use 4:3 guides in AE on your 16:9 comp so that you know where it will
be cut off when your compositing)

Before you render go into your render settings under time sampeling
and select Field Render: Lower field first. This will give you
an interlaced version of the spot instead of the default progressive.

If you keep your frame rate at 29.97 in your HD comp you wont have
to worry about converting it to 29.97 when you render your NTSC version.

Of course your probably going to have to get it into an editing application
like final cut, Premier, or Avid in order to actually print to tape so all of this
could be done in that respective application as well


-Andy


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