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Orry Verducci1,645 posts since 1 Feb 2005
Anglia (West) Look East
I wonder if the fade is for any particular reason? Do STV need it for a clean start to the programme? Weirdly I've seen that some late night shows - Jackpot and Nightscreen just do a straight cut. And the 9.25 crossover always has a period of black before the ident, which feels like an unnecessary anachronism (especially given we've once seen GMB do a split screen to ITN).

As the ident are played out on the network feed used by all regions, the second of black is to provide a clean point for STV and UTV to opt in, as you suggest (although it's not so important for UTV anymore). If they didn't there's always the risk that less than perfect automation times would lead to a couple of frames of the ITV ident going out on for example STV, which they wouldn't be too pleased about.


Transmission are supposed to insert the second of black on all junctions, but for the overnight junctions where they know with certainty that STV/UTV don't require it they often don't bother.
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MMcG198676 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
Transmission are supposed to insert the second of black on all junctions, but for the overnight junctions where they know with certainty that STV/UTV don't require it they often don't bother.


So much for consistency. And funnily enough, they probably would've been better off having a second or so of black inserted before Jackpot247, as there was often a slight picture sync issue when cutting to that programme. The black could've helped disguise that switch a little.

I'm curious about the slight differences between UTV and ITV playout. UTV idents cut to black whilst ITV idents fade to black. Any particular reason for that difference? It does strike me that UTV is being played out from kit that has less functionality than that playing out the main ITV network feed (e.g., no ECPs on UTV).
Orry Verducci1,645 posts since 1 Feb 2005
Anglia (West) Look East
I'm curious about the slight differences between UTV and ITV playout. UTV idents cut to black whilst ITV idents fade to black. Any particular reason for that difference? It does strike me that UTV is being played out from kit that has less functionality than that playing out the main ITV network feed (e.g., no ECPs on UTV).

I'm not sure of the exact technical setup of ITV's broadcast chain so I can't say with certainty, but I believe UTV is setup in the same/similar way to all the other (southern) regions. Therefore it obviously won't have all the capabilites the main network feed has, such as dedicated graphics for ECP's, but would still be fairly capable in terms of playing out video and cutting between live sources.


Usually transitions are a standard feature of any master control cross-point, be it a dedicated vision mixer or an integrated channel device, so all the regions should be able to fade to black if they want to. Therefore I suspect UTV not fading to black is nothing more than a difference in how the black events are scheduled in the automation playlist. I don't think ITV have faded to black that long themselves, I only noticed they started doing it a few weeks ago as they always used to hard cut, so it may be when they changed ITV they forgot to change UTV.
noggin14,603 posts since 26 Jun 2001
I'm curious about the slight differences between UTV and ITV playout. UTV idents cut to black whilst ITV idents fade to black. Any particular reason for that difference? It does strike me that UTV is being played out from kit that has less functionality than that playing out the main ITV network feed (e.g., no ECPs on UTV).

I'm not sure of the exact technical setup of ITV's broadcast chain so I can't say with certainty, but I believe UTV is setup in the same/similar way to all the other (southern) regions. Therefore it obviously won't have all the capabilites the main network feed has, such as dedicated graphics for ECP's, but would still be fairly capable in terms of playing out video and cutting between live sources.


Usually transitions are a standard feature of any master control cross-point, be it a dedicated vision mixer or an integrated channel device, so all the regions should be able to fade to black if they want to. Therefore I suspect UTV not fading to black is nothing more than a difference in how the black events are scheduled in the automation playlist. I don't think ITV have faded to black that long themselves, I only noticed they started doing it a few weeks ago as they always used to hard cut, so it may be when they changed ITV they forgot to change UTV.


Wouldn't you need a vision mixer (or IP equivalent) dedicated/available to each destination Playout for any processing of a video signal (i.e. fades to black, dissolves etc.)? That's more functionality than a router cross-point would allow (which would be cut only)

I wouldn't be surprised if some aspects of regionalisation didn't get that level of sophistication and instead got 'cuts-only' transitions (which can be handled much more easily at a router or IP-equivalent level)
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Orry Verducci1,645 posts since 1 Feb 2005
Anglia (West) Look East
Wouldn't you need a vision mixer (or IP equivalent) dedicated/available to each destination Playout for any processing of a video signal (i.e. fades to black, dissolves etc.)? That's more functionality than a router cross-point would allow (which would be cut only)

I wouldn't be surprised if some aspects of regionalisation didn't get that level of sophistication and instead got 'cuts-only' transitions (which can be handled much more easily at a router or IP-equivalent level)

If they're changing sources on the router, then yes it would only be able to cut.


Playout chains are usually designed to have a more capable master control cross-point for each channel, so I've assumed that ITV have followed this for the regions and aren't doing cuts on the router, but I agree with you in that I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't bothered. In UTV's case however I would have thought they would have one, given how much local presentation it broadcasts.

Considering that the ITV transmission facilities aren't that old, and that every region has to have its own video server and basic graphics capability for the DOG (assuming it's inserted regionally, which I think it is), I would have thought they'd use an integrated channel device to playout the regions, such as SAM/Grass Valley's ICE. If so that would have full master control cross-point capabilities.

Like I say I'm not sure of the exact setup for ITV, I'm only going off the bits I've seen/heard, so I could be totally off the mark.
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Asa3,574 posts since 22 Mar 2001 Administrator
Meridian (South East) South East Today
As the ident are played out on the network feed used by all regions, the second of black is to provide a clean point for STV and UTV to opt in, as you suggest (although it's not so important for UTV anymore).

Cheers for confirming. Helps me out anyway, the black detection seems really reliable and I've started coupling it with scene detection so in the scenario where it's breakbumper straight into the ident, that should be spot on (although currently there's lots of those pesky short DOI trails getting in the way!)
Markymark7,236 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Asa, do you have any plans to expand this excellent idea for the upcoming ITV refresh?


That’s a good shout. And yep, it’s all dependent on the signal. If it’s the ident then perfect but even if it’s the start of the programme that’s not too bad as I’ll rewind 30secs. Just as long as it’s consistent either way.

When I briefly plugged in another tuner to test recording channels on another mux, the HDD lost power! The old Pi is still up and running so I’ll try it on that before investing in a powered hub (which I guess is what I need).

I’ve still no idea why BBC Four is so wildly out compared to the other channels though.


You are not alone with this problem, and affecting BBC 4 HD on Freesat too....

https://forums.digitalspy.com/discussion/2315857/bbc-four-hd-no-pdc#latest
Asa3,574 posts since 22 Mar 2001 Administrator
Meridian (South East) South East Today
That’s interesting to know. I thought I’d fire off a complaint via the website just to make sure it’s still known about and that afternoon I got a very nice reply explaining that it was a known issue and is being investigated as a priority, which is great.

Don’t think I’ve ever bothered complaining before, I should have thrown in a moan about Oneness while I was at it!

For now I’ll keep the recordings going but have removed them off the homepage.

On another note, every BBC One drama recording is now going to be ruined by that BBC Drama sting 😡 A little surprised as it’ll mean viewers won’t get any announcer warnings recorded now.
Last edited by Asa on 8 January 2019 9:38pm - 2 times in total
thegeek5,072 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London
Just curious as to why the idents into the Party Political Broadcasts on BBC One (last night and last Wednesday) weren't captured - is there something unusual about the way these are transmitted? Traditionally, you get a "this is BBC One" VO over a regular ident, followed by "now a Party Political Broadcast by..." over a separate bit of pres - I wonder if they end up being flagged differently in the automation because of this.
Asa3,574 posts since 22 Mar 2001 Administrator
Meridian (South East) South East Today
Not 100% sure on that one. I know they don't appear in the listings so maybe the software needs a programme to do the flag detection for. Ideally it would permanently monitor and just trigger on each flag change (which would help record extra shows shown because of a programme underrun) but this is probably beyond the requirements of a simple PVR.

Virgin curiously schedules BBC Weather as a separate programme at 10:42 but this never shows up on Freeview, I'm surprised why there would be a difference. But then I'm also not sure where they get some of their awful programme thumbnails from!

I'm now detecting the BBC Drama sting (or is it 'blips' as they're known within the BBC?) and ITV endboards so it should be helping to produce more accurate start/end points. I'm giving up on the bespoke ident identifier in favour of a third party solution that seems to be more accurate in the few tests I've done so far.

Oh and BBC Four's still all over the place.