Broadcast Operational Technology

10 Day Course
Code PWL260

Book Now - 2 Delivery Methods Available:

Classroom Virtual Classroom Private Group - Virtual Self-Paced Online


This course has been written specifically for personnel that are concerned with operating and engineering video and audio equipment at a professional level. The programme of study clarifies, by using a clear non analytical approach, most of the more difficult aspects of analogue and in particular digital, video and audio technology.

The main aim of the course is to ensure that Operational Technicians and Engineers have a clear understanding of the technology that they are responsible for handling . It will NOT enable them to maintain or fault find , but does provide information required to perform calibration and some diagnostic procedures etc., ensuring that operations are performed to exacting professional standards.


On completion of this course, you will have:

  • A knowledge of basic electrical and digital parameters required to achieve a grasp of basic video and audio multimedia theory.
  • An understanding of the legacy 625/50 and the 525/60 analogue scanning standards and the appropriate analogue synchronisation waveforms.
  • An introductory knowledge only of the working principles of the NTSC and PAL Composite Video coding.
  • The ability to evaluate at an operational level, multimedia signals using Waveform Monitors and Vectorscopes, and Stream Analysers.
  • A knowledge of the major professional videotape formats including Digital Betacam and the Digital ENG formats. HDcam and HDD5
  • A full understanding of the standard colour bar waveforms in common use.
  • An awareness of the frame sequences present in the composite and MPEG video signals. Also timing, and colour framing for analogue and digital studios and edit suites.
  • A knowledge of basic analogue and digital multimedia signal systems.
  • An understanding of reference signals and modes.
  • An awareness of how and why timebase errors arise, and their correction, with particular reference to asynchronous data streams.
  • An ability to carry out an operational alignment of video and audio systems, where applicable.
  • Evaluation of system technical performance using waveform, vector and picture monitoring.
  • An appreciation of stereo audio principles. to apply basic audio alignment and audio signal handling.
  • An ability to use audio monitoring equipment to evaluate audio levels, stereo phasing and image width.
  • A detailed knowledge of the AES3 digital audio interface.
  • A detailed knowledge of the ITU 601 and 656 digital video protocol and interfaces.
  • A detailed knowledge of the MPEG 2 data streams.
  • A detailed knowledge of the HDTV Global Standards and it’s implications.
  • A detailed knowledge of Dolby E data streams.
  • Ability to intelligently set up and implement standards converters, ARCs, DVTRs.


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Basic Technical Concepts (5 topics)

  • Electricity, DC and AC voltage, current, resistance and power
  • Frequency, analogue bandwidth and phase
  • Plotting voltage against time, the waveform
  • Vector quantities and their representation
  • X/Y plots and the lissajous figure

Basic Digital Concepts (9 topics)

  • Number systems and bases, binary, hexadecimal and some other number systems
  • Bits and bytes etc., binary codes pure binary and BCD
  • Binary numbers as electrical signals
  • Parallel or serial configuration
  • Data rates, digital bandwidth, binary waveforms, concept of data streaming
  • Relationship between analogue and digital bandwidth
  • Digital storage concepts, magnetic and optical storage
  • Basic computer architecture
  • CPU, RAM, ROM, RAID parameters, cache memory HDDs and their capacity, operating systems

Basic Picture Format Structure (5 topics)

  • The picture in analogue form, scanning concept, the pixel and pixel arrays, VGA versus video pixel arrays
  • Resolution and bandwidth, synchronisation, twin interlace
  • Frame and field rates, sync timings, the analogue line waveform, line and field blanking, the Vertical Blanking Interval
  • Parameters relating to the 625/50 and the 525/60 scanning systems
  • DC component of analogue video waveform

The RGB video Standards (5 topics)

  • Electromagnetic spectrum, additive colour mixing, the primary and complementary colours
  • Luminosity coefficients, Luminance and chrominance, saturation and hue
  • Colour triangles as a Chromaticity Diagram
  • RGP video waveform parameters
  • The Question of illegal colours, Colour Bars in the RGB domain

The Component Analogue Video Signal (3 topics)

  • From RGB to the component domain, colour difference signals, luminance matrixing, some definitions, Y, R-Y, B-Y. Y Cb, Cr. Y,U,V. etc.
  • Colour legality and validity, CAV timing errors Monitoring CAV signals, definition of parade, x/y lightning, diamond and arrow displays
  • Colour Bars in the component domain

Composite Video, NTSC and PAL (5 topics)

  • Required chroma bandwidth, colour difference signals, luminance matrixing, use of a colour sub carrier
  • Purpose of colour burst, rf chroma waveforms and levels, u and v axes on the vectorscope
  • How PAL compensates for chroma phase errors, swinging colour burst
  • Simple and Delay PAL decoding
  • Hannover Bars

Widescreen (8 topics)

  • Film aspect ratios and processes, cinemascope, 70mm cinema widescreen, super 35, super 16 etc. Why widescreen?
  • What is the optimum picture shape?
  • Making compatible picture shapes.
  • Terminology and definitions, letterbox, pillar-box, anamorphic, Sand P etc.
  • Widescreen methods and standards.
  • Digital anamorphic, letterbox
  • Current analogue TV practice, possibilities under terrestrial and satellite digital transmission Widescreen facilities under the DVB and DTG.
  • The widescreen domestic receiver, what is the viewer able to do?

DTV Standards (9 topics)

  • Interlace versus progressive scanning
  • Frame rate conversion, 2:3 pulldown cycle
  • Field dominance
  • Existing analogue systems, 1125/60, 1250/50, 1050/60
  • The global HDTV standard, HDTV system, 1080/24p, why?
  • SHD standards 2k and 4k system
  • Segmented frames
  • A review of the main technical HD parameters and wave forms
  • For the 1080 and 1125 systems

Basic Audio Theory (5 topics)

  • Concept of harmonics, making(synthesising) waveforms
  • Frequency content of an analogue waveform, plotting energy against frequency, the spectral display
  • Detailed consideration of the audio waveform, Audio levels, definition of the Decibel, equivalence between the dBu, VU and dBFS, Accurate audio level metering, the VU and Type 2 PPM meters, other analogue scales, Din, Nordic etc
  • Reference and peak levels, Analogue and digital operational level standards
  • Meter ballistic considerations, attack and decay, dynamic range, limiting, and compressing

Multi channel Stereo Sound (4 topics)

  • Two channel stereo, A/B versus MS stereo phase considerations, stereo phase reversal, phase correlation, interpreting the two channel audio vector display
  • Multichannel stereo sound systems definitions, two channel Stereo, Dolby Stereo, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby 5.1, etc.
  • Stereo imaging, sum and difference monitoring, monitoring audio level, specification of peak levels and audio dynamic range
  • Interpreting the Lissajous, sound stage and Jellyfish display

The Analogue VTR Formats (9 topics)

  • Basic tape transport layout of a video recorder, the helical tape path
  • VHS format and its sound tracks, longitudinal track options
  • The Control Track, audio tracks and stereo requirements, SVHS and Video 8 formats and the facility specifications
  • Dynamic tracking arrangements and stunt modes, The Betacam SP format, tape footprint, Betacam SP audio parameters and facilities
  • Composite working with Betacam SP and the PAL footprint
  • Playback losses, head cleaning. VTR internal and external references
  • Timebase errors and their correction
  • Dealing with asynchronous video sources
  • Timebase correctors versus video synchronisers

Timecode (4 topics)

  • Reasons for timecode, LTC Need for VITC Parameters of VITC, comparison of LTC and VITC EBU and SMPTE definitions
  • Real and non real time codes, the drop frame and colour lock flags
  • Timecode character sets
  • For BITC, TCIV, frame rate conversion and timecode

Digitising Analogue Signals (4 topics)

  • Analogue versus digital Sampling and quantising basic ideas and some definitions
  • Sampling criteria, sample word size and its relation to digital quantisation resolution
  • Concepts of digital video and audio and some typical numbers in use
  • Advantages of binary coding

AES Digital Audio (2 topics)

  • AES/3 and AES/EBU Protocol, frame structure, channel status bits, user bits, sampling rates etc C,UVand P bits SPDIF and MADI audio streams.. AES/11 word clock
  • Other word clocks

601 Digital Video 1 (6 topics)

  • ITU-R-601 specification
  • Sampling rates, 4.4.4, 4.2.2, etc., 10 bit versus 8 bit operation
  • The parallel and serial 656 interfaces TRS and ancillary data
  • Embedded audio protocol and compatibility with AES/3
  • Caution to be observed when using analogue to digital, and digital to analogue interfacing
  • SDI bit and word rates, monitoring SDI video data streams

The Digital VTR (10 topics)

  • Tape footprints for Digital Betacam
  • Control and cue tracks
  • Audio tracks drum head configuration for Digital Betacam, pre-read facility
  • Erase requirement for insert editing
  • The digital ENG formats
  • Beta SX, DVC Pro, D9, DVCam and mini DV
  • Some definitions, error detection, correction and concealment, (concepts only)
  • Basic system diagram of a digital VTR showing E/E links and data paths
  • Number of data channels, error concealment; analogue, serial and parallel interfaces to the DVTR
  • Digital Betacam Channel status tactics

The Dolby E Process (5 topics)

  • Why Dolby E?
  • What is it's purpose and where does it fit into the scheme of things?
  • Audio data compression principles and hazards
  • The Dolby E compression algorithm, concatenating Dolby E, what to listen for
  • Investigation of the Dolby E data stream protocol

Automated Programme Delivery (3 topics)

  • Concept of the video file server, playout hierarchy, archive, off line, nearline and online
  • Role of the vtr formats, tape streaming, tape steam formats
  • Typical modern system in use at BSkyB e.g.


Some limited experience working with professional broadcast systems at an operational level is a distinct advantage.

Scheduled Dates

Please select from the dates below to make an enquiry or booking.


Different pricing structures are available including special offers. These include early bird, late availability, multi-place, corporate volume and self-funding rates. Please arrange a discussion with a training advisor to discover your most cost effective option.

Code Location Duration Price Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Virtual Classroom (London)
10 Days $7,460

What Our Customers Say

The instructors knowledge is fantastically broad and deep!”

Vice President, ABS-CBN

An excellent course, one of the best I have attended for IP training, covering a very wide range of topics.”

MCR Manager, Sky TV New Zealand

Good course, well presented. Good content and mix of theory and practical alike.”

Software Engineer, Arris

Very good overview of technologies new and old.”

Broadcast Engineer, Formula 1

Very good background to help our development away from Broadcast TV.”

Account Manager, Thomson

Instructor knowledge and experience was excellent.”

Solutions Engineer, Akamai

Good level of detail and industry examples of the technology and its usage. Trainer extremely knowledgeable with a great deal of experience in the field.”

Software Manager, Panasonic

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