Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Vide: The Ant & The Grasshopper

In case you missed it this weekend, here's the piece we did for Need to Know on PBS with the great cartoonist Roz Chast.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

So, I'm a little miffed they did that bizarre letterboxing.  We're usually pretty diligent about PBS deliverables.  In the rush of the production we worked to HD 1920x1080 standards -forgetting that PBS sometimes requires titles be 4:3 NTSC safe (which is about 1/4 of the screen tighter on all sides).

When we got the specs -on the day of delivery -it asked for "all animation" within NTSC 4:3 action safe.  I'm hoping that they just meant type within NTSC title safety and reduced the piece to meet those standards.  That's a drag, but at least makes sense.

Here's the proper full frame.

Anyway, other than the tech issue, the gang at PBS was exceeding receptive and upbeat about this piece. The writing and voice are great, but I see it and just think about how good it could be with adequate resources.


Charles Kenny said...

As long as I've been in the States, I've been confounded by the Yankee approach to widescreen entertainment.

Back home if you had a square (4:3) TV you got black bars on the top and bottom or you got nothing.

Here they seem to try and appease everyone and in the process make things so much more complicated than they need to be.

Slushing Brooks said...

As a Channel Thirteen viewer watching on a Standard Def CRT TV, their text is frequently not title safe, as captions on the News Hour and in Promos frequently are completely off my screen and I just catch the beginnings and ends of words... Animation itself looks excellent. I like the camera movements.

roconnor said...

PBS wants 16x9 1920x1080 delivery with titling to 4:3 title/action safety -at least that's what we've been told a few times.

4:3 action safety is impossible at 16:9, obviously but the title safe thing is feasible, if unattractive.

The reason for this is that affiliates aren't held to standards in broadcasting. They're supposed to broadcast letterboxed on their SD stream but many stations just center cut.

I see them foul up broadcasts all the time on WNET. One reason is bandwidth -they run their SD, HD, Spanish and one or two other streams through a signal which was meant to carry an NTSC signal.

It's similar to NTSC carrying both a black and white and color signal in 1953. They're anticipating a technology which doesn't really exist yet so the holes and the pegs don't exactly fit.