UK broadcasters are considering an overhaul of programme delivery guidelines that could lead to post houses taking over ultimate responsibility for the quality control (QC) process.
Broadcast understands the Digital Production Partnership is proposing that broadcasters spot check several points in programmes rather than perform a full QC check after delivery.
If the changes are adopted, the responsibility would be pushed back to production companies, which could either complete the checks in-house or via a post facility, potentially leading to a list of trusted post-production suppliers.
UK Screen technical sub-committee chair and Azimuth Post Production chief executive Neil Hatton described the proposals as “a radical change”.
He said: “It is harder to amend files once they have been encoded, so as we move to fi le-based delivery, it makes sense to bring the QC process in before the point of delivery. But we need to ensure this is included in the budget for the post facility, as it will be one of the last steps in the post process.
We also need to be clear where the responsibilities lie for the regulatory elements of QC.” According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), crossbroadcaster group the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) has already begun working on “a harmonised QC workflow for file delivered programmes”, which it said had been made possible by the DPP’s work on the file delivery wrapper AS11.
The EBU said the next stage for broadcasters was to identify common points in the QC process, with agreement around the “eyeball” aspect of the process, and finalise who takes responsibility for signing off a programme. It described both as “difficult discussions”.
The EBU is hosting a workshop on 7 and 8 November, where broadcasters and QC product manufacturers will demonstrate automated QC procedures and take part in collaborative discussions. BBC technology chief Andy Quested is one of the seminar leaders.
A spokesperson for the DPP said: “Working with EBU the DPP 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.
“The DPP is currently working on a set of guidelines for suppliers that will include an agreed high-level workflow for automated file-based QC, an agreed list of required tests and tolerances based on AS-11 standards. These guidelines will be launched in 2013.”
The BBC declined to comment.