Wednesday, April 11, 2012


How are things in the world of trends in genre motion picture delivery?
I'm here to tell you.
Here are things I've noticed from the required deliverables from our last couple o'movies.

  • First of all, the 2257 Compliance is now becoming a standard boilerplate of text to slap on the end of a movie. And it's even going on movies where there's no nudity. Why? Just to be on the safe side.

  • We've also been given the opportunity to deliver on hard drive a few times now. Delivering a multitrack Quicktime ProRes 422 is beginning to look like something buyers and distributors fear much less now. That's not saying we aren't having to deliver some PAL Digital BetaCam tapes, but those tapes are starting to become an exception rather than the norm. This is a big deal. 

About the "multitrack" part of that though, we're generally also delivering a folder with mono .aif files labeled with their uses. Left and right English stereo mix, Left and right M&E mix, 5.1 English (which is six tracks of audio), 5.1 M&E, and a stereo commentary. That's a minimum of 18 tracks of audio.

  • And finally, freakin' finally. I've seen a contract which specifies audio in terms of dB Fs. Yes! "Fs"! Something we can actually measure with our computers. Not some vague notion of decibels based on some 25-year-old analog tape decks. You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this. Interestingly the contract I'm looking at specifies that peaks should be no more than -9dB Fs. That's 3dB more than we've been mixing to! On our next movie I get to back off my limiters to -9dB from -12dB. 
Yeah. Trying to guess what they mean by "0dB average with peaks of +8dB" based on some very old-school analog Vu meters was very frustrating to me because I haven't even SEEN an analog deck in more than 10 years so who knows what Sony thought "0" meant? I certainly don't have a spare $40,000 lying around to buy one to find out. Now we have some real numbers. [Ha! How many people did I just lose complaining about this one thing?] ;-)

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