How Technology Will Transform Broadcast Advertising Production

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The evolution of technology will have an increasing impact on production for the advertising industry.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

A number of changes are lurking around the corner but what opportunities and dangers are sitting below the surface in the murky waters of the near future? Let’s take a look.

Better visibility, deeper insight

Unless advertisers are using a real-time media monitoring service, there is currently a substantial delay between when a commercial actually airs, and when the advertisers get confirmation of the fact.

Contributing to this delay is the daily process on the side of the broadcasters who have to collate the information regarding the commercials that ran during the day, reconcile against bookings and orders, before sending invoices to agencies.

In the future, Craig Armsworth, general manager technology at Dubsat, says it may be possible to integrate the reporting of when commercials are aired. Subject to negotiations with broadcasters, the creation of an offering giving end-to-end visibility into the status of an ad, from booking to delivery to acceptance and broadcast, is highly likely.

“That data is available,” says Armsworth. “It’s easy enough to tie into an automation platform and get status updates of where commercials are playing from and whether they played, the duration they played for, etc. Advertisers would be notified in real time, or very soon after their ad has aired, while broadcasters also benefit from being able to speed up and automate their invoicing runs.”

Easier production across regional borders

Production work is often distributed across different countries, and TVC production professionals find themselves working with footage supplied in different regional formats. This presents a particular set of problems, especially when NTSC materials need to be converted to Australian broadcast standards.

Dropping the 30 frames per second (fps) of NTSC down to 25fps which PAL uses often sees converters introducing a blended frame or other artefacts into every second of footage. Australian broadcasters tend to frown upon this.

According to Armsworth, this is set to change. He says: “At the Free TV Australia engineering conference in August, there was a meeting of minds between the commercial aggregators, the TV stations and the producers of commercials around OP36 standard for delivery of commercials.”

“There was a specific discussion about standard conversions from NTSC to PAL, or 30 frames to 25 frames, and stop frames or frame blending issues. It was decided that there would be a workshop to go through how we can minimize this issue and improve the quality of footage.”

“The problem can be solved by adjusting the play-out speed, though that might present issues with the creative side of things. The workshop will provide direction that all agree upon.”

More flexible work systems

Whether talking about workflow management, project management, asset management, client-contractor collaboration, or last-sprint advertising delivery, an increasing number of tools used in advertising production are now available as web-based solutions accessible through web browsers.

This move away from desktop-based solutions means advertising production staff and managers can work more flexibly.

“With platforms moving to HTML5, users of these solutions benefit from being able to use them across browsers and platforms without restrictions,” says Armsworth.

This includes things like being able to manage production projects and access advertising materials using the browser on a phone, even when on location and away from the office, and being able to get live updates of the status of ads anywhere.

Higher resolution production workflow

With 4K shooting capabilities increasingly available on mid-to-high end cameras, raw footage will increasingly be supplied in 2K and 4K as standard. This is a step up from the HD standard of today.

To deal with these larger files and higher resolutions, production and editing hardware and software will need to be upgraded.

But a greater challenge comes during the delivery stage, with the prospect of having to encode, QC, and deliver multiple versions of the same finished TVC during the time-critical final stages of production:

  • SD for standard broadcasts
  • HD for TV stations broadcasting in HD
  • 2K/4K for clients’ archives and/or online video platforms that accept those resolutions

The enhanced capabilities of delivery platforms will play a critical role in making this translation between resolutions as painless as possible.

As opposed to having to race the deadline and create and upload three different versions of the TVC, time-poor production staff can simply supply a single master in the native production resolution, and let the delivery platform take care of repurposing it for SD/HD transmission.

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While it’s important to be aware of the changes approaching, most of the work will be done behind the scenes as solution providers work to implement technologies to deal with these new complexities.

The next generation of tools for advertising production will provide greater transparency, integration and efficiency, and deliver consistent results even in the face of changing broadcast standards and material requirements.

Production managers and workers will, on their part, notice a greater variety of powerful solutions, differentiated by their ability to enable smarter workflows, backed up by expert teams.

This article has been syndicated with permission from Dubsat.com

Written by Isaac Leung for Dubsat.