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Formatting Video for Broadcast TV

Sep 23, 2013 12:59 PM

Hello, wise and knowledgeable Adobe community.  I used to work as an engineer in broadcast TV back in the day, about 20 years ago.  Back then, we handled mostly beta and 3/4 inch analog videotape, though a digital cart machine was installed in my later years.  When we would receive tapes from production houses or bring down programs from satellite, everything had bars and tone at the head and each clip had a title slate and countdown.  This was so we could align the machines to output the correct color and audio levels.

 

Now, I produce videos for a governent agency and everything is digital.  We've begun producing pieces for release to local news outlets and when I do I'm sure to put all of the normal alignment features at the head of the file and properly slate all content.  However, I noticed that media submitted for broadcast from the Governor's press office has none of these features and simply begins right at the video.  I questioned my methods, but I also noticed that what they labled as "high resolution television quality" was very pixelated and not HD at all, so I began to question theirs instead.

 

Since I haven't worked at a TV station in quite a while, my question is: do broadcast media outlets still expect bars, tone, and slates to be included with video files, even if they're digital?  I know that when I worked in recording studios, the analog tape machines needed alignment, but the digital machines that soon came on the scene did not.  What's the proper way to format a digital video package intended for release to broadcast television outlets?

 

I want to make sure I'm not dating myself with old methodology, so any insight would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 
Replies
  • joe bloe premiere
    4,391 posts
    Dec 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2013 1:22 PM   in reply to Lukabrazzi
    ...my question is: do broadcast media outlets still expect bars, tone, and slates to be included with video files, even if they're digital?

    Bars & tone, no.

    Slates w/ISCI code, yes.

    (DG Systems / Extreme Reach)

     

    The encoding and time layout requirements

    vary depending on the media distributor.

    In the eight years I have been producing and delivering broadcast media

    I have never submitted a digital ad with bars & tone.

     

    For example:

    DG requires 1 sec. black, 5 sec. slate, 2 sec. black, ad, 2 sec black.

    Extreme Reach requires 5 sec. slate, 2 sec. black, ad.

     

    The best bet is get the spec sheet from the media distributor.

     

     

    A quiz:

    ...media submitted for broadcast from the Governor's press office

    Which State's Governor?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2013 4:53 PM   in reply to Lukabrazzi

    I completed a couple of PSAs recently.  The local TV station wanted none of that, not even black before.  Just the exact :30 of the spot.

     
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  • joe bloe premiere
    4,391 posts
    Dec 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2013 5:23 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    It varies... I have done that too.

     

    The official broadcast media distributors are much more strict.

    I prefer it that way... they have QC in place based on

    their specs, and distributing directly to stations or directly

    to cable providers can be hit and miss on format, QC, security etc.

     

    Especially if you are distributing to multiple outlets in multiple markets.

    One local station... meh.

     
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  • joe bloe premiere
    4,391 posts
    Dec 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 24, 2013 9:29 AM   in reply to Lukabrazzi

    Guess what!

    There is no pre-roll required for cueing tapes any more.

    For the most part, there are no more 'tape ops' setting up cart machines.

    Instead, 99.999% of network affiliates have a digital media server.

    Some smaller stations in podunk markets do still require tape,

    but they are very few and far between.

    The media distributor manages those dubs from digital file to tape,

    and delivers the appropriate formats to the stations in question.

    All of the information regarding who needs what tape format is

    provided to them by the ad agency in charge of placing the media buy.

    Another advantage broadcast media distributors provide is explicit

    documentation of delivery and station receipt to the placing agency.

    No one is left wondering about whether the ad is properly formatted,

    or whether it has been delivered on time to the broadcaster's server.

    All I as the producer / editor need to do is upload a single,

    properly formatted digital file to the media distributor.

     

    If all you are doing is posting press releases for someone

    to either download or ignore, then you can do whatever you

    feel most comfortable with.

     
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  • joe bloe premiere
    4,391 posts
    Dec 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 24, 2013 9:36 AM   in reply to Lukabrazzi

    The pace of technology since has made me a relative geezer at 44!

    Alvin Toffler - Future Shock

     

    The future is now.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 24, 2013 9:38 AM   in reply to joe bloe premiere

    I thought 'now' was now, and the future was always after now. 

     
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  • joe bloe premiere
    4,391 posts
    Dec 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 24, 2013 9:43 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    You gotta read the book (or synopsis) to get it.

     

    Right, Rod?

     
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