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Forums Broadcasting slate/countdown

  • slate/countdown

     Ed Hurd updated 3 years, 11 months ago 7 Members · 12 Posts
  • Kate Heller-Thomas

    April 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    sorry for the basic question, I did a :30 spot that client wants to use on broadcast now. can someone please tell me what info i need for the slate/countdown? how long it should be up before? do I need to put anything after?

    Thanks

  • Joey Burnham

    April 14, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    bars and tone from 58:30:00 to 59:30:00
    slate from 59:40:00 to 59:50:00
    two pop @ 59:58:00
    program @ 1:00:00:00

    Make sure to include all pertinent information on your slate. (show title, TRT, ISCE, audio config, date of online, etc.)

    Best,
    Joey

  • Brian Wheeler

    April 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    For a :30, you really don’t need all that. We do use the full 1:00 of bars and tone, followed by :05 of slate, :05 black and a :05 black trailer.

    On the slate the most common information is:
    Client
    Title
    Duration
    Date
    Audio format
    Producer
    Editor

    The last 2 are more for your records than anything else. Hope this helps.

    Brian Wheeler

  • Mark Suszko

    April 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    You will want to ask them if a slate and countdown will even matter, because many times in this Brave New World they do not: they are cut off when the spot is loaded onto a server for play-out, and there is just one frame of black before your first frame of the spot. Eventually slates and countdowns will become extinct as we know them now; made irrelevant because the metadata for all that info will be embedded in the spot anyhow.

    Meanwhile if they still roll actual tape, you need color bars and tone THAT DIRECTLY RELATE to the PROGRAM MATERIAL. This is a common newbie error, to just stick on a stored graphic of color bars and a stored file of tone, and not actually take the time to make the levels match between the reference and what it is meant to be referencing. In such cases wrong bars and tone are worse than none at all. I don’t know about back-timing the time code of the spots so that the first frame is all zeroes. Been done for decades but our shipping dubs don’t come out that way and have never been rejected for it in decades. Couldn’t hurt, but again these days I don’t think spots are cued by time code alone any more; they are manually cued to the 2-pop or loaded into a server where a pointer is set to the 2-pop, first frame of video, or the slate is cut off entirely… This “time code starts at zero” thing is more of an issue for the masters of actual programs rather than 30-or 60-second spots, IMO.

    As a courtesy to the tape op, a minute of bars and tone for alignment would be good. Then I put down thirty seconds of slate with alternating right and left channel 1 and 2 tones, a 10-second count down with 10-frame 1-khz beeps at 0db that goes silent at the “2-pop” (the 2 is up for only 15 frames). The last 1.5 seconds of the count are black and silent to the first frame of the actual program.

    Slates vary, but key info would include:

    name of client
    name and ID number of spot
    duration of spot
    Date of creation
    kill date (the do-not-run-after-this-date)
    Is it SD or HD/ 720 or 1080,/anamorphic/paper or plastic/smoking or non-smoking progressive or interlaced, field order, etc.
    audio setup info: stereo, 5.1 surround, mono, SAP track if any
    Closed-captions status if any, and the language
    Name of editor and name of production facility/producer
    Internal routing/reference numbers if any

    You can and should ask the station traffic or engineering departments for their specific requirements, but these above are a good starting point.

  • Chuck Pullen

    April 16, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Just an FYI from a long time master control operator. If you can, try and follow Joey’s formula if your deck supports frame accurate print-to-tape. Don’t try and free roll it if you can’t. There’s nothing worse than a tape that starts at 1:00.03 or worse 00:59.00.28. Also what Mark said is also important. Don’t bother putting bars and tone on a tape unless they are directly related to the video/audio levels. If the operator sees bars and tone, they are going to set it up to it, and if your audio levels or balance doesn’t match that, they will most certainly curse you under their breath 🙂 With most ingest systems you can either cue to the first frame of video or manually enter the timecode. If they see your bars/tone at 58:30 they will probably assume you know what you are doing, and manually enter an in-point of 1:00:00.00 so your video sure better start then. And also, whatever you do, make sure the spot is exactly :30. If it’s :34 it will get rejected, and if its :30.15 they’ll just cut it off.

  • Kate Heller-Thomas

    April 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks all! great o have access to so much information!!!

  • Ann Clark

    May 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Joey (and everybody):

    Seems like there are standards, and yet not standards. And then there are standards that make no sense. 😉

    Recently a client, to whom I sent a broadcast-format spot electronically, wrote back to say the spot was “rejected” and they forwarded some specs that included a spot length of “450, 900, 1350, 1800, 2250, 2700, 3600 frames” — and mine apparently came in at 3541 frames, which included 15 seconds of black at the end.

    This is the first time I’ve had a spot rejected, and I’ve been creating commercials for a number of years. The client finally admitted he was sending the spot to the dreaded Googgle for airing. Previously, I hadn’t had any difficulty with sending files that eventually ended up in their system.

    Since I’m supposedly 59 frames off, I am wondering what they expect. There’s nothing mentioned about how long each part needs to be. Currently, the formula I use is 1 minute bars/tone, 10 second slate, 8 second countdown, 2-pop, 30-second ad, and then 15 seconds of black at the end.

    I could change out the countdown to add 2 seconds, but hey, does this make any sense, anyway? Why not add 2 more seconds of black to the end – or for that matter, 2 seconds of bars/tone? Or, absurdly, why not add 2 seconds to the commercial itself?? 😉 How is it important to have this frame count, when there’s no spec for what is required for each piece? And what’s a 450-frame spot?

    As someone else points out, many times, when the spot is ingested, the leader material is chopped off, leaving 1 black frame at the head of the spot.

    (Mine was a :30 spot — how the heck would a 60-second or a 120-second long-form spot fit in this scenario?)

    Anybody ever work with the Goog? What’s their thing?

    MacPro 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 14GB memory – OSX10.5.8 FCP6

  • Ann Clark

    May 1, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Joey (and everybody):

    Seems like there are standards, and yet not standards. And then there are standards that make no sense. 😉

    Recently a client, to whom I sent a broadcast-format spot electronically, wrote back to say the spot was “rejected” and they forwarded some specs that included a spot length of “450, 900, 1350, 1800, 2250, 2700, 3600 frames” — and mine apparently came in at 3541 frames, which included 15 seconds of black at the end.

    This is the first time I’ve had a spot rejected, and I’ve been creating commercials for a number of years. The client finally admitted he was sending the spot to the dreaded Googgle for airing. Previously, I hadn’t had any difficulty with sending files that eventually ended up in their system.

    Since I’m supposedly 59 frames off, I am wondering what they expect. There’s nothing mentioned about how long each part needs to be. Currently, the formula I use is 1 minute bars/tone, 10 second slate, 8 second countdown, 2-pop, 30-second ad, and then 15 seconds of black at the end.

    I could change out the countdown to add 2 seconds, but hey, does this make any sense, anyway? Why not add 2 more seconds of black to the end – or for that matter, 2 seconds of bars/tone? Or, absurdly, why not add 2 seconds to the commercial itself?? 😉 How is it important to have this frame count, when there’s no spec for what is required for each piece? And what’s a 450-frame spot?

    As someone else points out, many times, when the spot is ingested, the leader material is chopped off, leaving 1 black frame at the head of the spot.

    ALSO – they said the video bit rate was 5.97 Mbps and they wanted 6.0Mbps. Cripes. Compressor made the video (I picked one of the standard output formats), so I don’t know how to make this fit their spec.

    (Mine was a :30 spot — how the heck would a 60-second or a 120-second long-form spot fit in this scenario?)

    Anybody ever work with the Goog? What’s their thing?

    MacPro 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 14GB memory – OSX10.5.8 FCP6

  • Mark Suszko

    May 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    1800 frames divided by 60 equals thirty seconds. So what Google is apparently is asking for is the spot without any slate or countdown or black on head or tail, just the actual frames of the spot. By extension, 450 is a 7 and a half second run time, which is just enough for an ID bumper, like: “Brought to you by Zik-Zak; grab a zack-pack today!” Spots of that length are common on online web videos that are sponsored by someone, like on Comedy Central, Hulu, whatever.

    Google apparently doesn’t want to take the time or energy to trim the counts and and slates off the spot, they are going right into some kind of server.

  • Ann Clark

    May 2, 2010 at 12:44 am

    You could be right that they don’t want the countdown, etc. any more. That would make these arbitrary frame counts make more sense.

    I’ll have to investigate the Goog specs, myself.

    The client is spitting out the error message to us, so that’s basically all I have.

    My feeling is that the client has been uploading the spot themselves on that dumb Goog air time site, and not really understanding what is being asked for.

    This same client already tried uploading a .WMV web video of the spot that we sent them for web-use only (I think they were trying to get away with something). Of course, that was just a small file, 320×240 pixels, and Goog busted them for it.

    So we sent them the full size thing, adding bars, slate, countdown, and all, because in the past that had worked for other people, at least by all reports.

    If I find out something useful, I’ll report back…

    MacPro 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 14GB memory – OSX10.5.8 FCP6

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