Technical Standards

Please carefully read the information below for the latest information regarding FPA's technical standards and accepted formats for cablecast. 

If submitting data files on disc (only one episode per disc):

  • When naming files, please do NOT use special characters in the file name. This includes spaces, periods, numeric symbols, etc. Files should be named as such: PublicAccessShow1.mpg
  • Bars and tone, slate, and countdown are not required for a data file. 
  • If a signed Program Submission form is not received for a program, it will NOT air. 

If submitting data files via the in-house Member Airdrop:

  • When naming files, please do NOT use special characters in the file name.  This includes spaces, periods, numeric symbols, etc. Files should be named as such: PublicAccessShow1.mpg
  • Bars and tone, slate, and countdown are not required for a data file. 
  • After dropping your files, please provide a signed Program Submssion form to the Programming Department. If a form is not received for a program, it will NOT air, or be transferred to our server from the Member Airdrop. 
  • Files transmitted in-house via the Member Airdrop will not be kept in FPA's server past 90 days.  The Programming Department strongly advises producers to keep a master copy of all files, and provide the department with a master copy if an occasional re-air of content is necessary. 

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PROGRAMMING TECHNICAL STANDARDS:

Programming shall be produced using current industry standards and accepted norms. Technical standards apply to all programming, regardless of the program’s point of origin. FPA's training programs cover the production standards.

Users are required to follow these standards to facilitate transmissions of programming. FPA may reject any program that does not adhere to these standards. These standards are subject to modifications as technologies evolve.

A.   Television Program Length:
  1. All 1/2-hour programs shall time out at no more than 28-minutes from the first frame to the last frame of visible video
  2. All 1-hour programs shall time out at no more than 58:00 minutes from the first frame to the last frame of visible video
  3. If a program is too short or too long the programming department reserves the right to pull it from the airing schedule and return it to the producer for time corrections to be made
B.   Television Program Material Production Standards:


1.    Programming material is produced using:

a.    Industry standards and accepted norms

b.    Industry best practices

2.    Practices that may cause a program to be rejected: Non-linear editing systems that use overly compressed files, incorrect aspect ratios, overmodulated audio, and other technical problems.

3.    FPA’s technical specifications:

a.    A written specifications document is available at www.fcac.org/standards

b.    FPA reserves the right to reject media that does not comply with FPA’s technical specifications document

c.     Video submitted for cablecast complies with accepted industry standards for brightness and color levels (SMPTE RS-107A)

d.     When measured on a waveform monitor, video luminance levels do not exceed 100 IRE

e.     Color levels shall not be excessive

f.       Excessive video and chroma levels cause transmission problems

g.      Unacceptable:

i.       Excessive noise caused by over processing or generation loss

ii.      Macro blocks or other artifacts caused by digital compression

4.    Audio:

a.    Required test tone: -20 dBfs on digital VTRs where the top of the scale is 0 dBfs

b.    Audio program levels shall not peak over -12 dBfs at any point in the program

c.     Program material subject to rejection are:

i.      Program material exhibiting over modulation or distortion, regardless of final volume level

ii.     Program material exhibiting excessive noise due to improper mixing technique, over processing, or digital compression

C.   Television Program Media:

The recommended standard definition media format at FPA is DVCPro 25. The recommended high definition media format is SSD. Producers may also submit programs on DVCam, Mini-DV, DVD and file formats, with restrictions.

Technical Specifications Documents:

Accepted Formats:

Format Restrictions
DVCPro SD Tape DVCPro25 and DVCPro50 accepted
DVCam Tape N/A
Mini DV Tape SP only
DVD Playable DVD disc. No menus, color bars, slate, or countdown. No copy-protection.
Blu-ray Disc Playable Blu-ray disc. No menus, color bars, slate or countdown. No copy- protection.
SD Files* Submitted on data DVD, or via Member Airdrop. See below for data file requirements
HD Files*
Submitted on data DVD, or via Member Airdrop. See below for data file requirements
Other


Due to the ever-changing nature of the field and future technological advances, a fluid list of accepted formats is available at www.fcac.org/standards

Data File Requirements:

All files must be one of the following resolutions / framerates

·         480i SD - 720x480 29.97fps

·         720p HD - 1280x720 59.94fps

·         1080i HD - 1920x1080 29.97fps

The following formats are accepted:

Note - Bold formats are native to the playout system, and will require less transcoding time to be available on the playout system.

Use of these formats is recommended when possible.

MPEG-2 Program Stream (HD or SD)

·         MP2 or PCM Audio

·         I Frame Only or Long GOP

·         Fixed GOP Structure

·         Max of 2 B-frames within GOP

·         Closed GOP recommended

·         .MPG or .MPEG file extension

XDCamHD/XDCamHD422 (HD)

·         PCM Audio

·         .MXF file extension

Apple ProRes/ProRes 422 (HD)
Avid DNxHD (HD)

H.264 MPEG-4 AVC (HD or SD)

·         High Profile/HiP or greater required for HD

·         Main Profile/MP or greater required for SD

1.   FPA recommends submitting programs as a file

2.   DVDs may not produce results that are acceptable for cablecast

3.   FPA reserves the right to charge a fee for media that requires a conversion to the proper format.

4.   The Programming Department records programming based upon the program title as it reads on the Program Proposal Form and episode numbering starting with “1”

5.   Each episode submitted is sequentially numbered

6.   Outside producers with a different numbering system may be accommodated

D.   Television Program Tape Start Requirements:


1.    All tapes must start with 60-seconds of bars and tone at -20dbu

2.    All tapes must then follow with 10-seconds of slate showing the program title, episode number, total running time, taping date, and producer's name

3.    All tapes must then follow with 10-seconds of control track black, followed immediately by the program or a countdown followed by 2-seconds of black before the program starts

4.    Multiple episodes may be submitted on tape as long as each episode is divided by bars and tone, slate, countdown with 2 seconds of black or 10 seconds of control track black as described in steps 1-3 above

E.   Television Program DVD, Blu-ray, SD MPEG-2, and HD File Start:


1.   DVDs and blurays shall not have menus

2.   No header is required

3.   The program recorded on the disc must start immediately

4.   Only one episode may be submitted on DVD or Blu-ray

5.   Data files must be burned onto a DVD, dual-layer DVD, or Blu-ray

6.   Only one file per the above format

F.   Television Program Tape, DVD, Blu-ray, SD MPEG-2, and HD File End:


1.   All programs produced using FPA's equipment and/or facilities must conclude with:

a.   3 to 5-seconds of a slate that credits Fairfax Public Access

b.   The FPA credits, must include:

i.     "Production Facilities Provided by Fairfax Public Access, Fairfax, VA”

c.    The FPA credits, may include any other relevant information the producer deems necessary

d.    20-seconds of control track black after the end of the credits (tape only)

2.    The FPA logo is available from the Equipment Room staff for television producers who want to incorporate it into their credits

G.   Television Program Control Track:

      Tapes shall have:

1.   Continuous control track with no breaks from head of tape to at least 20-seconds past last frame of tape

2.    At least 20-seconds of black with control track at the end

When naming files, please do NOT use special characters in the file name.  This includes spaces, periods, numeric symbols, etc.  Files should be named as such: PublicAccessShow1.mpg