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How to Deliver Live/Late Programmes and OBs

The Topicality Status of your programme will be determined by the commissioner at the point of commission. The definitions below are additionally used to define the requirements for live and late feeds and Outside Broadcasts (OBs).

Live: Whole programmes played from a live source eg OB, Studio, abroad.

Off-Site: Programmes on tape but which are not delivering to the London Playout area. This could include programmes transmitting from a Nation or Region, an outside facilities house, another BBC building or an edit suite.

Quick Turnaround / Late Edits: Programmes which are not live, but 'as-live', with material being turned round immediately and sent down the line from an OB, studio or edit suite.
 

Requirements for all live/late programmes and OBs

It is the responsibility of production to book all the 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.

You must know your commissioned format when booking feeds and arranging off-air recordings for delivery to Playout to ensure the correct circuits are booked and the right tape formats are used.

All programmes must supply a standby programme if requested.

All programmes playing live into Network Playout (Red Bee Media) should run their titles (or recorded pre-title sequences) from minus 1" starts. N.B. 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 layout that the correct title sequence is loaded and the machine is ready to go.

Live productions recording 'PasBs' for subsequent scheduled repeats must ensure that a clock is present at the start of the recording. If the only way of guaranteeing this is for the programme titles to be played from a longer cue when played in live, Red Bee Media will accept this.

The BBC's Specific Requirements for Programme Delivery are available on the BBC Delivering Quality Technical Standards website.

Open Talkback should be offered to Playout (Red Bee Media) 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. For further information on working with the Red Bee Media Playout team you can download Operational Guidelines from the download section of this page.

Currently production must ensure a master tape of the programme is made and delivered to BBC Information and Archives (I&A) after transmission. Details of file delivery for I&A will be given when required.  

The cost of this should be included in programme budgets (N.B. for Independent Entertainment and Factual programmes this will be organised by the Programme Delivery Unit on behalf of the production).
 

Additional Requirements for Off-Site Programmes

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

Additional Requirements for Quick Turn-round Programmes and Late Edits

If a programme is planning to deliver their transmission tape to the London Playout Area, but it is still being edited at one hour before transmission then production have to make arrangements to book lines and circuits from their edit suite to the Playout Area.

If the tape is not likely to arrive in the Playout Area 30 minutes before transmission, then the programme must transmit from the edit suite and production are required to remain in the edit suite for the duration of the transmission.

Late deliveries and fast turnaround programmes may be recorded direct to playout servers, contact Red Bee Media for more information.

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

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 with the exception of the Transmission Form which is not currently required.

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