Making a molehill out of a mountain – broadcast deliverables made easy
Industry outsiders imagine that working in video production is all about creating beautiful images and moving stories but, as anyone who’s responsible for managing programme delivery will tell you, producing the actual content is only one part of the process. As well as preparing your primary video and audio assets for broadcasters and networks, production teams have to create a host of ancillary materials to support everything from advertising to compliance, access services and localisation for each programme.
A programme’s supporting assets might include subtitles, timed text information, transcriptions, post production (or as-broadcast) scripts, translations, contributor release forms and all kinds of language lists, not to mention artwork for marketing and promotion. And, as if preparing this mountain of deliverables isn’t enough of a challenge, almost every broadcaster, network and media distributor has their own, unique set of requirements and templates.
We asked some of the production managers and broadcasters we work with to help us put together the following tips for conquering this mountain of deliverables, because we know you didn’t choose a career in video production to get bogged down in paperwork.
Read the media delivery specifications.
Whether you’re dealing with a mountain of deliverables or climbing an actual mountain, preparation is the key to success. The media delivery specifications document is our industry equivalent of a map and reading it really is the most important step in making your programme delivery pain-free. Don’t assume that the deliverables list for one project is the same as content you’ve worked on before, and remember that working with many co-producers and distributors may mean that you need to provide information in different formats or deliver different assets and supporting paperwork for each. Painful as it might be, investing the time to go through each stakeholder’s requirements at the outset and putting all the information together in one, easy-to-reference place will save you time and money in the long run.
Put aside budget and time for ancillary assets.
In the same way that the absence of spare socks and suntan lotion can ruin an expedition experience, failing to put aside sufficient time and money to prepare the supporting data and documents for your programme delivery will have a negative impact on your production. This is particularly true for programmes that are produced for international delivery. It’s important to understand the requirements and the costs involved as early as possible, ideally before securing investment and agreeing to delivery dates.
Don’t leave it all to the last minute.
No-one climbs Everest in a day. Staggering the preparation and delivery of supporting paperwork and assets ensures that you’re not left with an impossible workload at the end of the production process. As the localisation window shrinks and concurrent global delivery becomes more important, some broadcasters have also adopted this approach, requesting that content and supporting assets be delivered in stages rather than all together at the end of the contract. This also helps avoid the all-too-common situation where the team members with the necessary knowledge have already moved onto other projects before all the collateral for delivery has been produced.
Don’t underestimate the importance of naming conventions.
In climbing, a guppy has nothing to do with fish. Whether you’re trying to summit a literal or figurative mountain, being able to identify the appropriate tools and assets is vital. It’s important that you deliver content and supporting assets using the naming convention stipulated in the broadcaster or network delivery specifications, but preparing multiple versions of content for sharing in different territories, on different platforms and with different partners requires a robust and well-thought-out naming convention for both the production process and delivery. This is even more important if you’ve been asked to provide as-broadcast scripts for multiple versions of the edit – for example, where the network requires a rough cut, locked cut and final cut with matching ABS to save time in the localisation process. We can’t stress it enough – make sure everyone understands the naming protocol and sticks to it.
Enlist the help of a professional.
Would you ask the least experienced team member to lead your climb? While it may seem cost-efficient to get the runner to put your PPS or as-broadcast scripts together, they don’t have the knowledge or tools to produce content that meets the delivery requirements. And you’ll end up risking your reputation and spending extra time and money redoing this work if the broadcaster rejects your submission. Companies like Take 1 specialise in broadcast transcription metadata, understand the requirements of all the major broadcasters, networks and distributors and can help you get it right, first time.
Potentially the biggest problem with meeting broadcast delivery specifications is underestimating the requirements and, as a result, treating the preparation of supporting material as an afterthought. Like so much else in production (and climbing,) good planning is the key to success.
Get in touch now to find out how Take 1 can help.