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noggin13,701 posts since 26 Jun 2001
There was a 'Flash Gordon' device that the BBC used before Harding for a similar test. ISTR it was in use well into the 00s - but may date back earlier.

There were infamous 'banks of flash guns' sequences that were broadcast in News (I think one of Diana, Princess of Wales for instance) that were so bad that they were only allowed to be repeated in slow mo.


This isn't TV related, but it's a question I've had for a while. Presumably there are actors who suffer from epilepsy, how is this dealt with in regards to the paparazzi?


Not everyone with epilepsy has photosensitive-epilepsy, and there are other conditions that are photosensitive. I suspect if you know you suffer from a serious photosensitivity you try to avoid situations where you would be liable to be affected by those triggers.

It's also not just flashing lights that can cause people to have real issues. Driving past trees with the sun shining through them is a real issue for some people.

Also - its worth remembering that a scene that is shown on the TV that would be an issue, may not be an issue if you were there physically, and vice versa.
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james-20013,500 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Of course Japan will have regulations on flashing images, thanks to that infamous Pokemon incident.

Mind you I saw the Poltergeist film on Sky Cinema the other night and the amount of flashing images in that particularly around the static on the TV in the film was probably just on the borderline of acceptable IMO.

That being said, a lot of visual effects seem to apply in video and cinema films that it's questionable sometimes whether if it was a TV show they'd get away with it, unless there's a higher threshold for a cinematic film when its aired on TV?


Wasn't this the incident that led to the Harding test over here?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aVQLHQqUQc

Arguably it's worse than the Pokemon one because at least with that you had to be watching the show, this was an advert that could come on at any time.


Troy McClure selling us pot noodles while giving us siezures, how surreal.
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james-20013,500 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
The background to the end credits now they've given up on the wideshot of the studio is clearly one of the cameras pointing at one of the neon light boxes, and being out of focus, you can even see the camera wobbling slightly when you look closely.

Notice there was no extended playout at all on this week's BBC4 episode, it even faded out before the credit had gone and the video zoomed back to full screen, which is very unusual, I doubt that little was shown even on the original broadcast.
james-20013,500 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
The Sly Fox music video that closed out the 17/7/86 edition doesn't look to me like it would pass modern epilepsy tests, and with the worst bits being while the credits were running it may well have been hard to edit out, I can imagine BBC4 are thankful Mike Smith presented that one and they don't have to worry about how to deal with it.
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noggin13,701 posts since 26 Jun 2001
If you wonder how strict our rules and regs are in this regard, count how many flashing images warnings there are during a UK broadcast of Eurovision. The BBC literally plaster astons on screen during virtually every postcard complete with a verbal warning from Graham, Scott or Rylan.


Not strictly true. There are frequent flashing images/strobe effect warning captions, but the verbal warnings from the commentators are far less frequent.

AIUI the straps are used before any song that has failed a Harding test during dress rehearsal the night before, with verbal warnings used more sparingly (but usually before severe failures as well as the occasional generic warning)

I wouldn't be surprised if the BBC logged their concerns with the EBU as well...
JamesM0984328 posts since 21 Jun 2018
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Sounds about right. There was one number in 2016 that was exceptionally severe and prolonged. This year I was in the arena. Now I don't suffer but the Hungarian number made me feel a little queasy for a bit when in the golden circle.

I'm a little surprised the EBU don't have a blanket technical standard on this given they've pioneered so many other open/common formats, standards and procedures. Infact I'm quite surprised Eurovision hasn't produced a Pokemon-style incident somewhere yet.

Actually talking of ESC this reminds me of taking a friend with me to see Celine Dion at Birmingham NIA last year - she said she suffered from seizures... en route to the show. She wasn't triggered though.
noggin13,701 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Sounds about right. There was one number in 2016 that was exceptionally severe and prolonged. This year I was in the arena. Now I don't suffer but the Hungarian number made me feel a little queasy for a bit when in the golden circle.

I'm a little surprised the EBU don't have a blanket technical standard on this given they've pioneered so many other open/common formats, standards and procedures. Infact I'm quite surprised Eurovision hasn't produced a Pokemon-style incident somewhere yet.


Off topic a bit - but I guess TOTP is now re-versioned to avoid PSE failures.

The UK's legislation and regulation is amongst the toughest in the world. It's an issue taken far more seriously here than almost anywhere else. There is now an element of personal liability as well - so production team as well as the broadcaster can be held liable for a breach, and any harm caused to their audience, by their broadcast. Many other countries pay lip service to it - but very few mandate approved testing regimes and thus don't prohibit the broadcast of most recorded content that has failed (as they don't test)

The bulk of the EBU's members therefore probably don't consider it an issue - so the EBU hasn't standardised testing for it.

If you look at the formal tech delivery specs of many European countries, they are almost a complete cut and paste of the pan-UK DPP specs (which are very similar to the BBC's original tech specs). SVT's in Sweden even keeps the same chaptering and numbering scheme... However they specifically change the FPA stuff.

Compare UK DPP https://cdn.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ProgrammeDeliverySpecificationLive_DPPGeneric.pdf
with
SVT (Sweden) equivalent http://www.svtb2b.se/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Technical_Specification_for_the_Delivery_of_LIVE_Television_Programmes_to_SVT_v5.0.pdf

UK DPP :
Quote:
Photosensitive Epilepsy and Quality Control
Every programme submitted for transmission must satisfy the Ofcom Photosensitive Epilepsy guidelines, which are detailed in the QC section of this document. Any programme failing to meet these requirements, or any of the other QC requirements, may be rejected and returned to the supplier for repair.
Please be aware that the Producer of the programme as well as the Broadcaster may be liable for any action taken by Ofcom or a member of the public, for a breach of the Photosensitive Epilepsy requirements.


vs Swedish equivalent
Quote:
Photosensitive Epilepsy and Quality Control
SVT is not subject to prevent photosensitive epilepsy by regulation – see section 3.2.


UK QC details
Quote:
3.2. Photosensitive Epilepsy (PSE)
Flickering or intermittent lights and certain types of repetitive visual patterns can cause serious problems for viewers who are prone to photosensitive epilepsy. Children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable.
All UK Television channels are subject to the Ofcom BROADCASTING CODE 2016 which states: Section 2.12
Television broadcasters must take precautions to maintain a low level of risk to viewers who have photosensitive epilepsy. Where it is not reasonably practicable to follow the Ofcom guidance (see the Ofcom website), and where broadcasters can demonstrate that the broadcasting of flashing lights and/or patterns is editorially justified, viewers should be given an adequate verbal and also, if appropriate, text warning at the start of the programme or programme item.
The Ofcom guidance is here.
3.2.1. PSE testing
Programmes for file delivery must be tested using any file based PSE device that meets the guidance given by Ofcom. The DPP maintains a list of devices, available here.
Live and as live programmes may continue to use the Cambridge Research FPA 2.5 PSE device.
Additional requirements for Tape and Live programmes are given in the Tape and Live versions of the DPP delivery specifications.
Broadcasters require a PSE report (pass certificate) to be delivered with all programmes.
• PSE reports must be in pdf form and named according to the broadcaster’s naming convention.
• The relevant metadata details (paperwork for tape) must be completed.
• It is recommended that live programmes produce and keep a copy of the PSE checks carried
out during the final rehearsal (if there is one) and the transmission.
Any failure whatsoever will result in rejection of the programme, and any affected sections must be repaired and re-tested before acceptance.
3.2.2. PSE – broadcast warnings
In exceptional cases, verbal and/or on-screen text warnings may be used at the beginning and during the programme. Each broadcaster has a policy on the inclusion of content that may cause harm or offence and will only be considered if:
• demonstrable attempts have been made to correct or replace the images, and
• the relevant content is completely integral and necessary to the context of the programme, and
• permission to use the relevant content has been cleared by the broadcaster and documented in writing by those responsible for the commissioning/editorial content.
No broadcaster allows a programme maker to authorise the use of warnings for material that fails a PSE test. Advance notification and planning requirements will vary by broadcaster.


and Swedish QC details
Quote:
3.2. Photosensitive Epilepsy (PSE)
Flickering or intermittent lights and certain types of repetitive visual patterns can cause serious problems for viewers who are prone to photosensitive epilepsy. Children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable.
SVT is not subject, by regulation, to prevent photosensitive epilepsy.
3.2.1. PSE testing
See supplement ‘A Product Guide for File-Based Photo Sensitive Epilepsy Testing’ in the document ‘Technical Specification for the Delivery of Television Programmes as Files to SVT’.
3.2.2. PSE – broadcast warnings
Verbal and/or on-screen text warnings may be used at the beginning and during the programme if demonstrable attempts have been made to correct or replace the images, and the relevant content is completely integral and necessary to the context of the programme, and permission to use the relevant content has been cleared by SVT.


As you can see - there are VERY different attitudes to this subject - and until other European countries have content regulation legislation as tough as the UK, I don't think things will change much. On Demand services are an interesting area in regard to this. AIUI Ofcom have no current regulatory framework to cover content provided by people like Amazon Prime video - even when aimed specifically at a UK audience.

On the other hand - I don't know how seriously TV3 in Sweden (which is Ofcom regulated, as they are licensed in the UK not Sweden to bypass Swedish advertising legislation) take their responsibilities in this regard. (They do follow the Product Placement code)
Last edited by noggin on 23 October 2018 2:23pm - 10 times in total