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Your QC stories, please! :) Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Your QC stories, please! :)

Hey y'all!
I'm compiling a lecture for young and (interested) seasoned colleagues about facing and mastering QC issues. Just to have some backup examples, I'd be interested to know about any particular adventures you've had in the weird, diverse and wonderful world of facing QC.
I'd love to hear about anything you wish to share about standards, your most outrageous QC rejection, stubborn QC guys, cool QC guys, but also if you yourself (like me btw) perform QC now and again, any stories from that angle are also welcome.
You may also PM and, of course, any submissions that go into my lecture will be treated with utmost discretion.
Thanks in advance!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 

In my little world of broadcast production, most of the QC engineers have been replaced by software as a front end.

I had a client that wanted a :15 second TV spot to air back to back as a :30 second spot on a well known cable outlet. The 30 was rejected because the embedded meta data showed the QC software that the spot was a 15 even though the actual length was 30.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I mix a lot of content for A&E. I have so many horror stories about QC I don't even know where to start. Oh Maybe the time when they thought a break in the music was a music drop out. I could go on and on about how ridiculous there QC is.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
Not quite a QC acceptance story, but related:

Documentary for one of the premium cable networks. Lots of (macho) sound effect recreations and library scoring. Director wanted those effects to fill the stereo field. Everybody's happy with the result. Ship off the mix and stems, no squawk from network.

Night of the showing, director calls me up: "What happened to all those effects in the second act? They were there, but they seemed a lot duller. By the third act they were back where they should be."

Checked my deliverables; all were as they should be. Can't imagine the local cable outlet doing anything that would affect only one act.

Turned out a network exec didn't like one of the library cues in the second act, because it had been used in a show he'd produced years earlier. Had their people crossfade to something else on the music stem, then remix that act. In mono. Using the mini-monitors in their Avid suite.

...
Later, the director paid me to remix the second act using their music.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
the director and music composer did not want and did not provide any LFE material so the .1 track had nothing in it.... rejected by QC...we called and tried to explain it to no avail. I ended up dropping a couple bull**** things in the LFE track to satisfy QC.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I sent you a PM ;-)
Old 1 week ago
  #7
QC

I just sent my files to QC for an episode of a Netflix Original that were 24 minutes of tone! 5.1, LoRo, M&E, DV.....All 1khz tone!

Damn keyboard shortcut!

Oh well, QC kindly shot me an email outside of the normal wide email chain.

Whoops!
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Addict
So many it’s hard to pick one. Just one example:
Blazing cracking fire in the shot and scene. QC note: Digital clicks throughout scene.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garret View Post
So many it’s hard to pick one. Just one example:
Blazing cracking fire in the shot and scene. QC note: Digital clicks throughout scene.
I've had the same problem with soccer ball kicks and foot steps...
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
nucelar's Avatar
 

Hi there,
Here's one I shared some time ago..
My most recent QC rejection
also you can talk about the netflix logo from here: Netflix Deliverables

The empty LFE has hit me more than once, I now make sure there is always something there

One of the things that annoy me most is that some television requires stereo content, I've had to "stereoize" perfectly fine old mono episodes just to make the QC software happy.

Another fact regarding the QC department of large networks. QC rejections always peak for the most bizarre reasons at the beginning of the summer, when the usual QC technicians go on holidays and the subtitute interns want to prove how smart they are

Another classic: In a documentary we have dubbed. "Spanish narrator (voiceover) out of sync by 5 frames compared to original narrator"
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
pethenis's Avatar
 

Documentary about the Nigerian filmindustry: Nollywood. All the sound of those productions is distorted, all of the time. They seem to like that?
Took 10 phonecalls saying it wasn’t me and and an exec explaining it and they only responded with “but it’s distorted”...
Old 1 week ago
  #12
I had to bite on this. I mixed on-air promos for a cable network in Silver Spring, MD for eight years with zero QC rejections. Literally a few thousand spots. One day they were re-tagging a nationally produced/great sounding :15 sponsored ad for Hershey's. Simple three-line VO with music, no SFX. To save money, they had their young editor re-voice the new copy on an SM58 in her edit bay. She did five takes that were loaded with huge lip-plosives. I mixed the spot from their OMF and it was rejected by QC. The very experienced producer phoned me and we came to a quick understanding about the nature of the problem, and she sent me all five reads. All were bad; we went with the best and tried to shave low-frequency and leading-edges off the lip-plosives. She approved the revision and it was rejected by QC for "pops" and "clicks". The editor phoned me first thing the next morning to chew me out for not being able to hear well enough to hear what QC was hearing. To make her point, she held the phone up to her P.O.S. loudspeaker and blasted the sound over the phone line to me. When she was done, I explained to her that it was the VO, hyper close-mic'd on a dynamic mic, and that the noise was nothing to do with audio post. I suspected it was her voice but didn't specifically blame her. She went nuts and wrote a manifesto email to the head of the network.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

One time i moxed an entire season of a reality gv show for abc. It was a hout long 5.1 and the season was 13 eps long. All passed qc. The production company was sold so by the time the series air'ed, the logo at tye end of the tape need to be changed so they changed all the tapes logos, abc qc's all the tapes again and every one of the mixes fails. Abc changed the way they qc'ed the shows. I had to slightly alter and layback 39 hour long tapes. The domestic and 2 international versions. Took a month of woeking on the weekends for free
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandoncross View Post
One time i moxed an entire season of a reality gv show for abc. It was a hout long 5.1 and the season was 13 eps long. All passed qc. The production company was sold so by the time the series air'ed, the logo at tye end of the tape need to be changed so they changed all the tapes logos, abc qc's all the tapes again and every one of the mixes fails. Abc changed the way they qc'ed the shows. I had to slightly alter and layback 39 hour long tapes. The domestic and 2 international versions. Took a month of woeking on the weekends for free
No way you should have done that for free!
Old 6 days ago
  #15
Lives for gear
Yeah, you've buried the lead. What were the circumstances that persuaded you to do that work for free? Did you own a piece of the show?
Old 5 days ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Rose View Post
Yeah, you've buried the lead. What were the circumstances that persuaded you to do that work for free? Did you own a piece of the show?
No the spec that I failed for was always there. ABC bought a new meter that measured the phase between front and surround speakers a little differently. The production company claimed we didn't hit the spec. We did. We passed the first time. It was not black and white. It was a judgement call by the QC tech that ABC got behind. In the end, it was either do that or have a pretty big fight with a client that gave me a lot of work. I just did it to keep the piece.
Old 5 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Mundox's Avatar
Jewelry clinks reported as "digital splat".
Old 5 days ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mundox View Post
Jewelry clinks reported as "digital splat".
It doesn't seem uncommon for QC personnel to report things that sound "odd", without actually watching content and thinking about context. In one case I got a rejection where everything was in spec and the QC person in charge hadn't listened to the mix even. So he was completely unable to understand that the mix was in spec and sounded fine. All he based his objection on was some random person somewhere in his department saying something was wrong.

Too bad when common sense takes a backseat to what I believe to be fear (or the attempt to justify one's existence).
Old 5 days ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Many QC notes seem to indicate that the person who made them wasn't watching the show, otherwise they'd see what the noise was from.... Other notes often are about things that no one casually watching the show at home would ever hear or notice, thus a suspicion that they are motivated to "find something" in every show. I've never understood why their notes need to say FAIL in big letters (thus sending producers into fibrillation) rather than them just asking "what is this noise" or etc @ a given TC and letting us explain?
Old 5 days ago
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Sndnerd's Avatar
 

I agree they seem to love to put FAIL in big letters. Thankfully most producers understand the process and 'get it', but not all.. younger ones, EPs, bond companies ect can easily get bent out of shape over these reports. Does anyone know if there's a certifying/governing/sanctioning body that these companies abide by?
Old 5 days ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sndnerd View Post
I agree they seem to love to put FAIL in big letters. Thankfully most producers understand the process and 'get it', but not all.. younger ones, EPs, bond companies ect can easily get bent out of shape over these reports. Does anyone know if there's a certifying/governing/sanctioning body that these companies abide by?
They abide by their own standards, such as they are, with an eye on the ATSC specs (1770 etc in USA). In the past it was often the case that the standards were a hodgepodge of lifts from old docs done by someone who didn't understand what was in them and being implemented by very literal minded people with an axe to grind. Since ATSC etc things have been a little better. But networks do make their own separate specs at least to some degree. And then they toss in warnings like those about presentation on "legacy" systems and outlets...
Old 4 days ago
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Andrew Mottl's Avatar
 

Besides from the editors laying back a stereo mix as mono (not panning the legs in the Avid), I had an R128 kids series where the first half of the season was fine, the second was "too loud" (by just about -22 instead of -23).
Double measured, phoned up etc. to find out that they had had internal issues with the calibration of different QC workstations at their facility.
I.e. reads to me like: "we are going analog into our measurement tools". Why this happens in these times I do not know. But cost time and got people nervous, for nothing :(
Old 4 days ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 

I had a similar situation with Nat Geo several years ago. They were going HDCamSR analog into the LM100 to get readings and their meter was off.

As part of my job, I do a fair bit of QC even still. And while I attempt to look at issues in terms of a mixer, I am sure that I have written notes, even recently, that have annoyed mixers.

On one of my last trips out to LA to visit some friends of mine, I was on a stage in West Hollywood and the mixer turned to me and asked, 'Why are we all of a sudden getting a bunch of notes about mouth ticks on this show?' My solution was simply to have the post super call up QC and explain the condition of the source versus the reality of the budget. There is only so much time and there are more important things to consider. That said, I QC in a room where my 7.1.2 speakers are no more than 6.5' from the listening position (the room is both acoustically treated and EQed pretty flat). I am not shooting sound 35' feet from behind a perf screen. I can pick up on things that just get swallowed up in that big of a space.

Randall



Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mottl View Post
Besides from the editors laying back a stereo mix as mono (not panning the legs in the Avid), I had an R128 kids series where the first half of the season was fine, the second was "too loud" (by just about -22 instead of -23).
Double measured, phoned up etc. to find out that they had had internal issues with the calibration of different QC workstations at their facility.
I.e. reads to me like: "we are going analog into our measurement tools". Why this happens in these times I do not know. But cost time and got people nervous, for nothing :(
Old 4 days ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 

I've had convos with producers in which I've had to posit that many things being called out in stems will never be heard when an audience is listening to a mix, no one listens to the stems solo'ed except QC, right? Perfection is good but it is also expensive, and our time for changes is short. Often there are serious content changes to be made and archival that turned out to NOT be available needing to be subbed and so on--let's get that done and then see how much time is left....

Another common fail-point with QC comes from percussion or SFX baked into library music, that sounds to them like a "noise" or a "blip", in their parlance.
Old 4 days ago
  #25
In defense of QC... sort of...

for every 25 annoying, irrelevant, or just plain not true QC notes... there's the 1 that's actually a good note..

I just make sure everyone knows that it will 100% get kicked back from QC. If it's their job to find mistakes... they'll find them...
I try to figure out ahead of time who's paying for it... Usually my agreement is "first round's on us" then after that... pay for it.

If you just give in to the fact that it's coming back on QC anyway... it's kinda freeing to have that safety net...
Old 4 days ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sventeck View Post
In defense of QC... sort of...

for every 25 annoying, irrelevant, or just plain not true QC notes... there's the 1 that's actually a good note..

I just make sure everyone knows that it will 100% get kicked back from QC. If it's their job to find mistakes... they'll find them...
I try to figure out ahead of time who's paying for it... Usually my agreement is "first round's on us" then after that... pay for it.

If you just give in to the fact that it's coming back on QC anyway... it's kinda freeing to have that safety net...
the thing is, I can mix for 95% of the networks and almost never fail qc. 2 or 3 networks just have very dumb qc habits.
Old 3 days ago
  #27
Gear Head
 

I once worked in a QC/Distribution type department at one of the major networks. It was often surprising some of the deliverables we would get from the big post houses for the top tier shows. Glaring issues like stems being printed incorrectly, over-modulations, and other oddities. It's not all guys flagging empty Lfe channels.
Old 3 days ago
  #28
Well given file transfers and deliverables are often done by the least experienced staff at most places it's not surprising...and if the QC is outsourced and going to pick up problems anyway, why waste time picking up the issues yourself and just let them do it for you? (I'm about 50% joking).

Rob Walker AMPS
Old 3 days ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thermisonic View Post
Well given file transfers and deliverables are often done by the least experienced staff at most places it's not surprising...and if the QC is outsourced and going to pick up problems anyway, why waste time picking up the issues yourself and just let them do it for you? (I'm about 50% joking).

Rob Walker AMPS
I have had that same thought. If they are going to kick it back anyway, why should I QC my mix myself? Not joking but I haven't gotten to this level yet. Too much pride in my work, I think.
Old 2 days ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom chapman View Post
Hey y'all!
I'm compiling a lecture for young and (interested) seasoned colleagues about facing and mastering QC issues. Just to have some backup examples, I'd be interested to know about any particular adventures you've had in the weird, diverse and wonderful world of facing QC.
I'd love to hear about anything you wish to share about standards, your most outrageous QC rejection, stubborn QC guys, cool QC guys, but also if you yourself (like me btw) perform QC now and again, any stories from that angle are also welcome.
You may also PM and, of course, any submissions that go into my lecture will be treated with utmost discretion.
Thanks in advance!


i did mixes, laybacks, qc, tape duplications, qc, file mastering , syndication edits, international distribution for fox, disney, warner sony and others. then went to work at fox for this sort of stuff, helped w the specs etc.. now into music/sample libraries but i might be able to give a somewhat different view on qc and audio post etc.

one and the most important thing i have to say that... there is a ton of people in the chain. the QC'er is just more like a tool who holds the interests of the distributor. they get hired by 3rd party companies who get the specs. if the specs say 6 discrete channels for the 5.1 mix and there is no lfe then that will get rejected. thats one example that might sum up a lot of things. The QCer doesn't know if there is suppose to be signal there. he cannot be guessing. specs say things.. then do this type of things. very robotic. That rejected qc report goes to the client who also doesn't know. and this is the part that a lot of people might find weird. that qc report came in along with 50 other emails about similar or other issues.
so the email gets forwarded to the producers to confirm. who will turn to the audio layback engineer to confirm. who also doesn't know. he might of gotten the session like that. he might be an assistant or he might be from a completely different studio who is doing something else.
thats already 3 or 4 emails for one simple thing, along with the other 50 emails that also turned into 4 or 5 different emails and they all are needed yesterday.. cuz surprise.. all distributors are trying to chase international markets to air at the same time as the domestic market.
i might share a story of a famous reboot series that a certain composer wanted a cue revised 2 days before air. (just like the good old times). to later learn it already aired internationally. yes. deadlines and markets around the world have changed a lot. US broadcast is no longer a big deal when streaming pays the same. (im talking $1mill+ type scenarios. ). so one rejection is a LOT more troublesome than before.
so there you go. you have 4 or 5 people trying to figure out if that lfe should have signal, and their bosses and clients asking whats up with the hold up, who really don't care about tech stuff.. yes, every show and every issue is important but too many at once gets diluted. I managed a qc dept and i got 3 to 4 pages of rejections. most based on specs. but even got them on already approved masters. qc'ers, as mentioned above, are a tool of the distributor and therefore want to cover their asses.
and thats not to mention that if the show gets rejected by a german client or french client.. its all the same process but worst. its more people and translation from qc'er to qc'er gets funky.
the good news is that since most studios have turned into file master then they can see the tones in the lfe track and realize there is no signal on purpose.
QCing has been taken over by Baton qc but there is still human qc. but everyone wants to lower the price of qc which then you get more newbies or a lot of turnarounds which leads to more and stupid rejections.. which leads to more emails that waste time.. its like crack or something.


one story: mine is getting a phone call from one the producer of a top show. and i mean a huge very well known producer yelling at me why didn't he get a call about a rejection ... or something like that. i had no idea what he was talking about. that was about 8 am. by 4 pm i learned that during a rush qc in the weekend, the weekend qc guy saw a 818 number displayed on one of the cell phones of one the characters of the show when he received an important-story related text. so he (the qc guy) stopped the qc, called that number to make sure its not a real number (because its one the specs to not use real numbers). the call was to one of the production offices in one of the top studios, who called the main distributor to let them know... who then they emailed that famous producer who decided call me to yell at me at 8 am monday for going over his head for something i had no knowledge about. long story short, they replace the 2 sec shot with a 555 number. but there you go. 4-6 people, tons of emails, calls and a whole day for a minor miscommunication. and thats whats this industry is plagued with. miscommunication. audio guys don't know what the producers is doing, who doesn't know what the distributor needs, who the distributor doesn't care about tech stuff, just wants to sell it and sell it fast.

At the ends. it depends on the qc guy and what previous issues they had with other shows or other episodes. sometimes its different qc guys in a facility who use episode 1 for issues. and he wrote something like hum on left surround or click on main title and its something hat has been approved. then the next guy will think to him/herself "hmmm, ok that is approved as is but i better make sure there are no other ticks or hum in other places" and it snowballs from there. there is some sort of red flag from previous episodes... or even issues that happened with a completely different studio, so those qc guys will be on high alert for that tick, hum, drop etc.

well, there a lot more. it was like night and day being the one who delivered stuff to the one who gets the stuff and uses it according to plan/specs.
i got the chance to talk to actual clients on the other side of the world about specific rejections i remember doing and other stuff like that which made me realize that all this hollywood/LA/entertainment/post stuff is a bunch of people in bubbles and have some sort of spec and impersonal emails to get the communication rolling. suddenly they care little about certain things audio guys think its important and viceversa.
I do see very knowledgable folks here and working in burbank/la and also see very good producers and managers at distributors fall into this miscommunication hole sometimes due to big studio distubutors policies, old specs, saving face for business etc. maybe due to some poor qc guys who wrote something that can be interpreted a little off in the short space he had to write or just getting adjusted to new clients and technologies.
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