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Old August 17th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #1
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Shooting a commercial w/ A1...Betacam SP output?

Hey Folks:

I got the nod to shoot a 30 second commercial spot for local-market Comcast, my first commercial ever (!!). Iíll use my A1, shooting in HDV and editing in 4:3 SD, like Iíve done for DVD and Web productions in the past. The only niggle is learning ďbroadcast standardsĒ and dealing with getting my final production on a Betacam SP tape thatís the ďpreferredĒ format for the cable company.

I guess Iíll have to pay a local post company to do a conversion to Betacam SP, since I donít own a Beta deckÖ or a miniDV deck, for that matter. If I go back to tape with the finished product, would the A1ís DV mode be readable by non-Canon decks to do a miniDV-to-SP transfer? Any issues with that (colorspace, interlacing, etc.).

Also, Iím assuming a 720x480 DV preset in my NLE (Adobe Premiere Pro 2) would be the way to go for output.

Thanks for any and all advice,
Brian Brown
BrownCow Productions
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Old August 17th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #2
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yeah 720x480, 29.97 NTSC..and give yourself at least 10% edge ratio for cropping.

i've given several comcast, time warner, and cox markets my spots on DVD or .AVI on DVD-R and let them bounce it.

i have beta decks..i just feel that if the client is paying for the spot, let them do the BS work. if you call and tell them ( don't ask) "i'm sending you the spot on DVD." they will tell you their DVD specs ( dvd-r, no rw, under 8x, etc)

most local markets have already upgraded to automatic DVD-R and/or DVCAM systems.

todays DV cams and NLE's are natively very good about "broadcast standards." don't worry too much about that, just watch your whites.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #3
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Great advice, Eric.

Thanks a lot!
Brian
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Old August 17th, 2007, 07:54 PM   #4
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Yeah, don't let the whites blow out. Some NLEs have an automatic broadcast filter fix that will bring everything into spec for you. FCP does, but I've never used it.

Make sure you have at least 30 seconds of NTSC bars and tone at the head of your tape. For spots I do 30 seconds of bars and 10 seconds of black before the spot starts. A 30 second spot on local cable here is 29:15; some stations give you 29:29. Make sure you're using drop frame TC.

Put all that information on a title slate before the bars, including the name of the spot, exact length, what time on the tape it starts, name of the agency if there is on, your name, and a contact, and whether the audio is stereo or mono. I usually put 5 seconds of black at the actual head of the tape, followed by the slate for 5 or so seconds, then the bars, tone, etc.

Your tone is -20 in digital, and all your audio should be between -20 and -12, though it may be OK to peak at -11 on occasion. Most people will use a compressor to bring all the audio up as close to -12 as possible (that's one reason why spots always sound louder than movies).

When doing the Betacam transfer (and the dub house should know this), the tone should be zero, since it's analog. All your other audio will fall right in if you've done it right. If you have a dub house that has a DVCAM deck with component out (like a DSR45, DSR1800, etc.) you will get a much nicer transfer. Component-to-component from DV to Betacam looks great. The Betacam will look almost identical to your original. If they don't have component, make sure they use the S-video out/in. Betacam decks also have S-input. The last and worst transfer would be the BNC composite. Composite Betacam sucks and it will look softer than your original. The component transfer will be excellent, the S will be not quite as good but very close, the composite will be noticeably softer.
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