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Old July 7th, 2010, 12:45 AM   #1
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International Audio track A&B

Apologies if this has been covered before. My search did not yield any results.

I have to quote for a final delivery of a video with "an international track A&B". Now I kind of know that this would mean that Narration is on ?Left? channel and ambient / music / sound effects etc on right channel?

or is it the other way around? or am I completely wrong? Allow me to tap into your infinite wisdom here at DVinfo.

Any help / explanation will be greatly appreciated.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 03:28 AM   #2
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Hi, Bjorn.................

This may very well be a stupid question, but would it be completely out of order to ask your client what they mean by "an international track A&B"?

I've never heard of it (but then, this is not my speciality) and, obviously, you, the provider, aren't too sure either.

If the client can't answer the question, then, how the heck can you be expected to provide it?

Bounce this straight back to them in case this is a "I've heard the term, we'd better ask for it" situation (which no one has a clue really means).


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Old July 7th, 2010, 10:04 AM   #3
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"an international track A&B".
Never heard that terminology. Ask the producers.
I would assume split track, Dialog/Narration/Voices on one track, Music & Effects on the other.
I always put Dialog on Left-1; M&E on Right-2. I don't know any standard... with two tracks how hard could be to 'find' the dialog.
Lately I've also been submitting poly-track file for more flexibility on the foreign language end.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #4
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Chris.... I would have bounced back the question to them but seeing that I had until noon today to bid for a production (several other did too I suppose and the client only requested me to submit my quote 2 days ago),
I agreed to deliver to an "international A&B whatever track as stipulated.

So there was actually no time to make that inquiry.Should I win this bid, I would then have to ask them what exactly they want. But if I can in the meantime educate myself then I can wipe that vacant look of my face?

Rick.... You are spot on with "more flexibility on the foreign language". I once had to deliver a short video for UNICEF and they had the exact same requirements. But I can for the life of me not remember all the details.
It is basically as you say: keep narration on track 1 and ambient on track 2.
Dialog / voices / narration on one track.... In other words narration ONLY on one track. All interviews/music/SFX/ambient on track2.

But here's the question: Is there an international agreed upon standard? (for once!!)

I've scoured the web and found guidelines stating that "STEREO narration should be on left track" Now how on earth are you getting a stereo track on left channel??? Hilarious! a mono stereo track LOL
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Old July 7th, 2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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Maybe Jay Rose can offer a definitive answer?
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Old July 7th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #6
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I've never heard the term either.

The only reason you'd provide a track with Narr on tk1 (left) and music/fx mixed on tk2 (right) is if someone else is going to replace the English narr with their own ethnic dialogue track.

When Aust changed over to decimal currency we got the contract to produce all the other language versions of the Govt. video, about 60 and we worked out a procedure to do it. Took months we made heaps of bucks and got other similar work for the next 10yrs.

So if you're producing the video, watch out that's a real minefield, eg: Mandarin takes twice as long to read as English. I'd try and find out what other languages the client intends to have it translated into. That'd be a start and it'd sound like you're into it.

Cheers.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #7
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Bit O/T but here's another trick I'll throw in here.

Getting ethnic language translation and recording work can bring in way more bucks than the original English version.

Because of our location to the East it became huge business for us but occasionally a new producer at one of our clients, wanting to make an impression with his/her boss, would say to me ...

'Oh this time we're not going to do the 15 language translation versions .. we're going to do subtitles'

I learnt to reply 'Oh what a pity, so your audiences won't see the wonderful pictures you spent thousands of dollars producing'.

Worked nearly every time.
Cheers.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #8
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"'Oh what a pity, so your audiences won't see the wonderful pictures you spent thousands of dollars producing'. " That one will end up in my favorites book!! LOL

I think when the time comes I'll just do as you say and dump narration on left channel and everything else on the right channel.

It's a bit of a s***t one because all sound effect panned from left to right and other audio surround whizzes will be lost!

Ahh well.... Life goes on...

Many Thanks for all your input. If ever someone finds the "international" recipe please let know. Or should we as DVinfoers create a new standard?
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Old July 8th, 2010, 10:03 PM   #9
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in the world of broadcast, the "international" track or mix would be devoid of any commentary or dialog, but still contain all other elements of the primary mix. the intent is to have a track that is easily re-voiced into another language.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 05:21 AM   #10
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Did they specify a delivery format and or any dolby encoding perimeters?

For Example... Using Dolby E encoding a 5.1 surround mix can fit on 2 audio tracks.
A D5 master gives you 8 audio channels to work with, while HDCam SR gives you 12 audio channels,
which would allow a complete discrete 5.1 mix as well as 4 alt language audio channels.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 02:13 PM   #11
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It makes sense what Greg says. Why should there be any narration if whoever wants to re-voice it? Hmmm..
David - Nope the didn't specify any delivery format. Just plain a request to master to "International A&B track".

But somehow I get the feeling that I shouldn't worry too much about it. Again Thanks for all you input.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #12
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As Greg says I would also say that this is a stereo M+E track for international delivery.

A/B is an alternative terminology for Lt/Rt and as we know an international track is so that it can be re-voiced into different languages so a music and effects track is what is required.

Also note that different music may be required for international delivery due to rights clearance etc.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Björn Rehder View Post
It makes sense what Greg says. Why should there be any narration if whoever wants to re-voice it? Hmmm..
In the early days mostly we provided an English narrative track as a double check for the ethnic translator and a guide for their voice person in other countries.

But there were some hilarious tracks we had translated back into English .. wrong translations and incorrect pronunciations are still rife. It takes more time to fix it and stuffs up the playing schedules.

So we found over the years it's better to have full control and complete all those jobs with finished tracks for all countries, then do all the video copies here.

It takes a team of folk to do it. One to do the translation, another person to check it, the narrator then back to the check person. To save time it's better to have the check person at the session. Finding good people and keeping track of them takes a lot of effort but it's great business.

A lot of music is original and we'd pay for world rights for everything, expensive at the outset but cheaper in the long run through not having to keep logs of the stuff.
Cheers.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #14
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So let me add a few more points to this. Keep in mind that I mix broadcast and this may or may not apply to anything here-but for the sake of discussion...

First, Bjorn...ASK THE CLIENT. It's their show, and they should set the requirements, not a bunch of us verbosing about what we think it should be. :-) I always say there is no such thing as a stupid question, hopefully your client will appreciate this. At least you have an idea of what to ask about now.

Secondly, the assumption of whether the track should be mono/stereo/surround perturbs me. Especially using Dolby-E, a sync and monitoring mess unless you REALLY need to use it, and not everybody is setup to decode it. Anyhow, these specs should be handed down by the client, period. Now if they don't specify that is another story...

Even in broadcast, the "international mix" definition varies according to who I am mixing for. For example, ESPN requires everything delivered in a stereo format, and international means no commentary, but DOES include in vision interviews. They also prefer either SRS Circle surround or DTS Neural surround to generate that stereo mix. In their world, the international mix is stereo also, and it is literally re-voiced on the fly by the various international entities, while listening to the english mix as a guide track. CBS on the other hand requires 5.1 mixes on their shows, but will accept stereo as long as they know ahead of time. They don't want ANY english in the international mix. We try to generate a 5.1 main mix for domestic when possible, and a English-less 5.1 or stereo mix for international.

Another good example is NBC's golf shows. They keep to 8 channels of audio on the satellite, and output 5.1 domestic (6 channels), then use an 8 channel Dolby-E stream (2 channels) containing stereo program, stereo international, stereo golf efx only, and announce only. From a technical standpoint it's cool that they get 14 channels in the space of 8, but if you can't decode the E (and i'd say most of the international clients CANNOT) you are SOL for anything other than the domestic mix. Also the Dolby-E tracks are three frames late after the decode and then not in lip sync with the video. Glad I don't get involved with that...

Again, each client in my world has VERY specific delivery requirements, but all are happy to let us know what they expect in advance. Just ask...
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Old July 14th, 2010, 03:24 PM   #15
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In sports ob's it would mean you keep the speech if you see the speaker for example. For instance when the manager is interviewed. So it is not an M&E.
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