DPP Launches Quality Control Guidelines

The DPP has released a set of standardised UK Quality Control Requirements to help producers carry out the necessary QC checks to ensure they deliver broadcast quality files, which meet the necessary standards.

The guidelines, which are published six months out from the 1st October, when UK broadcasters will make the move to full digital delivery, have been produced in collaboration with the EBU.

The EBU’s Strategic Programme for Quality Control is currently defining all possible QC criteria as well as guidance on their implementation. The DPP has taken the EBU definitions and created a minimum set of tests and tolerance levels required for UK broadcasters.

Included in the new guidelines are AS-11 file compliance checks, and Automated Quality Control tests for Video and Audio. Examples are loudness levels, and freeze frames.

The guidelines also includes a list of ‘Eyeball’ tests that a producer needs to undertake before delivering the programme. Included on the checklist are such things as Audio Sync, Buzzing, Unclear Sound, Clock, and Visual Focus etc.

Commenting on the new work, Kevin Burrows, DPP Technical Standards Lead and CTO Broadcast & Distribution, Channel 4, said, “The DPP’s QC guidelines offer a standardised set of checks expected prior to the digital delivery of broadcast programmes to the UK Broadcasters. They are designed to streamline the QC process and help minimise the issues that can arise in programme delivery.”

Andy Quested, Principal Technologist BBC, who has been instrumental in devising the guidelines as well as leading the EBU’s work, added, “Post houses and broadcasters are seeing a significant increase in the volume of file-based programmes they need to handle. It is really important that the QC tests give accurate and consistent results. The new guidelines don’t just explain the process and the test to be carried out, they also make it clear who is responsible for signing off the QC process.”

The guidelines will be implemented by broadcasters as they move towards digital file delivery. Production companies will be required to deliver their compliant files along with a valid QC report, as has previously been the case with the PSE report. The QC report can be delivered using a separate PDF or XML file output from the QC tool. DPP broadcasters will accept PDF QC reports initially, but will encourage XML reports over time once they are standardised by the EBU group and the DPP.

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