Quality control to move to post houses?

European broadcasters are considering moving the main quality control (QC) process, including audio checking, to post-production facilities instead of the point of transmission.
Publish date:
Updated on

European broadcasters are considering moving the main quality control (QC) process, including audio checking, to post-production facilities instead of the point of transmission. This was discussed at an EBU conference in Geneva during November and will be considered by national broadcasters and standards organisations. The Quality Control Workshop has been organised by the EBU Strategic Programme on QC, led by Andy Quested, head of technology at the BBC, Reinhard Knör of research institution IRT and Roman Meszmer from Austrian national broadcaster ORF. Among contributors to the Workshop were Jane Fielder, creative director of Red Bee Media, and Bruce Devlin, chief technology officer of QC program developer Amberfin. An EBU spokesman said that although there was nothing "specific" was discussed about audio QC, the checks defined by the Workshop do include sound parameters, such as active channels, channel IDs and loudness level. The spokesman added there have been some requests for a focus on audio and this might be included in a future event. Among the conclusions of the Workshop were that file-based QC is "the key". The sessions also produced a Top 20 of critical points to check during the QC, which have been collected on a series of cards (pictured) describing areas such as format. Among potential audio faults highlighted, in addition to loudness, were audio coding and clipping. In the UK the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is looking at the recommendations as a possible part of its standards for the production and distribution of programmes. In a statement the DPP said it "hopes to achieve industry-wide collaboration with broadcasters and QC tool vendors, industry-wide standards for QC reporting, tests and terminology and best practice sharing among broadcasters" and aims to introduce relevant guidelines in 2013. Neil Hatton, chief executive of London post house Azimuth and the UK Screen representative on the DPP Technical Standards Committee, sees the proposals as a "good move" but warns, "We will have to be a little bit careful to see where the ultimate responsibility and liability lies, either with the post facilities or the broadcasters." tech.ebu.ch/groups/qc



Post-houses consider being the QC front end

Quality control tests in broadcast programmes are being streamlined and standardised by the EBU. The UK Digital Production Partnership is recommending that the bulk of testing and measurement be done by post houses. Consultant Neil Hatton discusses what this might mean for facilities and highlights the main areas of sound QC.

Expanding VME moves house

UK broadcast equipment rental and technology company VME is preparing to move into new premises within the next few weeks as part of an ongoing expansion programme, writes Kevin Hilton.

Headphone level control - monitoring versus limiting

Technology has allowed higher and higher sound levels to be produced at better and better quality over the past 20 years but more recently there has been a realisation of what this can do to people's hearing. The European Commission acted on this in 2003 by issuing a Directive to harmonise noise control legislation across Europe, which led employers in broadcasting, live music and industry to consider how to protect both staff and the public. In broadcasting, limiter circuits on headphones have been a first line of defence but, as Kevin Hilton reports, a new approach is being taken for location filming.

Audio key to post as Rain sweeps in

London's post-production scene is used to seeing established facilities close and newcomers open. In the latest cycle Pepper Post closed in June, while Rain will launch soon. Kevin Hilton gets a snapshot of the market and hears about the part audio plays in bringing in business.


Insolvency looms for Rain Post

London audio and video house Rain Post is near to being declared insolvent after barely two years in business. The facility opened officially with much fanfare and publicity in September 2011 but is now facing closure.

The Farm moves into US with audio

London facilities group The Farm has bought Los Angeles video facility Editgods and plans to offer the city‘s first combined audio and vision TV post-production operation, complete with two 7.1 sound suites, writes Kevin Hilton.