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Titles & Graphics: Requirements & Best Practices

Introduction

These requirements are based on experience across many types of content and workflows but the best choices for each project can depend on a number of factors. Netflix has support personnel to help set up projects for success in these workflows, but it is important to have a firm understanding of the base requirements and best practices before production begins. Please contact your Netflix Post Manager and/or Netflix Production Technology Specialist if you have any questions.

Requirements

  • Titles & Graphics (GFX) must be framed within a canvas area of at least UHD (3840 square pixels in width) and match the finishing aspect ratio.
    • If the production’s final finishing format is less than 3840 square pixels in width, please contact Post Management at Netflix for specifications.
    • Framing charts and finishing aspect ratio must be shared by production to all vendors to ensure resolution and framing consistency and pixel-for-pixel accuracy throughout the entire imaging pipeline.
  • Titles & GFX deliveries must be in one of the following file formats:
    • 16-bit EXR (.exr)
      • EXR can be uncompressed or use lossless compression (i.e. ZIP or PIZ).
      • LOG EXRs will not be accepted.
    • 16-bit uncompressed TIFF (.tif)
    • 16-bit DPX - ONLY for full screen, non-comped elements.
    • ProRes 4444 may be allowed for select Nonfiction & Animation projects.
  • Sidecar mattes or alphas, if used, must have 1:1 frame numbering to the fill.
  • Color pipeline must be established and communicated to all vendors.
    • Round-trip tests between title vendors, editorial and the DI vendor must be performed early in the process to verify color pipeline consistency.
    • Show Look(s), if used (like LUTs, CDLs, LMTs), must be shared between all vendors to ensure accurate color reproduction throughout the entire imaging pipeline.
       

Best Practices

Title Safe/Safe Action

Color Grading Plates/Pulls

  • Debayering of plates/pulls should be handled by the finishing facility if possible.
  • Any live-action plates used during title / GFX creation should be debayered and processed in the same way as the rest of the material in the finishing grade. 
  • For example, if the final color grading is being done in ACES, the plates being used for titles and GFX should also be in ACES.
  • If required, any pre-timing or color balancing of plates should be performed in a scene-referred colorspace (such as ACES or Camera Log).

Delivery, Archival & Wrap

  • Title & GFX vendors should confirm final delivery format with the finishing facility, including the image container (i.e. TIFF, EXR) and compression type (i.e. uncompressed, ZIP, PIZ).
  • All final rendered Title & GFX files with embedded and/or sidecar mattes and alphas should be delivered to Netflix via Content Hub for archive. 
  • Project files along with textless versions of all shots and accompanying mattes should be provided.
  • In addition to the final delivery package for finishing, you may be asked to prepare an archivable GFX "Toolkit" before a show is wrapped, which would include:
    • Textless backplates
    • Font layer (editable) - can be live type in AE or an illustrator file. Not rasterized.
    • A list of plug-ins (including version) used in graphics creation.
    • A list of fonts used in graphics creation.
    • A list of the compositing color space(s)

Editorial

  • Offline Editorial and Title & GFX vendors should clearly communicate proxy media format requirements.

Anamorphic capture

  • Title & GFX vendors should be aligned with DI facility if the finishing pipeline will be in a squeezed or un-squeezed format.

HDR

  • While Netflix has no limiting specifications on brightness of text, common guidance is between 100-400 nits for an HDR show.
  • When delivering a show that will be finished in HDR, the "SDR graphics" will often be derived from the HDR, so testing the analysis early on - prior to final graphics turnover - is critical. It is advisable to perform color and compositing tests as early as possible with sample frames for checking both SDR and HDR deliverables.

Color Management

Some popular Title & GFX software’s methodology for managing color is to use display-referred color spaces, in the form of ICC profiles, with most software defaulting to working in the sRGB color space, which is inherently limited compared to the amount of color information in modern camera footage. Until these software programs adapt to support working in scene-referred color spaces, such as ACES, Titles & GFX will be limited by the color spaces they are created in. Because of this, the current best practice is to generate elements in sRGB or other standard ICC-based color spaces, and use Input Transforms / Input LUTs to transform these elements into the working color space of the project, though plug-ins and workarounds, such as OpenColorIO, which incorporate modern color pipelines such as ACES, may be worth investigating.

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