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Video Production and Post-Production Community- Issue 6, June 2014
About the Video Production and Post-Production Community
Status Quo of the UK Tech Spec - Digital Production Partnership (DPP)
By Joan Leese, Director VET

The DPP tech spec for UK file delivery to Broadcasters is now concluded in v4 and the transition gains pace from October 2014. The spec includes audio track allocation, R128 loudness regs, metadata, codec, bit rate, aspect ratio, safe area and more. The core spec is consistent for all UK Broadcasters. Each Broadcaster issues a specific document with contracts containing details such as file name structure and additional deliverables to ensure compatibility with legacy in-house systems. The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) website is a valuable resource with the latest information, templates etc.

The bulk of the benefit will be for the Broadcasters rather than for Production or Post Production. For Broadcasters, file delivery with embedded metadata makes absolute sense for an end to end file based transmission chain and the opportunities for cost saving through automation are enormous. Automated QC (Quality Control) on receipt of files, automated ingest into the MAM system with auto creation and delivery of approval files for editorial and legal, right through to scheduling, and EPG and archive.

This of course requires a lot of resources for the initial transition and set up, but in the mid / long term is assumed to require fewer people and of very different skill levels than those currently involved in QC, ingest and library.  

The companies that make QC and AQC test products are competing to find the most reliable and consistent range with the most competitive price tag. Whilst the DPP doesn’t want to be in the business of ‘authorising’ specific pieces of kit the Production and Post communities are pressing for DPP’s involvement to achieve consistency of tests and test equipment to ensure sound investment decisions and robust delivery. The DPP is working with manufacturers and designers of testing tools to achieve this and are also considering common templates. EBU and DPP continue to work towards some wider common standards within Europe.

Post houses are endeavouring to streamline processes and help Production teams understand the new workflow and appreciate the time and budget implications for sign off of files and the need for the early supply of their ‘paperwork’ as metadata before delivery.  Production companies are assessing whether file delivery means bringing more finishing in-house or to keep it in the safe hands of an external Post house. This comes at the same time as clear statements from Broadcasters that Producers bear the full responsibility for content and technical compliance.  Programmes will go straight to air if they pass through the automated QC stage. 

 
Are there still treasures in danger of being neglected?
The video and post-production community consists of a very diverse set of players who are struggling to create a common strategy for audiovisual preservation. Ten thousands of audiovisual productions for documentaries, movies, edutainment, commercials, or programs are currently more or less accidentally stored everywhere in different companies. Storage typically includes hard discs, digital carriers, but also digital or analogue tapes. It seems that there isn’t any overview of the exact extent of this material. Storage activities in plenty of these companies have almost been off the grid compared with e.g. public audiovisual institutions, broadcaster’s archives, cultural heritage institutions, and similar.

The dissemination of new and more standardised workflows and business potentials might create more awareness on the necessity of workflows for preservation and storage. At the same time, this will generate more focus on what is actually available for storage in the video production and post-production sector.

As issued in the previous article, the DPP model offers considerable cost savings to especially broadcasters but also other parties involved with the post-production work chain. Several routines and time-consuming tasks have been automated and in the future they are aimed to be done in the background with less interferences of human interaction. The DPP model may create more focus on the importance of standardised ways for preserving and storing assets. There is a huge need for information about best practices and cost-efficient workflows. The DPP standard may be the key to more general knowledge about preservation and more standardised workflows in the post-production domain.  
 
Related News
AMIA's Digital Asset Symposium - Discussion on relevant workflows
In this video Debra Kaufman speaks with Jacob Rosenberg, CTO of Bandito Brothers and Tom Vice of FotoKem at the 2014 AMIA’s Digital Asset Symposium in Los Angeles about actual workflows, different formats, harmonisation, need for speed, and several other important issues. Although the main issue is film the challenges and solutions they are addressing are almost similar to issues addressed in Community of Practice Video- and Post-production. 


Watch Now

 

Upcoming Events
August 21-23: The Reel Thing â€“ Presenting the latest technologies in audiovisual restoration and preservation. The Reel Thing brings together a unique line up of laboratory technicians, archivists, new media technologists and preservationists.

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