This document is meant to serve as a high level overview of Netflix Branded Content QC workflows and specifications. For details on each service and in depth specs, please visit the links throughout the document.
For questions related to this document, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see bottom of this document for change logs.
Top Branded Content QC Errors (Q1 2019)
Missing Content - Effects
Sync - Global Offset
Sync - Effects
Extraneous Content - Dialogue
Missing Content - Dialogue
Loudness LKFS Measurement
Incorrect Assets - Title
Netflix Preferred Post Partner (NP3) Program
The Netflix Branded Content QC NP3 program encompasses those QC vendors that have been verified as sharing Netflix’s own high quality standards, alignment on severity, and overall accuracy.
Netflix Approved Vendors for Quality Control
Full list and contact info can be found at the NP3 website, linked here.
Scope of Work & Rates
All scope of work and latest rate cards can be found at the NP3 website:
- Source-level Branded Content QC scope of work and rate card linked here
- Streaming-level Branded Content QC scope of work and rate card linked here
- Source-level verification scope of work and rate card linked here
- Streaming-level verification scope of work and rate card linked here
Netflix Ident QC
The “ident” refers exclusively to the Netflix logo, a red N over a black background which dissolves into multi-colored streams. It serves as the Netflix branding for all original content.
The ident was designed to be the same across ALL Netflix branded content. Correct implementation should include NO effects or alterations applied to the ident video/ audio. If any alterations are made to the ident, the primary and secondary A/V assets will be rejected by Branded Content QC, regardless of whether there are any additional issues with the assets.
What Makes Up the Ident
The ident is comprised of the following (23.976 version):
- Other frame rates will differ slightly (i.e. 29.97 version contains 3:2 pull-down)
- 4 Seconds in Total Runtime (across all frame rates)
- 8 Channels of Audio
- Left Surround
- Right Surround
- Left Total
- Right Total
- 5.1 and 2.0 mixes are unique and separate; both must be implemented.
- 5.1 Master
- 2.0 Master
Common Implementation Errors
- Ident Lt/Rt Audio is generated from 5.1 Mix down
- Lt/Rt is its own unique, separate mix
- Ident audio is Mismapped
- I.e. Left 5.1 track duplicated for Left Total (Incorrect Mix)
- Channel order is incorrectly organized
- Specific tracks are utilized across multiple channels
- Peak Levels have been altered (Starting at 00:00:00:00)
- Left 5.1 @ -4.6 or -4.8 dbFS (00:00:00:06)
- Right 5.1 @ -10.2dbFS (00:00:00:09)
- Center 5.1 @ -17.2 or -17.4 dbFS (00:00:00:06)
- LFE 5.1 @ -9.7dBFS (00:00:00:09)
- Left Surround 5.1 @ -17.2dBFS (00:00:00:09)
- Right Surround 5.1 @ -10.8dBFS (00:00:00:09)
- Left Total @ -3.5dbFS (00:00:00:06)
- Right Total @ -5dbFS (00:00:00:09)
- Both 5.1 and 2.0 ident tracks are True Peak Spec compliant
- Expected True Peak Levels
- Program LKFS adjustments BEFORE implementing the ident
- 5.1 @ -23.7 LKFS - Infinite All
- 2.0 @ -23.1 LKFS - Infinite All
- Both 5.1 and 2.0 ident tracks are LKFS Spec (ITU-R bs. 1770-3) compliant
- Ident Video has been Altered
- NO cross dissolve
- NO Fade In/Out
- NO Integration of show elements
- Do NOT change length or add/remove frames
- Do NOT apply color correction or LUT
- Do NOT add transition
Title Safe/ Safe Action Best Practices
While Netflix does not have a strict requirement regarding text and graphic placement, we do recommend adhering to SMPTE guidelines for title safe and safe action:
- Title Safe - 90% of 16x9 full frame
- Safe Action - 93% of 16x9 full frame
*** If text or graphics exceed safe action/ are bordering on the edge of frame, Netflix typically requests confirmation from the creative partner that this is acceptable. ***
Netflix Originals Loudness and Peak Audio Measurements
Beginning 7/27/2018 , the Netflix Originals Specification v3.0 dictates levels of primary and secondary audio assets must match the following:
- (ITU-R bs. 1770-3) -24LKFS +/- 2 LKFS Infinite All - measured across all channels for an audio mix OR
- (ITU-R bs. 1770-1) -27 LKFS +/- 3 LKFS Infinite Dialog - measured across all channels for an audio mix
- -2.0 dBFS True Peak - measured on each channel separately
For all Original Audio Printmasters Asset QC Requests (Full and Spot/5.1 and 2.0) received (excluding M&E), please follow this workflow for LKFS Measurement:
Measure received mix against 1770-1 Dialog gated Algorithm
If PASSED, do NOT include any notation in report
If FAILED, see next step
If 1770-1 has failed, measure mix against 1770-3 Algorithm
If PASSED, do NOT include any notation in report
If FAILED, flag LKFS Measurement Out of Spec, include both the measurements for 1770-1 and 1770-3, and mark as an ISSUE.
How does Netflix measure loudness and peaks
|Dolby Media Meter||Dolby DPLM|
|NuGEN Vis-LM||Interra Systems Baton|
|Izotope Insight||Emotion Systems Eff|
|Signum Bute||NuGEN AMB|
|Waves WLM||Minnetonka Audio AudioTools Server|
Set up specifications for accurate measurement:
- Measurement Algorithm - ITU-R bs. 1770-2/1770-3 (pre-7/27/18 assets) or ITU-R bs. 1770-1 (post 7/27/18 assets)
- Short Term Window - 3 Seconds (Does not affect overall measurement)
- Peak Measurement Type - True Peak
- Target: -24
- Tolerance: +2/-2
- Target: -27
- Tolerance +3/-3
- Infinite All
- Infinite Dialog
- True Peak Value: -2
- Channel Configuration:
- 5.1 - L,R,C,LFE,LS,RS
- 2.0 - Lt/Rt
Files delivered to Backlot are QCed by an approved QC Vendor to ensure they meet Netflix quality standards. All QC will occur in the Asset QC platform. Reports will be input and submitted via Asset QC platform.
*** See the Working on Asset QC section of the Branded Content QC Partner guidebook for full details about the platform ***
Assignment and Tiering
Tiering will be predetermined 6 months prior to launch and re-evaluated upon delivery of the asset to Netflix to determine if the tiering has changed. The asset will then be assigned a level of QC based on the tiering decision. There are 2 main service levels for Branded Content QC:
- Source Level QC
- Performed on the IMF, Audio WAV file or M&E WAV Files
- Assigned via the Self Assignment Service System (SASS) model - operators manually select an asset to complete QC on
- Asset is played back on hardware outside of the Asset QC platform
- Streaming Level QC
- Performed on the HDR, SDR or Audio streams via Backlot
- Assigned via a Push model in the SASS pool - operators will be assigned an asset automatically. They will not be able to move on to a new asset until current asset is completed.
- Asset is played back on a Google Chromecast Ultra via a connected computer connected to the Asset QC platform
Self Assignment Service System (SASS) Model
- Partners will be shown 3 available tasks in the Source level SASS model
- Source sharing/ vendor download for Source level QC will occur in the Asset QC platform (via Aspera Connect) - Pull Model
- Streaming Level QC assets will be served one at a time. Complete one and get another - Push model
Asset QC Request Tasks
- “Full QC” - 100% linear pass of the content
- “Spot QC” - 5 point spot check of the content (first 2 minutes, 1 minute at 25%, 1 minute at 50%, 1 minute at 75%, and the last 2 minutes).
- “Fix Check” - spot check of the specific issues flagged in the report. Issues that are confirmed fixed or noted as Creative Intent/Best Possible, should be marked as resolved in the QC report. Issues that were marked as Fixed but are confirmed NOT fixed, should be left in the report as is.
- For Download Spot QCs or Fix Checks, if a supplemental IMP has been delivered, please ensure all supplemental inserts are reviewed in full (including the in/ out cuts for the insert) to ensure no new issues were induced by the insert. This is regardless of whether the supplemental insert covers a longer duration than the specific timecodes of the issue flagged in the QC.
What is QC'd?
Assets assigned can have several different tasks assigned to them. These will be visible on the Asset QC request itself.
Those tasks are:
- Full HDR Video QC
- Full SDR Video QC
- Full 5.1 Audio QC
- Full 2.0 Audio QC
- Full Atmos QC
- Full M&E Comparative QC
- Full M&E Integrity QC
- Spot HDR Video QC
- Spot SDR Video QC
- Spot Audio 5.1 QC
- Spot Audio 2.0 QC
- Spot Atmos QC
- Spot M&E Integrity QC
- Fix Check HDR QC
- Fix Check SDR QC
- Fix Check 5.1 Audio QC
- Fix Check 2.0 Audio QC
- Fix Check Atmos QC
- Fix Check M&E Integrity QC
Dolby Vision Metadata
Dolby Vision metadata is what Netflix uses to derive the SDR streams from an HDR master. This check is only required on Source Level QC Requests with both HDR and SDR tasks. This will fall under the SDR Full QC task.
- Complete a full, linear SDR review by passing the content through a Dolby CMU or applying the Dolby Vision Node in Colorfront Transkoder and outputting as 100 nit.
- You may also choose to extract the metadata from the MXF using the Dolby CM Offline tool and analyze the extracted .xml using Dolby Metafier and a text editor.
- We are primarily concerned with missing image character values and color/ luminance mistimes in the SDR version.
Any required fixes will trigger re-delivery to Backlot. If after the Fix Notes process there are any issues that are marked Production Will Fix, the request state will move to QC Failed and the delivery request will move to Redelivery Requested.
All parties needing access to the QC report must be assigned the appropriate roles in the Netflix internal tool “Starship”. They should be assigned the Asset QC Production Admin role by either a Netflix Post Manager, Post Coordinator or Master QC Specialist.
The specific errors or issues that should be QC’d for are outlined in our Branded Content QC Glossary and must be noted individually, every time they appear, in our Asset QC tool.
- Issues are not limited to the definitions within the Branded Content QC Glossary. Any possible technical issues, specification mismatch or content inconsistency should be flagged.
- NO examples or blanket durations should be used (i.e. A dead pixel that occurs in 20 shots should be flagged as 20 separate instances in the QC report).
All QC issues must contain the following information:
- Error Code
- Error Severity (FYI, Issue or Blocker)
- Timecode in and out
- Error Description
Error descriptions should detail any/ all pertinent information about an issue, including but not limited to a technical description of the issue, location in picture/ audio channel, how severe the issue looks or sounds.
- Descriptions that are deemed incomplete or unclear will be corrected and will affect vendor metrics.
- Click “Complete QC” button once the Asset QC report is complete.
- Internal vendor QC reports are not required by Netflix but can be generated in addition to the Asset QC report.
- Standard 48 hr SLA for completion.
- includes download, QC of the content, and completion of Asset QC report
QC Vendor will receive metrics based on their QC Accuracy, On time Percentage and Missed Blocker (catastrophic issue) percentage.
M&E Branded Content QC
Netflix Branded Content QC expects a full linear review (unless otherwise specified) of source deliverable Music and Effects tracks, in a unity environment.
- All M&E should be aligned with a proxy or Locked Cut (conformed to the final A/V deliverable) that Netflix or a third-party vendor will supply for review.
- In most cases, M&E should receive a 2-pass review
- Full, linear pass for technical issues
- Full, comparison review against original language Printmaster for consistency/ missing content
- Review tiering details in full spec for additional information
- Files to be provided - video proxy + 2.0 audio, 5.1 + 2.0 Printmaster audio, 5.1 + 2.0 M&E audio
- 6.2 M&E (w/ mono option & dialogue tracks) NOT required, but can be provided as reference
Atmos Branded Content QC
- Must be reviewed in an at minimum 7.1.2 setup.
- All Atmos files should be aligned with a proxy (conformed to the final A/V deliverable) that Netflix or a third-party vendor will supply for review.
- Files to be provided - video proxy + 2.0 audio, Atmos Printmaster audio
- Atmos mixes must adhere to the LKFS spec of -24LKFS.
- Atmos mixes do not need to adhere to True Peak spec of -2dBFS.
- Limiting for mixes will be done on consumer decode side.
- Please continue to measure True Peak and mark as an FYI only.
Branded Content QC External Verification
In order to help increase efficiency around our Branded Content QC verification workflow, we have enlisted the help of our Approved QC Vendors to take over verification for some QC reports.
- External verifier will have access to the Verification queue which will list all assets ready for Branded Content QC verification.
- Branded Content QC Specialist or Coordinator will assign external verifiers specific assets/ QC reports.
- The source files will be shared, and the QC Vendor/ verifier will be responsible for downloading.
- External verifier will then open the QC report, queue up the video and audio files in their playback system and review EACH issue one by one as per Netflix training.
Change Log 2.9 (11/9/2020)
- Updated the term "Master QC" to "Branded Content QC"
- Removed links to Prodicle resources
Change Log 2.8 (7/10/2020)
- Removed Pre-QC Section from Spec
Change log 2.7 (5/12/2020)
- Updated Scope of Work & Rates section to link out to NP3 website (instead of listing out the rates separately). The NP3 website will be the single source of truth for our SOW and rate cards.
Change Log 2.7 (3/9/2020)
- Added additional direction around reviewing all supplemental inserts for Spot QC/ Fix Check Download tasks to "Asset QC -> Asset QC Request Tasks" section.
- Updated guidelines around LKFS measurements/ flagging under "Netflix Originals Loudness and Peak Audio Measurements"
Change Log 2.6 (2/20/2020)
- Updated links to Master QC Error Code Glossary V2.5 (as V2.0 has been deprecated)
- Updated NP3 Netflix Approved Vendors section to link to the NP3 website only (instead of also listing out every partner). As our vendor pool evolves, the NP3 website will always be the single source of truth for our approved partners and their contact info.
Change Log 2.6 (5/15/19)
- Updated top ten issues
- Updated NP3 Vendors to latest list and added website link
- Removed links to documents that are no longer applicable to specs or standards
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar fixes
Change Log 2.5 (07/24/2018)
- Re-organized and condensed document to high level overview of QC workflow
- Linked to individual, more detailed specs for each section covered
Change Log 2.0 (07/11/2018)
- Assed Asset QC Section
- Updated Rates
- Included new information on tiering
- Added Vendors to Pre-QC and approved vendor list
- Updated the Loudness Measurement Spec
Change Log 1.5 (04/27/2018)
- Added expanded M&E QC Guidelines
- Added Nugen LM Correct as approved LKFS and True Peak measurement tool for offline files
Change Log 1.5 (01/04/2018)
- Updated Top Ten issues for Q4 2017
- Updated Links to Glossary
Change Log 1.4 (08/08/2017)
- Added M&E QC Specifications
- Added Atmos QC and Rates
- Added External Verification
- Updated Rates for QC Approved Vendors
- Added Candiani and Hiventy to Netflix Preferred Vendors
- Removed OMF Workflow
Change Log 1.3 (03/06/2017)
- Updated Top ten errors for Q4 2016
- HDR/SDR info in Pre-QC and OMF
- Added OMF section
- Updated Pre-Delivery QC section
Change Log 1.2 (09/15/2016)
- Updated QC Top Ten Errors to reflection Top Ten of Q3 2016, Primary A/V
- Removed 2g from Netflix Preferred Vendor
- Updated QC Approved Vendor Workflow to indicate QC on Netflix Deliverables only
Change Log 1.1 (01/04/2015)
- Added Top Sheet with useful links
Change Log 1.0 (11/01/2015)
- Initial Document