Goodbye BetaSP...quick question

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Matt, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Well there are TV stations in my area that are now no longer accepting
    BetaSP. They say that their decks need repair and they can no longer find
    cost effective parts. And of course there isn't a single format that they
    all accept as each station seems to be shooting and editing on a slightly
    different format. The stations that are not accepting the tapes have each
    given me acceptible file types, but none are the same. We do quite a bit of
    commercial production, usually with extremely fast turn around so I really
    need one universal way to output my work. Can anyone suggest a single output
    type that might work everywhere? I'm using Premiere Pro and about the only
    way I can think to do it for the moment is to export to DVD...
    Matt, Mar 28, 2008
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  2. Matt

    mkujbida Guest

    See if they'll accept files on an external hard drive.
    If they say yes, find out what format they want (AVI, MPEG, QuickTime)
    and render accordingly.
    You might even be able to FTP it to them.

    mkujbida, Mar 28, 2008
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  3. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Well they have aready given me file formats that are acceptable (and I've
    considered getting those small flash drives to exchange files with them) but
    each station so far has given me a different file type. Now I can work with
    this, but I would rather find some sort of universal format that I can give
    to everyone... like good old BetaSP use to be. I realize that this may be a
    pipe dream considering the way things are right now... but it's going to put
    a serious crunch in my production if I have output to a different format to
    every station I deal with.
    Matt, Mar 28, 2008
  4. Matt

    mkujbida Guest

    Sorry Matt but there's no such thing as a universal file format :-(
    Personally I prefer the new way.
    For example, our local cable company recently installed an on-air
    playback server that uses MPEG-2 as source materail.
    I did some experimenting to findathe proper template (using Sony
    Vegas) and now give them everything on an external hard drive.
    It saves me from having to do a print-to-tape and them from having to
    paly it in to the server to be able to upload it.

    mkujbida, Mar 28, 2008
  5. "Matt" wrote...
    Does "commercial production" mean producing spot ads?
    (30-sec, 60-sec, etc.)? If so, what's the big deal with just
    doing the final render to whatever format the staiton wants?
    Or even conversion from AVI. How long could it take for
    a 60-second spot?

    With electronic delivery, I'd think that you would find the
    same economies of dumping the old electro-mechanical-
    magnetic monstrosities of those big cassette decks. Not to
    mention the headache of keeping expensive tape carts in
    stock, etc.

    If you say yourself that the stations don't all agree on a single
    format, do you think you will find some secret format that
    the stations didn't know about? Or that you can convince all
    of them to agree? Scenes of tilting at windmills cross the mind.
    You can't be the only one in this situation. What do other spot
    producers do in your market?
    Richard Crowley, Mar 28, 2008
  6. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Oh I'm a big fan of the theory, especially with those little USB thumbdrives
    dropping in price... plus I hate dubbing tapes! We just tend to work under
    extreme last minute deadlines here and anything I can do to streamline the
    production helps. I guess I can save export templates for each station... I
    just see that as a potential "oops I sent the wrong format to the wrong
    station" headache in the future.

    Thanks anyways! :)
    Matt, Mar 28, 2008
  7. Matt

    Matt Guest

    It does and after I re-read my own post I guess my main concern isn't
    exactly time in terms of production but more of an increased room for
    mistake. If we're outputting to a unique format for each station then
    there's room for mistakes everytime we do production. Up until this week
    there has been a secret format that they all would take... BetaSP ;-) There
    are times when we work under extremely tight deadlines and if I ship out
    some sort of storage device with the wrong encoded format to a TV station
    then there is the potential to miss a deadline for an airdate. Plus this
    will also mean they won't be able to run over to another station for a dub
    if this happens (well maybe they will eventually... who knows).

    So far the other spot producers that I know have taken one of three
    approaches.... they say either find a way to take my BetaSP tape because I'm
    the paying customer.... or you'll take the format I feel like outputting too
    and you'll have to find a way to convert... or they just burn a DVD and then
    the stations dub it down from there.
    Matt, Mar 28, 2008
  8. "Matt" wrote ...
    How about the practice of sending a disc with ALL the
    different formats that are in common use in your market
    and then the stations can pick their favorite. If you're
    doing short-form stuff, there should be plenty of room
    for half a dozzen copies in different formats.
    Richard Crowley, Mar 28, 2008
  9. Matt

    Steve King Guest

    | "Matt" wrote ...
    | > So far the other spot producers that I know have taken one of three
    | > approaches.... they say either find a way to take my BetaSP tape
    | > because I'm the paying customer.... or you'll take the format I feel
    | > like outputting too and you'll have to find a way to convert... or
    | > they just burn a DVD and then the stations dub it down from there.
    | How about the practice of sending a disc with ALL the
    | different formats that are in common use in your market
    | and then the stations can pick their favorite. If you're
    | doing short-form stuff, there should be plenty of room
    | for half a dozzen copies in different formats.

    That's not a bad idea for programs other than broadcast. Our clients
    contract with us to deliver in various ways, but they often weeks or months
    later ask for other media or file types. It's hard to charge enough for the
    service, particularly for one's best cleints. Hmm? Time to re-think how I
    do this.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Mar 28, 2008
  10. Matt

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Well done! My PEG TV station uses either MPEG2 and/or DV25 files.
    I can use Womble MVW to convert DVD's to the needed MPEG2 files with
    level II audio.

    What s/w tools do you use?
    Rick Merrill, Mar 28, 2008
  11. The thing that is growing in popularity is to FTP everything thru a
    moderating site like TheNewsMarket or Pathfire. Stations subscribe to
    one of these services and are given a server box to put in their shop,
    like a super-tivo with youtube on crack

    You pay Pathfire or TheNewsMarket to take your master files in
    whatever format you want to send them, they turn those files around,
    store them for a limited time on their central server (you pay more to
    make them last longer, good for VNR packages and mini docs) and FTP
    them to a dedicated server appliance in each subscribing station. No
    postage. No moving fragile hard drives around and paying to get them
    returned or just giving them away.

    The beauty of this system is it kind of doesn't matter what your
    upload format is: each station automatically gets a version in
    whatever THEIR native in-house format is, the conversions are done for
    you by the service. You can reach these services by FTP of your own to
    upload, or you can send them a tape or DVD or live satellite uplink,
    they take it all. Right now I find their prices high; you don't want
    to pay them to keep your files up longer than a month, I'd say. But
    the services have a lot of other things going for them. One of which
    is you get a report of every station downloading the footage you put
    up (but not how/if they use it unfortunately). Still, that's an
    improvement over today.

    Now, if your clients don't use a service like that yet, for SD
    programming you should be able to fit the short spot as data on a data
    DVD, then mass duplicate the data DVD, and this can be taken in by
    most or all the stations that use a central server for their footage,
    or their NLE system can ingest it and convert it. if you are payhing
    to have spots aired, trust me, nobody who pays has ever been turned
    away by a station saying they refuse to take your money because of a
    format interchange problem:) If you are trying to get stations to
    take your news or VNR package footage free, or even to pay YOU for it,
    then yes, you have to make it as easy for them as possible.

    HD makes it more complicated, because the files are so much larger
    and quality more critical. But I really think the coming thing for
    broadcast mass distribution of HD programming on physical media is
    going to be using bluray DVD. Here's why:

    Bluray has the capacity and the quality to do the job. Now that the HD/
    DVD/blu wars are over, I predict Blueray is going to saturate the
    market space and you'll have consumer and prosumer/industrial players
    and live BD recorders liek we have now for DVD from Phillips and
    Panasonic and Sony, as well as blue-capable computer drives. They are
    already sold in Japan as of 2 years ago. We are just waiting for the
    boatloads from Taiwan and the trucks from Mexico to arrive for the big
    holiday sales at Walmart now.

    That to me means for the next decade, we will have one, more or less
    standard HD interchange format that can work simultaneously in a
    boardroom, a breakroom, a bedroom, a newsroom, a festival screening
    room. That will be a POWERFUL argument for adopting it. Mass blueray
    burner/printers from Primera can kick out 50 or more disks an hour and
    are only about $3k today, which is way cheaper than any HD format tape
    deck I've priced lately, or even used digitbetas, which are only SD
    rez. The Bluray disks are rugged (have survived being hit with belt
    sanders and still play) and I think will make good, cheap, passive
    archival storage, for those times and places where keeping the data on
    drives long-time is not desired or possible.

    The bluray disc media is cheap and going to get cheaper, even now it
    is about what we're used to paying for betaSP tapes. Price wars
    between manufacturers trying to dominate the market space mean we can
    expect the costs of the gear and the media to drop. Here's the other
    attraction: with other solutions like flash memory and hard drives,
    not everyone knows what to do with those things or has all the
    matching infrastructure to get them to play. But EVERYBODY innately
    grasps: "put disk in slot, watch video". We've been doing that for
    over a decade with CD's and DVD's on set-top players and in computers.
    It is easy and familiar, requiring no skills by the user except enough
    hand-eye coordination to put the disk right-side up in the slot and
    hit a play button.

    Is it for everyone? No, but for some I think it will be the next
    closest thing to what we used to have in betaSp and digibeta, neither
    of which are being made new anymore. The key I think is that bluray is
    both a consumer HD format as well as an HD delivery format we can use
    in our industry, and there is a powerful synergy there, as we had for
    a while with VHS, but with much better quality.

    What I want to see is Apple get up to speed with bluray for FCP and
    DVDSP and to start selling the burners for their mac workstations
    soon. People using Adobe's products can be doing Bluray authoring
    this very afternoon; us FCP fans are still waiting for the same
    ability. I predict Apple will get this done by next year's NAB show.
    They just have to, or are going to get left behind in the market.
    nobody special, Mar 28, 2008
  12. Matt

    Mike Kujbida Guest

    Rick, I'm using a DVD authoring template that I customized in Sony's
    Vegas. In a nutshell, it's MPEG-2 with a CBR of 8,000,000 and embedded
    audio. I've forgotten what the make/model of their server is. All I
    know is that I'm saving both of us a lot of tape transcoding time,
    especially for those 2 hr. graduation ceremonies :).

    Mike Kujbida, Mar 28, 2008
  13. Matt

    Rick Merrill Guest

    I'm using a Sony HCR_SR7 hard drive camera - in SD mode it records in
    MPEG2 so I just have to copy the files off of the hard drive and prepare
    them for play back for such events.
    Rick Merrill, Mar 28, 2008
  14. Matt

    FCP User Guest

    My advice: Don't over think this.

    Here's what I do.

    I originate in Quicktime.

    Then take the work and export it as a vanilla DV file (in other words
    set the export compression to either "DV" or "none" since it's
    technically already DV - and export it as a DV-AVI file.

    All you're doing is setting the file type extension to AVI, not
    re-compressing anything since the file has always been native DV-NTSC
    whether the wrapper says quicktime or avi is irrelavent.

    Well, nearly irrelevant.

    AVI is read natively by all PCs

    On Macs the AVI wrapper will cause the system to report that it's a
    non-native format - but ignore that.

    Underneath it all, it's just DV-NTSC and after the dialog box, the Mac
    will just see the DV stream and it will work without rendering or
    transcoding as well.

    A few spots can easily go on thumb drives, or you can burn them as DATA
    on DVDs (no authoring or MPEG encoding should be done at all - just drag
    and burn the raw exported DV-avi files) - they're universally usable.

    Tell the station to just drag the video clip (or clips) from the thumb
    drive or DVD to the hard drive of WHATEVER NLE system THEY edit on and
    they're good to go.

    I've been selling content files to schools all across the country using
    media clips set up this way and with hundreds of clients to date, NO ONE
    has ever had a problem reading and using my content clips.

    It would work exactly the same way for a commercial as it does for my
    15sec to 3 minute editing content clips.

    DV files are just digital data files. And :30 spots are really pretty
    SMALL digital data files. So no need to overthink this.

    GIve them the DATA. Let THEM figure out what format to put it on to get
    it into their workflow - that's the station production director's job.

    (I know, I used to be one.)

    FCP User, Mar 30, 2008
  15. Matt

    Matt Guest

    thanks to everyone for the suggestions, they are great ideas!
    Matt, Mar 31, 2008
  16. Brilliant in its simplicity. That seems like the ideal "format".
    But as an ex-production director, what do you think the
    chances are of convincing the stations to work with it?
    Richard Crowley, Mar 31, 2008
  17. Matt

    Mike Kujbida Guest

    The expression "a snowball's chance in hell" comes to mind :-(

    Mike Kujbida, Mar 31, 2008
  18. Matt

    FCP User Guest

    I understand the frustration.

    But since the cost of the spot production is almost always a fraction of
    the cost of the media timebuy - just remind the production guys that if
    the spot doesn't get on the air, the MEDIA BUY gets cancelled.

    I GUARANTEE the station Sales Manager will straighten out the production
    department in nanoseconds.

    FCP User, Apr 1, 2008
  19. Matt

    mkujbida Guest

    Not necessarily.
    A lot of smaller market stations haven't kept up with all the
    technological changes and, as such, can't take a spot on anything
    other than tape.
    I was just talking to a friend yesterday who had to get a spot he did
    transferred to BetaSP because that's what one small station was still
    That same day he FTP'd another spot to a different station.
    Ain't technology wonderful :-(

    mkujbida, Apr 1, 2008
  20. That won't be forever. They'll probably jump from betaSP to DVD as
    soon as the betas all wear out their heads and can't get fixed. As far
    as physical media, a disk is the cheapest thing they can migrate to;
    just the shipping costs saved over beta tapes will pay for the players
    and new hookups.
    nobody special, Apr 1, 2008
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