Tech - TVC Delivery

So as of this post I've Delivered THREE TVCs (Television Commercials) for air.

This a laborious as hell process and dives real deep into some stupid tech bullshit.

Thought I might share my experiences so that someone may one day not have to go through what I have. So for the sake of solidarity I'm going to go through delivery and not production, this will cover all the specs required for Australian delivery though Dubsat; though the process is roughly the same regardless though some of the numbers will vary.


Firstly you're going to be provided with a list of technical specifications and formats, if your not... FIND ONE. This is gonna be your only way to get through. A lot of these things, at least to me are going to sound foreign, for example Loudness, measured in LKFS.

So the things that will always catch you out. The loudness, which is bullshit, and the Harding test, which is super bullshit.

Loudness is an audio measure that, to my understanding, measures the impact of a track. It's a combination of certain levels and the overall DB. Measured in LKFS or LUFS, but both of these units are the same thing, it's like Celsius and Centigrade.

For Dubsat they want your Integrated loudness to be at -24.0 LKFS, this means no higher than -23 and no lower than -25. Now right now you might be thinking, how do I set this in my NLE. Fact is, you don't. At the moment none of the big three support loudness monitoring. A quick google search will tell you that the way to measure this is with a Dolby Digital deck. Now I know one guy who has one of these, it costs a fortune and the guy is an audio engineer. A somewhat longer google search will lead you to a bunch of costly plugins for Premier and Final Cut. A long ass google search will lead you to a program called "Loudness Change". This software is a godsend. The free version will only treat 3MB wav files (About 15s) but this isn't a problem if you cut up the audio, and the full version is only $30. Bought it instantly. All you need to do is drag the audio into the program, set you Target Integrated Loudness and hit render. Brilliant.

So that's Loudness taken care of. Now for the other bullshit.

The Harding test is a test developed to test for changes in Chroma and Gamma to protect from light flashes known to cause epileptic fits. How to fix this is not so straight forward. Almost all broadcasters will test the footage with the Harding test. There's no easy way to test it yourself and as far as I'm concerned it's just a way for the stations to get more money. So if you send off your clip and it fails, you have two choices. ONE remake the whole bloody thing to not include any quick cuts or drastic lighting fluctuation, or TWO pay someone a tonne of money to run a filter over your video to change the values. The second is Ideal because you'll never notice the changes made but somehow it now passes. Kinda why I think its bullshit. 


Aside from this you just need to meet Specifications. Maybe one day I'll write a tutorial on how to do this step by step but for now, I'll just quickly explain the specs one by one.


For this example they want a ProRes422(HQ)
This is the compression of your video, ProRes is a low compression format and HQ tends to be around 220 Mbps for a 1920x1080 video

This codec is exclusive to mac but you can get around it with ffmpeg. I'll write a blog on this soon.



This is the extension essentially. eg .mov or .mp4 or .avi
In this case they want a .mov. This is fairly standard for ProRes files and is quicktime's native extension.



This gets a little confusing. So in this example they want a 720 x 576 file. Easy right. Wrong they also want it at 4:3 which is not 720 x 576. This is where pixel aspect ratio come into play. 1:1 pixels we're all use to are not the right aspect for this application so you'll need to change it to PAL aspect. Strangly enough there are different flavours of pal. Dubsat ask for 1.067 non-sqaure aspect. However Premier and Media Encoder will only export at 1.0933 for PAL. Strangely enough this didn't seem to matter. Just use that it'll be fine. Depending on whether the TVC is to air in SD or HD will depend on weather it will have to be delivered in 4:3 and be stretched on air or delivered int 16:9 natively.



Loudness aside this is a pretty easy export, set your output to 48kHz at 16-bit and you're sweet.



That was a wall of text. I should note that most of those specs are for SD delivery but as long as you follow the Specifications provided it shouldn't be an issue.


Time for a link dump.