So, you’ve read Part One of the DPP Forum: File Delivery Made Simple write up. Now you know why there were so many people crammed into Channel 4’s basement trying to find out all there is to know about creating an AS-11 DPP file, but there’s still one more hurdle to jump before your file’s journey is complete…
How do you get your completed file to the broadcaster and what on earth are they going to do with it after that? Here’s the view from the experts:
TABLE 6 – HOW TO DELIVER AN AS-11 DPP COMPLIANT FILE TO YOUR BROADCASTER
What’s it all about?
What components you need to send and which methods to use to get it there, including connectivity, acceleration and security.
Each broadcaster will be receiving tens of thousands of programme files each year, therefore the delivery method needs to be fast, reliable, secure and as automated as possible.
The main components involved in file delivery to broadcasters can be summarised as:
There are a number of connectivity options. The characteristics of each option determines their suitability for specific programme deliveries. The selected option should have sufficient speed to enable programme file delivery reliably and in an acceptable time.
- Open internet (no quality of service)
- Managed service connection (multiple users)
- Permanent private connection (single user)
- Hard disk drive (must be agreed in advance)
- LTO data tape (must be agreed in advance)
In order to meet the broadcasters’ primary requirements of speed and security, particular transfer mechanisms should be used. The preferred method will usually be using a 3rd party UDP accelerator. The transfers are managed by the relevant 3rd party applications, and vary in scale and complexity.
- Several products are available, including: Aspera – ‘Transfer Servers’ / ‘Faspex’, and Signiant – ‘Managers & Agents’ / ‘Media Shuttle’
- File Catalyst – ‘Direct’
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – not recommended
- HDD or LTO data tape – not recommended
Appropriate security is paramount, both to protect the content and to protect broadcaster’s systems and infrastructure. The 3rd party accelerator products all incorporate suitable data encryption. Additional security may be applied, including virus checking, checksums and passwords.
- MD5 (or other) checksum
- Lock files with passwords
- HDD or LTO data tape are difficult to secure
Broadcasters will be conducting a file integrity check for all incoming deliveries. Non-compliant files will be automatically rejected and the production company informed. It is vital that suppliers ensure 100% compliance with the DPP specifications.
- AVC-I Class 100 (SMPTE specification)
- BWF audio channels
- Audio channels in individual tracks
- OP1a MXF wrapping
- DPP metadata complete
3rd party accelerator products all provide automatic notifications at the point of delivery. File integrity checking at the broadcaster will notify supplier of non-compliance/rejection. It is the suppliers’ responsibility to ensure 100% compliance and to react to these notifications.
- Failure of delivery due to connectivity
- Failure of delivery due to transfer mechanism
- Rejection due to virus detection
- Rejection due to non-compliance
- Notification failure
TABLE 7 – WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR FILE AT THE BROADCASTER
What’s it all about?
The process that happens once the programme files have been received by the broadcasters, including various checks and the workflows required to get them to air.
So you’ve delivered your file…
Assuming your delivery has been successful, you shouldn’t need to worry about what the Broadcasters do next.
What we do with the files next…
However, the following provides a generic view of the steps which the broadcasters go through once they receive the files and AQC reports from the production companies (For Linear Broadcast only).
- Perform a Virus check to ensure the delivery process was clean.
- Perform a File Integrity Check, which checks that the files are complete and not corrupted, and that the structure of the Encoded Video, Audio and Metadata is correct. That the file is correctly identified as expected by the broadcaster.
- Carry out a Spot Check of all files – Visual and Audio check at the start, middle and end of the file, together with a review of the supplied QC form for any subsequent warnings indicated.
- Store on Digital Library, and carry out any subsequent programme re-versioning.
- Stage to the Playout Servers for transmission under schedule automation.
TABLE 8 – RECALLED FILES
What’s it all about?
The operational process and key guidelines that need to be adhered to when amending files or recalling them from transmission.
- All broadcasters will have their own specific guidelines for recalling file content for technical or editorial correction. However, there are general principles common to all broadcasters that must be strictly adhered to.
- Contact Media Management or other advised contact within your broadcaster requesting permission to make a correction. Once permission is granted and you have clarified the re-delivery process the technical or editorial correction can be made.
- It is extremely important if the previously supplied file version is never going to be transmitted that it’s deleted (purged) from all transmission servers. Remember, in the file world, unlike tape, it is easy to copy and transfer files so you never quite know where they might end up!
- Once permission has been agreed with your broadcaster go back to the NLE Suite and make the correction. It is assumed the supplier will have retained all media to enable amendments or corrections to be carried out.
- The amended file must be re-named under a different version or production number. This new number will be supplied by your broadcaster. It is extremely important that ALL amended instances of an asset change version or production number if any editorial or technical changes are made. This is already a well established process within all broadcasters and must be strictly adhered to to avoid the wrong content going to air. Unlike the tape world (where there may be only one copy of the tape) a file can be copied, resulting in more than one essence of that file residing on a number of servers within a playout facility, so it is even more crucial that any redelivered file changes version or number.
- Enter descriptive metadata
- Enter technical metadata
- Wrap file
- Validate & QC amended file ensuring it complies with the Technical Delivery standards
- Re-deliver amended file using delivery method agreed with your broadcaster
So, that completes the incredible journey of a finished file from creation all the way to playout. We hope you find the notes and documents useful.
Feedback from this event told us that people came out feeling far more confident about file-based delivery than when they went in, which is of course just what we hoped. And it also makes us feel we should stage this session all over again – for the benefit of all those who couldn’t make it. So if you were one of those who came along, and left feeling much wiser, maybe you could recommend to colleagues that they give the next session a try. And if you’re reading this as someone who didn’t make the session – please come along next time and get the full-on, real-life experience!
Check the Upcoming Events page for details. New date to be announced very soon….
This blog post was written by Jayne.