Frank Schönberger May 24, 2021 2:04:07 PM 11 min read

AS-11 UK DPP Content Creation: MainConcept has you covered!

A few years prior to the turn of the century, the television industry began the monumental transition from analog to digital production (often referred to as the digital television transition or digital switchover). With this conversion came a host of challenges—including the arduous task of addressing industry standards (for everything from picture and sound quality to editorial and technical metadata) and determining new best practices for the industry. It’s been a long, slow rollout, but in 2009, the digital switchover got a boost from work done by the UK’s public service broadcaster.

Why was the Digital Production Partnership founded?

The Digital Production Partnership (DDP) was born out of necessity as UK broadcasters started to address the complexity of digital television production and recognized the need to support content from other broadcasters and content producers. The initial goal was to get the most value from the complete digital TV production process by addressing topics such as technical and metadata standards. One of the many positive results of the DPP’s efforts is the AS-11 UK DPP media contribution and delivery format, developed in conjunction with the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA).

In addition to the AS-11 UK DPP, the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) consortium also released other technical specifications for file-based program delivery. In October 2014, UK service broadcasters including BBC, ITV, BT Sport, and Channel 5 switched to the AS-11 UK DPP file format. As of today, the DPP initiative counts more than 350 members—not only in Europe but throughout the world. 

What is AS-11 UK DPP?

Based on the AMWA AS-11 UK DPP specifications, UK broadcasters defined a file delivery format for final program deliveries, i.e., “air-ready masters.” The AS-11 UK DPP HD profile is based on AVC-Intra Class 100 and the SD profile is based on MPEG-2 IMX 50, both multiplexed into the MXF OP1A format. For broadcasters, this standard clarifies what to expect. And, if their content providers conform to the standard, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises or incompatible content. Moreover, all required descriptive metadata will be delivered within the stream, so there is no need to search for it somewhere else or in different formats. 

What makes content AS-11 UK DPP compliant?

For creating valid AS-11 UK DPP content, some editorial and technical metadata is mandatory. It can be specified by an external XML/DPT file. Some of the metadata for the video and audio XML elements will be added automatically during encoding, such as codec, bit rate, picture format, sampling frequency, and bit depth. However, the descriptive (e.g., series title, program title, production number, and originator) metadata and even some of the video, as well as audio metadata, must be added manually during the editorial process and workflow by the producer. This metadata is written into the stream during encoding. If it is not, then it is not compliant with the official DPP verification tools and could be rejected by broadcasters. 

What does MainConcept offer for AS-11 UK DPP?

With recent releases from MainConcept®, the AS-11 UK DPP format is now supported in our desktop transcoding application TotalCode Studio, as well as an exciting plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio, and even our industry-leading broadcast MPEG-2 and AVC software development kits (SDKs). This is good news for anyone that needs to deliver content to UK broadcasters. 

Regardless of whether you are an engineer looking for a software development kit (SDK) to develop a product or service for AS-11 UK DPP content creation or you work for a production house that wants a ready-to-use desktop application or plugin to streamline your workflow, MainConcept has a solution for you.

MainConcept Transcoding SDKs

MainConcept Transcoding SDKs offer profiles for AS-11 UK DPP SD (MPEG-2) and HD (AVC/H.264) that companies can integrate as the core engine for file-based content generation. This cross-platform Transcoding SDK does not require you to set up video and audio encoders or multiplexer settings from scratch. Instead, you can simply deploy predefined encoding profiles. The only thing you need to take care of is the descriptive metadata. 

How do you provide descriptive metadata? 

You can provide descriptive metadata by editing the sample XML template that is included with the SDK and pass it to the encoder. The Transcoding SDK takes care of full metadata processing, adds the missing technical metadata from the information obtained during encoding, and, if required, generates a sidecar XML file to accompany the AS-11 UK DPP compliant footage.

TotalCode Studio to the rescue

If you are searching for a fully developed application, look at TotalCode Studio. This MainConcept desktop transcoding application for Windows comes with ready-to-use AS-11 UK DPP SD and HD presets, including the ability to load and process external XML metadata files for creating UK-shim-compliant MXF content for immediate broadcast delivery.

MainConcept Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio 

Finally, available for the same platforms as Transcoding SDK—Windows, Linux and macOS—there is the MainConcept Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio. This exciting new plugin brings AS-11 UK DPP project rendering to Blackmagic Design’s state-of-the-art video-editing software. Similar to TotalCode Studio, our Codec Plugin for DaVinci Resolve Studio comes with a metadata template file that can be easily edited with a common text editor to update the descriptive metadata. Most of the audio and video elements will be written automatically during rendering of the timeline. If a client also requires an optional XML metadata sidecar file, it can be created with a click of a checkbox.

Are you ready for AS-11 UK DPP content creation? 

If you aren’t yet ready for AS-11 UK DPP content creation, you’ve come to the right place. The MainConcept SDKs, applications and plugins will ensure you are ready for AS-11 UK DPP content creation, including mandatory metadata processing that is required for complete program delivery to UK broadcasters. We have the right tool for any broadcast facility, production house, video or news agency, as well as software development and engineering organizations who design or maintain video workflows, that need to comply with AS-11 UK DPP.  

Interested in learning more or trying out one of our products? All our SDKs, applications and plugins are available as a free trial, including 60 days of access to our exceptional global support services. Contact us for more information or to engage our Professional Services team for expert help with your digital video workflow. 

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Frank Schönberger

Frank Schönberger has been with MainConcept for two decades focused primarily on product management. With deep knowledge of customer requirements and engineering methodology, he is dedicated to collaborating effectively across Sales, Marketing, Product Management and Engineering to ensure MainConcept brings users the technology they need to achieve their vision. A graduate of RWTH Aachen University, Frank studied languages, teaching, history and politics.