What is Cast QC?
Cast QC is a service tier in the Asset QC pool. It serves as a way for our trusted QC Vendors to review the HDR and SDR streams created from the IMFs delivered to Backlot before they launch on service. The QC can occur on a much less expensive setup, lowering the barrier to entry to scale up new QC rooms.
The QC philosophy is identical to IMF source QC, and any and all issues found should be flagged in the Asset QC tool.
What gear is required for Cast QC?
- A Google Chromecast Ultra device
- A Dolby Vision certified, prosumer-grade TV at least 42 inches (diagonal)
- Possible brands: LG, TCL, and Vizio
- A laptop or desktop PC or Mac with Internet access and Google Chrome Browser to login to Asset QC
- A 5.1 Speaker system that is regularly calibrated to -79dB spl
- A local network that both the computer and the Chromecast Ultra can be connected to so they may communicate with each other.
A Cast QC station should be built in a room without windows or light leaking in from outside sources. We want to ensure that all issues flagged are inherent to the streams and not introduced by outside factors. The room this setup lives in should also be as quiet as possible, away from walls facing the street. Consider soundproofing for the best results.
If you have any questions about how to setup your Cast QC Station, please reach out to MasterQC.Support@netflix.com.
A Unity Environment
In order to properly perform Cast QC, a unity environment in the QC space should be maintained. What this means is that all audio and video must be reviewed on equipment that neither adds nor reduces Audio or Video information to/ from the program stream.
For Audio QC, any added EQ balancing could accentuate or obscure potential audio issues. All EQ curves for QC review should be flat, and the signal path through should be at reference. If you have a receiver connected to your Chromecast, avoid setting any presets.
For Video QC, any built-in motion smoothing, noise reduction or other filter settings should be disabled. For the purposes of catching granular issues, at least one pass should be completed in "torch" or "vivid" mode (with brightness, contrast and chroma settings increased). QC operators should be able to easily switch this mode on/off and be aware of which mode they are viewing. Switching the in-monitor settings will mimic some costumer experiences.
How do I access the Cast QC pool?
The Cast QC pool can only be accessed by QC Operators who have the Cast QC role associated with their profile in the Asset QC Platform. Roles are granted within Starship by Netflix Branded Content QC.
Those operators can access the pool by navigating to https://assetqc.netflix.com/qc. They will be served assets automatically within Asset QC, one after the other, for as long as they choose to continue taking on QC requests.
What is the SLA for Cast QC requests?
All assets have an SLA of 48 hours from start of QC on the request . At the end of a shift the "Vendor Manager" can decide if they want to reassign to another Operator or let the currently assigned Operator finish the request the following day. However, this will not reset the SLA clock on the asset.
If a request is marked as High Priority or Rush, the SLA is 24 hours from start of QC. A 50% increase is applied to the rates for any high priority request.
How do I start a Cast QC Request?
- Navigate to the Asset QC platform http://assetqc.netflix.com/qc within Google Chrome browser from a computer that is on the same network as your Google Chromecast Ultra.
- Login with your credentials.
- Select Cast QC Request from the on screen menu after selecting “SELF ASSIGNMENT” in the upper right corner of the Dashboard:
4. You will then see the QC tasks in queue, and be able to select Cast QC tasks:
What does Cast QC look like in the Asset QC platform?
QC Request Information
- (Movie ID) Feature/ Series title: Season #: "Episode Title"
- QC Type | Package ID
- QC Task tags
QC Player Window
Starting a QC
- Once you select "START QC" in the upper right corner, the "Chromecast" icon will appear in the bottom right of the player.
- Selecting the "Chromecast" icon, will open the selection menu to choose the Chromecast device you want to connect to. Player and content will then begin.
- If there are multiple Chromecasts on your network, make sure to choose the correct one in your QC bay.
- Manually inputting issues for Cast QC is identical to Source QC.
What to look for in a Cast QC
A Cast QC should be an evaluation to the highest level possible on the streaming platform set up.
By design, Cast QC has some limitations compared to Source QC, as the tools and methods used in content review are a bit more limited. Full video scopes and audio waveform review will not be available during Cast QC, and performing QC on the streams versus the original source has the potential to also introduce compression-related issues.
Therefore, the ability to reproduce the issue is essential to QC. This will indicate if the issue is caused by playback, your monitor, or if it is actually contained in the source material itself.
To allow the QC operator to focus more energy on the issues that require a human eye to catch, Netflix has implemented Inspection Driven QC (IDQC).
IDQC issues (dead pixel detection)
- Automated dead pixel detection is performed on IMFs delivered to Backlot during the inspection process within our pipeline.
- Issues pre-populate into QC request - operators will review and agree/ disagree with each during their QC.
- For content with a very high number of automated dead pixels, you do not need to spend time validating every flag.
- Identify recurring pixel locations, verify one or two of the noted pixels and move on with the rest of the QC.
- Exact x,y coordinates for each pixel provided - selecting the issue will jump to that timecode in the player window and annotate the pixel in the player based on the location noted.
- This is meant to supplement the QC, not completely replace the trained eye of an operator.
- Manual entry of dead pixel issues is still available, if an operator finds a pixel not caught during the auto inspection.
Cast QC player controls
The Cast QC player allows both QC and creative partners to review content and flagged issues by jumping to the exact start timecode in the player window. It also allows you to key through frame-by-frame, for precise issue flagging and review. Current navigation hotkeys are listed below, as well as additional controls that will be implemented soon:
Current Hotkey functions:
- "Ctrl+N" = Add Issue
- "Ctrl+D" = Delete issue
- "Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow" = Next Frame
- "Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow" = Previous Frame
- "Alt+N" = Add Issue
- "Alt+D" = Delete Issue
- "Alt+Shift+Right Arrow" = Next Frame
- "Alt+Shift+Left Arrow" = Previous Frame
- Mac & Windows:
- “Space” = Play/ Pause
Other Hotkeys Coming Soon:
- “Alt+Ctrl+Space” = Fast Forward
- “Ctrl+Shift+Comma” = Jump Backward (one second)
- “Ctrl+Shift+Period” = Jump Forward (one second)
- Ability to customize hotkeys based on a user profile will be implemented at a later date.
How long should a Cast QC take to complete?
A Cast QC of HDR/ SDR video and/ or audio full task requires a 100% linear review of the content. This could take about 150% to 170% of content runtime. However, this will vary based on how many issues are caught and flagged.
A Fix Check of HDR/ SDR video and/or audio should take as much time as is required to ensure that all fixes are verified and updated in the report.
Can a Cast QC request be reassigned?
A Cast QC request can be reassigned to a different operator by the "Vendor Manager" at your facility. This is a role that must be granted by Netflix Branded Content QC during on-boarding.
*** Please reach out to MasterQC.Support@netflix.com should you need to update or add users/ roles. ***
How many Cast QC requests can an operator be assigned at once?
A QC Operator can only have one Cast QC request assigned to them at a time. Operators will not be able to start a new QC request until the previous one has been completed or reassigned.
What metrics are tracked in Cast QC?
Metrics tracked within Cast QC are the same as those for Source QC.