Video Mastering

Video mastering is the last link in the chain for post-production. All the heavy lifting is complete. You’ve developed a concept, written a script, filmed and edited, and added in special effects. Color grading and final audio mix have been checked. Your vision is right there on the screen, now it’s time to make the master copy.

Video Mastering Defined

Also called “finishing,” video mastering is simply the term for finalizing your video product. During the mastering process, we establish the version you’ll deploy to whatever medium you’ve selected for distribution. And your medium of choice does matter. Whether the video goes to broadcast, shoots out on social, gets burned to a physical copy, it’s all a different. 

Each format has its own mastering specifications for video content to air. It’s important to select your preferred deployment medium way back in the pre-production stage of your video production process to ensure the master is correctly prepared.

Where Is The Content Going?

There are four primary types of mastering, based on where your video will air. While the content may look the same to the viewer, both the process and end specifications for each video file type varies. This is why each format requires its own master copy.

Broadcast Mastering

Creating the master to air on television or cable is a complicated process with a lot of steps. The color and audio mix are carefully tweaked to be just right for this particular format. In addition, each television station or cable network has its own specifications for video. These often include:

  • Number of seconds the screen must be black.
  • What information should appear on the slate.
  • Special ISCI code which consists of four or eight alpha-numeric characters.

The ISCI code actually informs whoever gets the video at the station where the video master you’ve submitted belongs. Without this, your content won’t have a slot to air.

Web Mastering

This medium is pretty broad. Different applications and websites process video differently. It’s good to view specifications for video submission within each app/website before you go to master your video: you may need separate masters for different applications. YouTube, for example, doesn’t do much to your video content once a master is properly submitted; however, it does automatically lower your volume. For this reason, videos mastered specifically for YouTube might be louder than you’d normally watch. 

DVD or Blu-ray

For corporate videos or promotional content, you’ll most likely want a master for the Web &/or broadcast. But if you’ve got a film or documentary, it’s nice to have a hard copy around to show off. Creating a DVD or Blu-ray of your film typically includes compressing and converting the original movie file into the proper format to play on a DVD or Blu-ray player. Titles pages, menus, chapters, and more get added at this stage based on your specifications. Since this master isn’t going to air anywhere outside of a physical player, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to specifications.

Digital Signage

You may not think about video content for outdoor advertising, but the advent and popularity of digital billboards and interactive posters presents a great opportunity to show off. You won’t always have sound, but you can certainly animate a quick video for display. 

Digital signage typically operates through a media player, running specific software that pushes ads out to the proper display screens. Based on what software and which media player the signage uses, you’ll have specific requirements to follow for your master copy. Working directly with an experienced outdoor advertising partner can help clarify your mastering needs.

Why Mastering Is So Important

There’s one main reason for creating so many different master copies: the audio. Each medium has different sound levels, and sending a master with the imbalanced ones leads to either a way too quiet or WAY too loud viewing experience for audiences. Mastering improperly can also lead to your video getting rejected by the end deployment site. This rejection is often accompanied by a rationale that’s too technical to really understand. This makes it hard to fix the master and resubmit it, unless you have a knowledgeable expert on staff to help you troubleshoot.

Video Mastering In The Atlanta Area

ECG Productions offers superior mastering services. Whether your video content airs on TV, the internet, or somewhere else, we understand how to create the right master for you! Our deep knowledge of every kind of specification under the sun ensures our masters will play perfectly. What’s more, with our expertise we can also consult on why master copies you have are being rejected. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create the final copy of your video project and get it successfully deployed.