Main Post Production FAQ Page

Some of our Frequently Asked Questions & Answers: This page contains the entire FAQ' list. You can find out more detaled information at our specific FAQ pages.

Q: My distributor (or sales agent) wants me to have a Quality Control report done, I have finished the editing and sound. What do I need to get to you to do the QC

A: That all depends on what the distributor (or network etc?) requires. We want the File that the approved QC report is based on to be the final master, the actual file you turn in. We would need to interact with them to find out. Often they will send out a list of specifications that let you know exactly what they need. They may require 4K, or HD or both, also there are many other possible variables. If there is not specs available then we recommend that it is exported to a file in the same frame rate and time code that the movie was shot in. Pro Res 4:2:2 or Pro Res 4:4:4:4 (.mov) are the files we usually work with and are the industry standard for movies. The best way to deliver is in a self contained quicktime file, but individual files for audio stems (D, M, & E) or mixes and separate video file can also be sent. We accept files by FTP, file transfer service, or mail.

Q:Will your QC report be good for Netflix (or Amazon, Apple TV, VOD etc?.)

A: We are approved to do any Netflix movie or show, that is not contractually obligated to be QC'd by Netflix it self or one of their "Preferred" vendors. Likewise we can QC any project for any platform unless the Producer, distributor etc. insists on having the QC performed by "their" company. This will result in higher prices and other possible problems. Over our 14 year in business we have performed hundreds of not thousands of QC reports for network telvision, big studio features, and independent films. We always ask for any "spec sheets" that are attached to a project to ensure accuracy of delivery requirements. If no spec sheets are available we perform a standard broadcast QC, which is comprehensive and industry standard.

Q: Do you do Quality Control reports for UHD or 4K projects?

A: Yes we are equipped to handle any format or standard including UHD, 4K, High-Def (HD) and Standard Def (SD) Any aspect ratio in including Full Frame UHD (3840 x 2160) as well as 4K (DCI used for DCP) (4096x2160.) Other aspect ratio's we see are 1440 X 1080, 2160 X 1080, and 2560X1080, as well as HD aspect ratios like 2.39, 2.40, 1.85, and 1.78)

Q: How do I read the QC report, and can I see a copy of a report in advance?

A: Our Quality Control report is a comprehensive evaluation of the technical aspects of the movie or TV show. The Top of Page 1 will show a final determination of either Approved, Hold, or Rejected. Page 1 also contains all the video and audio measuremnts using waveform monitors, vectorscope, and audio meters. Page 1 also contains A summary of the report in terms of general, video, and audio issues. Page 2 and any additional pages of the report contain a list of all issues by timecode. A descrition of each issue is made as well as a ranking of severity on a scale of 1 - 3. Any item with a 3 rating makes it rejected and must be fixed as this is an issue that will be rejected across the industy. A 2+ rating puts the project on hold. The client can determine if and how to fix based on the requirements of the project. 2 and 1 ratings are minor to moderate and the client has the option to fix. We will provide a copy of a previous report (with title and client blanked out) upon request

Q: The editing and sound mixes of my project took longer than expected and I need a Quality Control report fast. What is your turnaround time?

A: In most cases we offer a 1-2 day turnaround, which is by far the fastest in the industry. If necessary we can move you to the top of the list and have it done in one day or less.

Q: My QC report failed, What do these notes mean? and how can I fix the issues?

A: After you have had a chance to review the report, we will set up a phone call regarding what issues must be fixed (items with a 3 rating) and what you have the option to fix if your distributor / network allows (2+ rated items.) We offer free consulting services to out clients. We also offer Video & Audio Finishing Services in which we will do the fixes for you. In many cases we can fix the file that we already have, in some instances we may need you to send us additional material for us to complete. Once the fixes are completed, the report is ammended to a final grade of Approved. If you decide to do your own fixes we will do a Fix Check, in some cases, and then Pass the QC Report.

Q: How do I set up the head format on my quicktime file

A: Usually the spec sheet provided by the distributor, or network you are working with will tell you how to lay out the head format, which consists of black at head of file, bars & tones, slate, countdown & 2-pop. If no guidance is provided we will use a Standard Broadcast Head Format

Q: I need to have a Music & Effects (M&E) track to my show, what is that?

A: An M&E track contains all the same audio excepting dialogue that exists in a full stereo mix. When you watch an M&E track you will see the lips moving when characters speak but no dialogue coming out. This is done for the purpose of dubbing the movie into other languages. The new language is added to the overall mix and the file is then re-exported to contain the new dialogue track.

Q: My M&E tracks were rejected for missing effects, what do I do?

A: This means that some of the sound effects that were present in the original mix are not in the M&E mix. This includes everything from footsteps, hand taps, doors opening and closing, etc. Missing effects will occur if during filming the effects picked up by microphones are the only effects in the mix (not in other tracks) as the dialogue is removed from M&E those effects will also be removed and must be re-added. Often a Foley studio will be needed to add effects that cannot be added from a stereo mix track. We have experience at adding missing effects to M&E tracks even without any source material.

Q: I need to deliver a 5.1 mix with my movie, how is this done?

A: There are many types of audio configuration that a distributor, sales agent, or network may require, aside from stereo mix and stereo Music &effects track (described above) the next most likely audio set you will need is a 5.1 mix, this is for surround sound home audio systems. 5.1 It must contain 6 separate tracks with 2 sets of stereo pairs, and 2 mono tracks. The first 2 tracks are called 5.1 Left, and 5.1 Right, these correspond to the 2 speakers in a 5.1 mix that would be in the front on the left and right sides. in a "true" 5.1 mix these tracks would have all music and effects, minus dialogue, the left/right tracks are a stero pair, and must be in stereo for the mix to be correct. The third track is a mono dialogue only track called "Center" which is of course the center front speaker in a 5.1 mix. The forth track is also mono and is called LFE, (Low Frequency Effects) and contains the bass sounds the LFE speaker is essentially a sub-woofer, and is usually in front and down below the other speakers. The Final 2 tracks (numbers 5&6) are called Left Surround / Right Surround, these are the speakers in the back of the room giving the "surround" effect. They are a stereo pair and often contain the same tracks as the Left / Right pair at a lower volume level. All 6 tracks must be in sync.

Q: How do I go about making a Music & Effects track (M&E) and a 5.1 mix as well.

A: Qualified audio personnel can make audio mixes needed from your original stems, known as DM&E stems i.e. Dialogue, Music & Effects stems. These are the individiual audio files that went into the mix for the stereo tracks. If these files were made correctly with the dialogue isolated to an individual track it can be removed and a new mix made without it.
Often however no pure dialouge track exists as the effects that were reccorded through the microphones (footsteps, touchging, wind etc.) are contained only on the dialogue track, no additional foley editing was done. In these cases we can make a new M&E track for you from scratch. In order to do this we would have to re-create some of the effects that are on the strereo mix track on an audio program. The stereo mix and stereo M&E track should match exactly with the exception of the presence of dialogue.
We can also use sound editing techniques to creatre a 5.1 mix including an LFE track which is low freqency effects only such as would emanante form a sub-woofer. We can also re-ouput all the files as a new completed master file.

Q: What are some or the issues that you look for while doing a quality control check

A: We perform a 100% video / audio quality control check, in which a full report is generated with a pass / fail / hold grade and a list off all issues that would cause the program to be rejected by a network, distributor, or other party, there are many areas of audio, and video that we check for. Including luminance levels, chrominance levels, black levels, color gamut range, video hits, audio levels and distortion and much more. A full review of this is on our Video Quality Control Process page.

Q: My movie was rejected for not having Textless Material, what does that mean? A: Textless material is any scene in the film or show that has text (main and end titles, subtitles, time / location text etc.) over picture without the text. This is also referred to as "Clean Covers" These textless shots are used to add foreign language text for movies that are going to other countries. All texted shots are usually added to the file one minute after the end of program. They are provided without audio as no audio is needed, and in the same order they appear on the movie, with 5 second "handles" between each shot

Q: Can you convert standard & hi-def tapes to pro-res or other files?

A: We can convert any type of television video tape in 1080 (Hi-def) or standard def into digitial files that can be used in an editing program. We can also upconvert standard def to Hi-def, and Hi-def to 4K / UHD. More info is available on our Digitizing Tape To File page.

Q: How can I take an edited file and put it on hi-def tape?

A: While outputting a movie or TV program to videotape has become rare, there are still places that require or ask for it, and we can still do it. A process known as a Layoff is how we convert an edited digital file, to tape such as HDCAM SR, using an editing program such as Final Cut Pro, or Avid

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