File Layouts

Master control facilities are constantly moving more and more toward complete file-based workflows (workflows in which media is not dubbed to tape in any part of the process). As this happens, we see an increase in the importance of what is known as metadata—unique identifiers, durations, start of message points, etc.

At the non-linear editing stage, certain guidelines can help us ensure the validity of the metadata provided along with your mediafiles. This in turn, can add smoothness and accuracy to the entire workflow as your original files are cataloged and prepared for air. Below, are diagrams that represent proper layout within non-linear editing software, depending on whether you are producing spots with slates or without them.

The single most important element to notice in these diagrams is that commercials should end with a single frame of black. Knowing this information allows our system to determine the duration of your commercial and to protect it from being clipped at the wrong position during ingest.

We recommend not including tone or any audio prior to the start of the commercial because certain transcoding appliances may be thrown off during the process of analyzing the audio of the commercial.

Option 1. Commercial without slate or black

When you add new files to our system we collect all important metadata about these files—this information is forever linked to associated files. Therefore, slates are not really necessary and are deemed optional.

Sample timeline with no leader before commercial content

Option 2. Commercial with leading slate and black

While slate and black is allowed in Spotloader we recommend that files be cut to length and not include any leaders.

If you are producing spots preceded by slate and black, it is important note the position in the layout where the actual commercial starts (relative to the beginning of the slate). This position is commonly known as start point, start of message, or simply SOM.

Sample timeline with slate and black before commercial content
Updated on August 24, 2022