Preparing a video for television is achieved with the proper software programs.
Preparing a video for television broadcast may open a variety of doors for expanding the exposure of your production to a broader audience. Many of today’s professional level video editing software programs, such as Adobe’s Premiere and Apple’s Final Cut, provide the necessary tools for preparing a video for television broadcast. While working in these programs will take some patience and professional knowledge, the process itself is not overly difficult.
1. Import the video file into your professional editing software program and apply the proper broadcast settings for NTSC or PAL located in the sequence settings section of the editing program. NTSC is utilized for broadcast in North America, and the PAL setting is used for international broadcast. According to the support website for Final Cut Pro, “NTSC and PAL are both interlaced video formats, as opposed to computer video and some high-definition video formats, which are capable of using progressive scanning.”
2. Decide on your screen format and adjust the sequence settings to reflect the proper dimensions. If your video is in a wide-screen format, add letterboxes to maintain the dimensions when imported into 4:3 format for NTSC. Letterboxes are the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen that maintains the width of the original movie when placed on a square screen.
3. Place your “In and Out” markers on your editing timeline at the beginning and end of your movie and render your video.
4. Add the “Bars and Tones” to the beginning of your movie. Depending on your editing program, the Bars and Tones option appears when sending the video to “Print” or to “Tape.”
5. Set your “Bars” to approximately 30 seconds and your “Tone Level” to around -12 dB. Check with the television station to ensure the settings meets their specifications; every station has a different procedure.
6. Add the “Countdown” to the beginning of your video using the same editing window as “Bars and Tones,” and add your company logo or project name to the “Slate” section in this window.
7. Export your movie in a MOV format that is uncompressed. Copy the file to an archive folder.
8. Make a duplicate copy from the master file to meet the specifications of the television station the video will be played on. DV tapes, DVD data discs and digital files are possible options, but the station will confirm the proper format.