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Most Common Broadcast Compression

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Dave SimpsonMost Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 1, 2008 at 3:57:47 pm

Hi All,

I recently completed a Pro Bono Ad for Big Brotheres & Big Sisters Canada, who are now trying to distribute it to as many Broadcast TV Stations as possible. To save Tape costs they want to try to put the Ads on an FTP Site to be downloaded. Coming out of Media 100 i what compression settings would be the most agreeable. This is just going to be used in Canada.

Any Suggestions are most welcome.


Dave Simpson

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Floh PetersRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:01:50 pm

I doubt that many TV stations will bother with having to download and convert clips from an FTP site. You could try to use e.g. MPEG2, but I would guess that sending out BetaSP tapes will be much more efficient.

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Dave SimpsonRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:09:48 pm

Hi Floh, That's kind of what I told them, as I had made them a Beta Cam Sp Master and a DVD, but they want to try a digital file over an FTP. I'll re-advise them that tape is likely going to get them way more coverage since the Broadcasters are already doing them a favour and running the ad for free as a public service, they may not be so keen if they have to drop a file into their NLE and mess with it.

As always, Thanks for the Speedy reply

Dave Simpson

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Mark VernonRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 11, 2008 at 11:24:56 am

Hi Guys

I am amazed to read that you guys don't have a transfer system via ftp in america.

I am in australia and we have a great system called "Dubsat" ( We can basically upload all our commericals as mpeg2 files via ftp, login and create bookings for a single or multiple commercials to be sent to practically any broadcaster (including certain cable channels) in the country.

We also get instant file transfer to our commerical ratings and classifications approval service.

We then get confirmations of delivery and can login to view past commercials that we have uploaded etc.

Do you have nothing like this in the states?
Would be interested to know.


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Michael Todd ThorpeRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:26:45 pm

Very interested to see what comes of this thread... I've been trying to come up with a plan to do this on a local level for dubs between stations... I think whatever you do you'll need to import into an NLE to get it into your station's system. The native format of the station's server would be the next bet, but then there are many options there... I've considered going with outputting to the Apple H.264 format at best quality, 30 or 29.97 frames as an interchange format and put spots up on an island server to avoid MIS issues...

Michael Todd Thorpe

2 M100i's, 1 M100HDe, 1 M100HDx,

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Marc MorelRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 1, 2008 at 6:40:45 pm


Have you tried talking to a couple of TV station TDs and ask them if it's at all feasible? I work for a Crown Corp here in Ottawa and when I mention to potential "partners" the non-profit aspect of certain projects, people usually go out of their way to help out.


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Chris ClephaneRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 4, 2008 at 5:32:09 am


In the areas/markets we distribute to,
SEVERAL stations and cable companies have attempted the FTP spot delivery route.

Long story short, the quality and overall experience has been miserable.
(We still send Betas).

I personally feel there are two main reasons for this:

1) MPEG-2 and DV seem to be the most often requested standards. 4:2:0 and quality already suffers a hit. Don't argue with does. Especially in light of the fact that the received files are often then re-encoded or converted AGAIN to meet the final spec of the playback system.
Ironically, nobody ever seems to request or specify bitrates or field orders...they simply say MPEG-2 or DV.

This --more often than not-- results in the most common problem I see with FTP delivered spots: improper field order (usually a reversal which results in unnatural motion and severe flicker.). Depending on final delivery (cable/direct TV...which often use MPEG-2) macroblocking and mosquito noise are magnified through the delivery re-compression.

2) This lack of standards creates a problem that is amplified by (in my opinion) the staffing of those assigned to receive these files.
From my experience....most of the people involved in this process are IT people...not video people. They often know nothing about the files/formats that they are dealing with.
(Oh they know how to rip DVD's...and make the clock on the VCR stop flashing...and maybe even capture some DV video through a firewire port.) But by and large (from my experience) they know nothing about video PRODUCTION....and that is a serious problem.
Again, not to beat a dead horse...Field orders get reversed. Audio is often non-syncronous. LEVELS...oh..don't even take me there. 0IRE vs. 7.5 IRE setup. Mention simple video concepts like that and most IT guys look at you like you are from Mars.
Even our beta tapes suffer at the hands of IT people who administer playback systems for regional cable companies. Most often they dont even have a waveform monitor to check levels. They just hit play and encode right into their (Osprey, Firewire DV or other) video card to MPEG-2 and roll it from the playback system. Again, with no attention paid to setup levels, the calibration of their deck or chroma levels.... This lack of proper setup/prep-work shows when the spots hit the air.

Not to get on my soapbox...but we (as the producers/content creators) are fighting a LOSING battle right now in this arena. And in my opinion, it is because IT people are handling playback of our spots.

Sorry this was more of a rant than an answer, but I really wanted to bring to light some of the issues that have significantly affected us (negatively) in the past few years due to IT based workflows and spot delivery.

Good luck.


I edit video. I post sometimes.
I fix things. I eat marshmallows.
I play drums. I drink scotch.
I like TV.

Done typing now.

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Norm WrightRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:20:26 pm

We have encountered the same problems Chris speaks of when dealing with TWC's regional operating center in Texas.

Norm Wright
Frink, Inc.
Austin, TX

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Michael Todd ThorpeRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:31:09 pm

Oh, man, can you make room on your soapbox for me? I agree with everything you said, but let me add that I'm starting to see DVD's being sent as dubs in our market, too. I first noticed it in spots coming from out of market, namely Fresno, and come to find out DVD spot dubs seem to be a pretty common delivery format. Now, I'm not talking about a data delivery of a spot in some native NLE codec, I mean a DVD dub to play on home dvd players... not that I'm against DVD dubs, I do send them for client approval, but a spot dub they do not make for the same #1 and #2 reasons you stated above...

Having said all this, there has to be some common file format that can be used for FTP delivery in this day and age... I mean, Beta may still be an acceptable delivery format but that's gonna end soon. I mentioned in a previous thread that we have a couple BetaSP decks still, but when they die - that's it. No more. And with the Feb 2009 move to digital and HDTV, what are you gonna use to send out spots? And as to the IT people, we as producers and content creators may have to find a way to educate or circumvent that step in the process... that or watch your hard work pixelate before your eyes...


Michael Todd Thorpe

2 M100i's, 1 M100HDe, 1 M100HDx,

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Dave SimpsonRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 5, 2008 at 4:00:07 pm

Hi All,

Thanks so much for all of the information. I spoke with the client and after giving them my concerns about this they still want to try sending the spot via FTP. We also provided a Beta Cam Master and DVD and gave them a contact at a duplicator that will give them a good price since they are a charity, so they will have those options as well.

Big Brothers did speak with an Ad Agency they work with and apparently they have had some luck getting spots distributed via FTP, so it will be interesting to see how well that works out. It sure will be nice when a definitive standard becomes a reality.

Thanks again for all of your input.

Dave Simpson

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jeremy RowellRe: Most Common Broadcast Compression
by on Feb 26, 2008 at 6:14:55 pm

I know what you are saying on the DVD dubs here in Bako Michael. I have had to pretty much tell my A.E.'s no on DVD's. I was getting upwards of a dozen a week. Then I have to sort through and see which ones are "broadcast quality". It starts to eat up time that I do not have budgeted. Getting a spot on Beta does not cost my dept any time, as it goes directly to Master Control. Getting it on DVD or from a FTP costs me about five to ten minutes per spot. Multiply that by the number of spots we get each week, and it can really eat into mine and my producers time.

Can your control room download spots?


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