Much like the television industry at large, the requirements for TV audio continue to evolve and change, and keeping up can be a challenge. The number of content sources and file types are increasing; the number of formats, languages and edit variations is increasing; and the number of distribution channels is increasing. The only things not increasing are your resources and the amount of time allotted to get the job done!
In general terms, engineers use the following applicable steps to prepare audio for use:
1. Ingest and Extraction
The first step to prepare program audio is to ingest it into an asset management system or non-linear video editor. Once ingested, the audio is separated from video container, but alas, the real work has just begun! Many workflows entail source files in a format other than linear PCM, including some variety of Dolby® encoded audio within a QuickTime or MXF container. Without the benefit of an automated workflow solution, a skilled operator must manually inspect the audio and determine the next steps to prepare for processing.
2. Format Detection, Decoding and Verifications
If the audio is encoded, it must be decoded and verified to see if it meets the expected configuration. Engineers often read the metadata when decoding, checking for errors and consistency with the client specification. Metadata often needs to be saved and recalled after processing is complete in preparation for encoding.
3. Analysis, Errors, and Processing
Next, the average loudness value of the content is measured, and, if necessary, processed to achieve the desired compliant output. Additional renderings are often created to meet specific customer requirements for different types of distribution, including OTA, OTT, mobile, and streaming applications.
4. Alternate Language, Encode, Rewrap
Now that the audio processing tasks have been completed, any additional components, such as additional language tracks, are ready to be added to the processed audio track and encoded. The newly encoded file can now be mixed into a container.
Many of these tasks can be performed by a skilled engineer, but not all. Labor and skill requirements along with the growing quantity of content have created a real demand for efficient solutions . . . and one exists! Minnetonka Audio, part of the Telos Alliance TV Solutions Group, offers AudioTools™ Server – an enterprise software system for file-based workflows that performs all of the tasks described above automatically, from extraction through processing and rewrapping for delivery, and sets aside any audio content with errors for an engineer to address.
Contact us today to see how the AudioTools Server solution can be set up to match your workflow requirements, saving you valuable time to focus on higher value tasks.