Miranda CTO Michel Proulx says Active Format Description — meta-data embedded in TV content to control aspect ratio conversation from transmission to viewing — is the best bet for creating continuity among programming and ads.
Active Format Description — meta-data embedded in TV content to control aspect ratio conversation from transmission to viewing — is the best bet for creating continuity among programming and ads broadcast in and viewed on a variety of formats, according to an expert.
“The command is built into the content,” said Michel Proulx, Miranda Technologies Chief Technology Officer.
Speaking at the HD World convention Wednesday in New York, he said AFD virtually eliminates the errors that occur when the delivery format of transmissions is converted from a 4:3 to 16×9 format, possibly several times from broadcast to viewing.
Though 16×9 transmission is now the primary delivery format, there is still 50-plus years’ worth of 4:3 content, which was used in the age of analog, and is still used by cable companies and viewers, he said.
Having a system like AFD, eliminates the risk of airing back-to-back content that doesn’t mesh — or simply doesn’t look good, he said. When aspect ration conversion is not handled properly (a process that can take place as many as three times between transmission and viewing) content format may obviously not jibe with viewing platforms, airing as in letter box format or with side shading, he said,
“There’s always more than one aspect ratio conversion going on down the path, and the conversion is not always in control of the broadcaster,” he said. Master control, affiliates, cable companies and viewers all could play a role in such conversions, he said.
AFD, in turn, offers a uniform system for converting content to and from the two formats, making viewing more seamless, Proulx said.
Though automated conversion offers some of the same benefits, AFD takes the processes one step further by putting a special code into the content itself that triggers the conversions.
“AFD are signals that actually are carried throughout the entire chain,” Proulx said. “It achieves the exact same thing as controlling conversion by automation. The difference is that it’s embedded.”