How to deliver live and close to transmission programmes

Within office hours: independent production companies must contact their BBC delivery contact to discuss delivery. BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

Outside of normal office hours: please contact the BBC TV Playout Editors.

The topicality status of the programme will be determined by the commissioner at the point of commission. The definitions below are additionally used to define certain delivery requirements.

Live: A commissioned live broadcast eg OB (outside broadcast), studio, abroad.

Off-site: This could include programmes transmitting from a Nation or region, an outside facilities house, another BBC building or an edit suite.

On day topical: A programme contracted to deliver on day of transmission.

Quick turnaround/late edits: A programme which may deliver after the TX-12 file delivery deadline with material being turned round immediately and sent down the line from an OB, a studio or edit suite.

Find out more about topicality codes on the Technical requirements page.

 

All programmes contracted to deliver ‘close to transmission’ or required to deliver after the TX-12 file delivery deadline will need to deliver via the following two lines feeds options:

  • Lines Recording: the programme cannot deliver within the file delivery deadline and will be played down the line to Ericsson, to be recorded and then played out from server for transmission.
  • Lines to Air: the programme will not be available to deliver via lines recording and must be played out directly to air from the edit via Playout.

In both options an AS-11 file must be delivered within 24 hours of transmission or as directed for the commission.

For further information please see the technical specifications for the delivery of close to transmission programmes (PDF).

 

Requirements for all live/late programmes and OBs

Find further information regarding the technical specification for the delivery of television programmes as AS-11 files on the technical requirements page.

It is the responsibility of the production to book all the appropriate required circuits.

The cost of lines, including communication circuits, and all other facilities deemed necessary by television for safe transmission of these programmes must be included in programme budgets.

For line bookings please contact the Network Booking Agency.

To use the line recording facility, the Ericsson recording must be completed no later than twice the programme duration before the scheduled transmission time. This means the playback of the programme must start no later than three times the programme duration. For example a one-hour programme must start playback three hours before transmission.

Remember lines must be available 30 minutes earlier so they can be checked.

All programmes must supply a standby programme if requested (see below).

 

All programmes playing live into Network Playout (Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services) should run their titles (or recorded pre-title sequences) from minus 1" starts. Note: This does not mean a clock should be present at -1" for ID purposes. Current best practice should be followed ie the clock should drop to black at -3" and early vision should appear at -1". This provides confirmation to both production and Playout that the correct title sequence is loaded and the machine is ready to go.

For further information please see the technical specifications for the delivery of live television programmes (PDF).

Production will ensure that a BBC representative is present throughout the transmission at the agreed contact location from where the programme is being transmitted.

Open Talkback should be offered to Playout (Ericsson) from 10 minutes pre transmission and maintained throughout the duration of the live programme. If production need to cut talkback at any time to maintain confidentiality it should be restored as quickly as possible. Open Talkback during transmission allows Playout to quickly assess whether the production team are aware and reacting to any problems which may occur, and to help identify where in the transmission chain the fault may lie. 

Download the Operational guidelines for live OBs and live studio programmes (PDF).

Production must ensure that an AS-11 of the programme is made and delivered to the BBC within 24 hours after transmission or as directed for the commission.

If a programme has a scheduled repeat (narrative repeat) within 24 hours of the first transmission of a live or close to transmission programme, Ericsson can either keep a copy on the server if the programme was lines recorded, or a recording can be arranged across the Live/Lines to Air transmission. A DPP compliant AS-11 file should be delivered to the BBC within 24 hours after a live or close to TX transmission. 

Independent production companies must discuss the delivery of files for narrative repeat with your BBC delivery contact (within normal office hours). Outside of normal office hours please contact BBC TV Playout Editors. BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

Productions must arrange the lines recordings to server - please contact Broadcast and Media Services Lines Record.

 

Within normal office hours please liaise with relevant BBC delivery contact to confirm details of the booking.

Outside of normal office hours please email BBCTVPlayoutEditors@bbc.co.uk and BBCTVPlayoutPlanners@bbc.co.uk.

 

Points to consider

Programme material exchanged with other countries often has to be converted, not just aspect ratio but also actual television standard eg USA television has approximately 30 frames per second and a colour system called NTSC. In Europe we use approximately 25 frames per second and PAL.

Seek advice on what communications are appropriate for your live feed. This could be anything from a telephone connection to full reverse vision.

For a programme of sufficient complexity, it might be worth considering hiring an engineer from the Broadcast Engineering division of BBC Technology to be at the remote site. He/she would have arranged all of the circuits and communications and be able to organise and trouble-shoot on the day.

The term 'satellite' bookings can be misleading. Unless you have a preference, international circuits are just as likely to be booked on terrestrial optical fibre. This is preferable as it does not have the awkward delay sometimes seen in two-way interviews.

 

Paperwork requirements

All paperwork is required as normal for live programmes. See the delivery timeline for a complete list of paperwork required for standard productions.

 

Standby programmes

  • A standby programme may be requested for any programme with potentially sensitive content (eg programmes including plane crashes).
  • This may be agreed at the point of commission or at a later stage closer to transmission.
  • Standby programmes may also be required for Close to Transmission programmes and for all programmes not transmitting from the Broadcast Centre Playout area (network programmes) or Scot TX (BBC Scotland programmes).
  • Standbys must be approved by TV Planning and Scheduling (or Commissioning and Scheduling for BBC Scotland programmes) and delivered as a non-topical programme.