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From Post to TV Truck... Oy.

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Phil SmithFrom Post to TV Truck... Oy.
by on Jun 29, 2010 at 10:25:13 pm

OK, first off, I am really unsure if this is the correct forum to be posting this in… usually I would know exactly where to go, but there are so many variables in this that I’m just trying the After Effects forums as a starting point.

Problem: When playing back a show that my team did in 720p, the graphics apparently did not show up title safe in the truck during the broadcast.

Analysis: My workflow in this situation started with After Effects. My assistant and I created a batch of graphics for a 720p barker show for a PPV event. We used the 1280x720 comp in AE CS5, square pix, 59.94 frame-rate. We lined up all of the graphics about 8% inside the SD title-safe guideline shown on the guides.

Once we were done with the graphics, we then brought everything into Final Cut Studio 3, using the 720p timeline in FCP that matched our settings, and matched with the footage. Everything good so far. Brought up guides, everything showed title-safe.

Now, when I print in my shop, I always make sure to hand the client BOTH an XDCAM master (printed on a PDW-F1600 in native 720p / settings are HD422-720-59.94p), and I also print the SD “crop” that passes through the XDCAM’s SDI port to a DigiBeta (M-2000) as well. This way, if my client isn’t educated enough to know which master to use, some broadcast savvy person along the way can help them with which one they need, and they can have an SD for any lower-end deliveries they may do.

So, jump forward to the event. I get a call from the Producer of the show the day of the event saying: “These graphics on this aren’t title safe!” They are going off the edge of the screen!”

I’m stunned. In a panic, I go back and re-check everything. Play it out again… everything “looks” perfect.

I call him back and ask him which version they are running in the truck: He says they were given a DigiBeta to run it off of (which checked out here at the bay, I watched the crop and the HD both). I asked him if he had the XDCAM version and he said he’d try to find it… calls me back about 20 minutes later and says that the XDCAM - HAS THE SAME ISSUE!!!

I’m flabbergasted. I’ve delivered over 50 shows before and NEVER once had anyone tell me there was an issue.

The only way that I’ve been able to reproduce what they are claiming happened in the truck is to do this: take the 720 format video and drop it into a 1080 sequence, it will stretch all of the graphics out to the edges. It THEN causes the graphics to go outside of title safe, because it pulls them out while stretching video.

Fortunately, I know one of the EVS guys working the truck, and he tells me that all of the decks in the truck for EVS were HDCAM set to 1080i. Does that mean that the “format” of the truck was 1080, and that my theory is at least plausible?

Sorry for being so long on the explanation, thanks in advance for any help.

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Dave LaRondeRe: From Post to TV Truck... Oy.
by on Jun 29, 2010 at 10:48:37 pm

Whew! That WAS a long explanation! But here's a pretty simple response.

I'll bet the root of the problem lies in the pixel aspect ratio. You made 1280x720 graphics, a pixel aspect ratio of 1. The folks in the truck, however, needed 960x720 graphics with a pixel aspect ratio of 1.33; if I'm not mistaken, 720 XDCam is not 1280x720, but 960x720.

If the text went way beyond title safe only horizontally, I have five whole American dollars that say pixel aspect ratio was the problem.

It would also be interesting to know if they fed your graphics from the HD decks into some sort of hard-disk playback unit, and things got screwed up there. Why would they do that? To free up the HD deck for some other use.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Phil SmithRe: From Post to TV Truck... Oy.
by on Sep 17, 2010 at 1:37:07 am

Thought I would update this forum with my findings...

I was absolved of any wrong doing. Turned out that my client failed to mention one VERY important thing:

At some point after they received my masters, they realized that they wanted to make a couple more dubs... and since they felt I was "too expensive"... they "found a buddy" and had him copy the footage off to his final cut system and then make dubs from there.

The tapes that they took to the truck were mistakenly NOT my originals, they were the dubs. And it appears as if they were placed in an incorrect sized sequence, etc... and so on.


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