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What is Broadcast Safe?
In traditional television broadcasting there were a series of standards that had nothing to do with content. These standards regulated the frequency, quality, and other aesthetic properties of the video and audio. This was determined by what could transmit within the given platform and what could be received by the television recipients. In terms of color intensity this was also set firmly by broadcasting standards, though as digital and HD media has become the standard these have changed somewhat. Even our viewing methods have expanded, so often times the color broadcasting standards do not always applying. This is not to say that these broadcasting standards cannot remain a central part of your color grading process. In Color, the color grading program from the Final Cut Studio, you will find that you can still apply this standard so as to “remain inside the lines.” So to speak.
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Before Broadcast Safe
When you are working on a clip in your timeline in color you will begin your color grading by selecting the clip and then working in the rooms above like Primary In, Secondary, and Primary Out. Before even thinking about Broadcast Safe you are going to want to do all your primary and secondary color grading. Color will allow you to realize a full color grading vision with your clips and since Broadcast Safe will not change the fundamental nature of your color changes but just make sure that they are within legal limits you will want to complete all levels of your color grading before applying Broadcast Safe.
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Applying Broadcast Safe in Color
Go to the first Setup tab, which is directly to the left of the Primary In tab. Go to the bottom of the right hand pane where you will see another series of tabs. Go to Project Settings, which will take you to a room where you can set project specifics like the project name, the render directory, the colorist and client names, the frame rate, whether or not you want to deinterlace renders and previews, and what the width and height is. At the top of the right hand column of options will be a box for Broadcast Safe, which you select so that a red check will appear.
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More Advanced Color Restrictions
Below the Broadcast Safe check box is a series of numerical readings that you can alter, each of which affects the outgoing video quality in terms of limits. These are the ceiling IRE, the floor IRE, amplitude, phase, offset, chroma limit, composite limit, and the handles. These do not necessarily qualify as the same limits as Broadcast Safe and are not basic limitations, so you will need to know exactly what you want before trying with these. Broadcast Safe is just an overall limitation that will not really affect the fundamental character of your project.