Movies on television

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JJR512, Oct 27, 2001.

  1. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    When a feature movie is broadcast on television, such as Galaxy Quest which is on CineMax right now, what is the media source of the movie? I mean is it broadcast from a tape or a disc, what kind, what is the resolution, etc.
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  2. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    No replies after three days? I'm disappointed! [​IMG]
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  3. richard plumb

    richard plumb Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm curious about this too, especially for Digital TV.
    Do the broadcasters play back from analog tape, converting to digital on the fly? Or do they pre-compress stuff beforehand, and store them on digital tape, or disc?
    Do any movie companies send precompressed digital content to broadcasters?
     
  4. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    I am also curious, while these movies are P&S(I just had to throw that in [​IMG] )the picture quality is very good.
    My theory is they are broadcast from one source such as some kind of a computer hard drive or something, maybe DVD but I doubt it, and then sent to a satellite where any licensed affiliate can intercept the "encoded" signal and pass it to your authorized Cable or Satellite receiver.
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  5. Gavin K

    Gavin K Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm also curious, because I have seen plenty of movies on cinemax, (such as Warlords of Atlantis), that have never had a video release in the U.S. How do the cable stations get a copy to broadcast?
     
  6. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    My guess would be that they're still broadcasting off Beta tape, since that seems to be te TV industry standard. I don't think that there's anything digital going on there yet...
     
  7. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I would be very surprised if these weren't run from a digital source. When watching a premium movie channel, for instance, on satellite, the movies are obviously NOT compressed on-th-fly - the quality is so much better than the channels that are.
    I don't have any current inside info, but I suspect that, at least for the movie channels, movies are broadcast direct from a video HD server.
    For movies that appear in non-prime-time on a local channel, the local gets the feed via satellite a few days before the air date and records it on the medium of their choice for later broadcast.
    I doubt very much that any major movie channel uses an optical medium. The lineup is programmed weeks in advance. The easiest way to automate is to have all the software on HD arrays. Less chance of mechanical errors with disc changers, etc...
    -Scott
     
  8. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    TV stations USED to run a lot of stuff straight off a 16mm projector on the air, but that stopped by the mid-80's.
     
  9. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    They're usually run off digital Beta.
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  10. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    Most programming that arrives at networks is going to be in the highest quality format possible. These days, it's usually Digital Betacam tape. Programs may be archived on a different format by the distributor, but the network is going to be consistent in getting the same format for all their programs that go to air.
    Some networks (such as the one I work at) receive programs on tape and then put all of them into a hard drive array, played back through an automation system. Some other broadcast outlets are somewhere in between, usually airing only commercial breaks from a hard drive.
    Where I work, we play Digital Betacam tapes into the hard drive server via Serial Digital Interface. So the signal stays digital until it gets to our satellite uplink.
    Are you talking Digital TV as in High Definition 16:9? I don't know what format they store their programming in, but I would venture that the signal stays in the same digital format throughout the process. Whatever compression happens comes from the mastering process, then the signal can stay the same until it leaves the network.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "compressed on-the-fly". Chances are, there's not any compression being done on the source material or on the master signal coming out of the network, it's being introduced at the uplink point or the cable company. Where I work, we multiplex eight signals, each one with varying amounts of compression. Most major channels (especially the movie ones) are uplinked alone, with no other signals sharing their bandwidth. There's a lot changing on this front, however.
    This isn't a question of having a copy, it's a question of either rights or sales potential. Cinemax aired Heavy Metal for years before it was available on video. The rights to cable broadcast were negotiated differently than home video sales. There are probably a lot of films that have never been released on home video that studios at least had transferred to tape for broadcast use.
    = Derek =
    [Edited last by Derek Miner on October 31, 2001 at 12:36 PM]
     
  11. Chris Moreau

    Chris Moreau Stunt Coordinator

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    When I worked at PBS (I left there about two years ago) they were using digital videotape, but were just installing and testing new hard drive servers. There were especially excited about the severs because they could do all time zones simultaneously, rather than having to re-record for the western zones.
     
  12. stephen abbot

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    I believe Derek has provided most of the info for you, most movies on premier movie and PPV (SDTV) channels on DVB systems etc are replayed off Digital Beta provided by the film co's that is compressed on that format (typically) at 25Mb/s, which is the normal professional digital compression level that is accepted for contribution and editing standards in broadcast environments.
    These tapes are then normally played out (normally via SDI interface) and compressed (on the fly to use your terms) to anything from 3MB/s - 9MB/s depending on what service has been allocated on the transport stream/transponder. Some organisations play the tape out to the MPEG encoder and direct to hard disc at the desired rate, this then is repeatedly played out as required especially in the PPV setups.
    A further point, in the latest modern transfer setups (not always the case of course), the film is transfered to digital tape from an HD telecine chain at 1080/24p. This tape is then digitally downconverted to various formats for different distribution requirements. For broadcast requirements the 1080/24p tape is converted to NTSC or PAL digital betacam at 25MB/s and used as described above. DVD masters would also be created at this point in a similar fashion. Obviously the 1080/24p master is 16:9, the NTSC/PAL digital betacam tapes made from that are P&S or anamorpisised at this transfer point at the requirement of broadcasters/DVD authors etc.
    hope this helps
    Cheers
    Stephen
     
  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Well, I've noted several occassions when a movie was broadcast directly from it's DVD. I've noted many, many others where it was broadcast from some output from the high-def master made for the DVD. The networks, which edit for content and time (as well as P&S) I assume have their own copies of movies.
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  14. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Up until this posting, this is a question few seem to want to answer.
    I do remember MTV (when they went on the air in '81) using some Ampex quad cart machines running at 15 ips that had their normal mono track split for stereo and Dolby A NR.
    Back in the early to mid 90's I remember seeing errors that appeared to be something like that of a sticking or skipping laserdisc. Prince's Batdance seemed to have the problem although not always at the exact same spot. Usually the dropouts were within 1 or 2 secs of each other for each occurance. I guess it was some kind of drop out compensation kicking in simular what was used for satellite broadcasts.
    What do MTV and most of the music video channels use now? I figured by now it was hard drive based.
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  15. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Aren't there some digital video formats that use no compression at all? I thought I remember reading something about that with DCT.
    I'm probably way off base. I used to get Broadcast Engineering magazine for years and always tried to keep up with the technology.
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  16. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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