In Broadcast - August 2014 - 64


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 34 - AUGUST 2014

N E W S

InFILE
Can One Format, One Codec Rule Them All? Cont.

Hamburg Pro Media's MXF4mac
enables Apple FCP to access AS-11
clips and metadata

Pro Media has an AS-11 suite for
the import and export of AS-11 MXF
files compliant to DPP. It provides
the ability for editors to import
AS-11 clips as if they were typical
QuickTime files, giving users the
opportunity to inspect and amend
the metadata.
Projects can be written to an
AS-11 file (HD or SD) with full
metadata export where the Apple
data is remapped to the MXF and
the sidecar XML. Meanwhile, Avid's
Media Composer 7 has an export
to DPP option built-in as standard.

Multiple Standards

64

Given the massive support for AS11 on both sides of the Atlantic
and the drive for standardisation
in file-based deliver y, it is
natural to assume that the same
process would be at play in the
production sector.
In 2013 AMWA released AS-10

for production, at the request of
CNN, who required a format that
eliminated the need for rewrapping
or transcoding.
This level of interoperability was
hoped to streamline production and
post-production operations making
for faster workflows.
Based on Sony's MPEG-2 long
GOP XDCAM, there is no doubt that
the format has been exceptionally
popular. However, while delivery
format stipulations are increasingly
strict, HD production is more of an
open field. The EBU, for example,
recommends that minimum
acquisition codecs be 50 Mbit/s
4:2:2 for inter-frame and 100 Mbit/s
4:2:2 for intra-frame. This is hardly
prescriptive. Indeed, when it comes
to video journalism, 35Mbit/s MPEG2 is deemed acceptable.
As a result, there is no consensus,
no standard. Panasonic's new
VariCam HS records AVC-Intra
and ProRes, with RAW output.
Recent Sony systems, such as
PMW-Z100 and PMW-F55 include
the XAVC format, while JVC's GY
HM850 records formats including
XDCAM EX, QuickTime MOV,
AVCHD and H.264.
Interestingly, the first to adopt the
new ProRes 4444XQ format is ARRI,
with its Alexa. With up-to 500Mbit/s
recording and 12-bit RGB encoding
with a low compression ratio of 1:4:5,

Among the first to adopt the new ProRes 4444XQ format is ARRI

this is a very attractive codec for
high end production that will add
yet another option for DOPs. The
Alexa features other codecs from the
Apple range as well as Avid's DNxHD.
Newcomer to the camera sector,
AJA Video Systems released the 4K
Cion at NAB. Currently it is inked in
to record in ProRes (up-to 4444) as
well as supporting RAW output. Like
ARRI, its reliance on intermediate
or mezzanine codecs, indicates a
single-minded belief that the more
data the better.
At the other end of the spectrum,
Panasonic's development
team has been striving to
achieve the highest quality
at lower bitrates, in
order to help users
share files more
easily over networks
and the Internet and
to reduce the cost of
recording media.
T h e n e w AV C - U l t r a

codec that catches the eye is the
AVCLongG25, which records 4:2:2
10-bit 1080 at 25Mbit/s.
Cameras, such as the PX5000 and
PX270 can shoot HD for hours onto
two inexpensive 64GB SD cards and
transfer the data to the facility using
any high-speed connection.
It's a remarkable achievement that
could deliver rich reward to fast
turnaround television
productions.

Panasonic PX5000 packs the
AVC-Ultra codec

Demystifying AS-11 UK DPP Delivery
t 's u n d e r s t a n d a b l e t h a t
broadcasters and production
companies are still working out
what the new digital file delivery
changes, being introduced by the
Digital Production Partnership
(DPP), will mean in practice.
Some of the changes will be
quite major, for example storage,
but the solutions are quite
straightforward given the right

I

The Digital Production Partnership
has published a Producer's Guide

preparation and support. And it
will be worth getting there.
The move to file delivery can feel
like a backwards step because
ironically it means working in a
very linear way. An entire television
programme has to be completed
on an editing system timeline
before exporting it out to file in
one process. What we lose are
the 'non-linear' aspects that came
with handling tape, such as being
able to accommodate late editorial
changes by dropping in a section,
assemble chunks together and lay
back audio to the programme.
The new AS-11 UK DPP
file-based delivery standard,
introduced by the DPP, was
conceived to help standardise the
delivery of digital video content to
broadcasters. Bottom line, from
October 2014 it means every
company delivering content to
a UK broadcaster will need to
comply with the new standard. And
as soon as any teething issues
in the workfl ow are shaken out,
I'm convinced it will be a more
efficient way of working, saving
time and money.

Avoiding Pitfalls
One concern for broadcasters and
production companies is what to
do about late editorial changes
that need to be made after the
programme has been delivered
as a digital file to the broadcaster.
It arguably takes more work to
fix a file than a tape as it requires
going back to the edit timeline and
starting the rendering process
again, then repeating part of
the quality control (QC) process.
However, if you offset this against
the time and expense of getting
a physical tape back from the
broadcasters and then redelivered,
amending the file is a relatively low
cost. We hear that systems are in
development that will eventually
allow editors to insert a section
into a prepared AS-11 UK DPP
file. This will radically boost the
efficiencies of making those last
minute editorial amends.
The QC process is a widely
debated topic. Some people feel
there's more responsibility being
pushed back onto production
companies. But in reality there
is no change as productions

James Mackie is Quality Control
Specialist at BBC Studios
and Post Production Digital
Media Services, and is a team
member of the DPP technical
standards work group.

have always been responsible
for ensuring the technical quality
of their programmes. In fact,
being able to do the QC at the
post-production facility should
considerably simplify the process.
The editor or QC operator can
raise any queries directly with
the production team, agree any
sign-off and note any faults in the
CONTINUED ON PAGE 65


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - August 2014

In Broadcast - August 2014 - Intro
In Broadcast - August 2014 - Cover1
In Broadcast - August 2014 - Cover2
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 3
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 4
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 5
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 6
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 7
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 8
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 9
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 10
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In Broadcast - August 2014 - 12
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In Broadcast - August 2014 - 14
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In Broadcast - August 2014 - 16
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 17
In Broadcast - August 2014 - 18
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In Broadcast - August 2014 - 20
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In Broadcast - August 2014 - 81
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S1
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S2
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S3
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S4
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S5
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S6
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S7
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S8
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S9
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S10
In Broadcast - August 2014 - S11
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