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.
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.
Option 2. Commercial with leading slate and black
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.