How anime is delivered to TV stations in Japan

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How anime is delivered to TV stations in Japan

Postby ZeroRyoko1974 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:50 am

In the final episode of Shirobako, they have to rush off several tapes of their anime to various tv stations. They do this by various methods including, car, train, ferry, plane. Someone asked ANN Answerman if this is normally the case in real life. Apparently it is not that far from the truth (and just for reference, I have downloaded 12Gb files on Google Fiber in under 30 minutes before). And also for reference, if you have CrunchyRoll, watch Shirobako. It is like Bakuman for anime production, and is really a fun show

In the series Shirobako, a large part of the drama in the final episode is the act of physically getting the titular "white boxes" carrying an episode of a fictional anime series to the various networks and broadcasters carrying it. Some of the characters fly or rush via express train to do this. It certainly makes for a great scene, but I wanted to ask if this is how anime episodes are still delivered, in reality. I do know that episodes are sometimes finished mere hours before their airing time (which happens in this series), but even under those circumstances, does it still entail physically delivering the copy as opposed to email?


First of all, THANKS FOR THE SPOILERS. (There were worse ones originally in this question, but I deleted them.)

Secondly, yes, SHIROBAKO is terrifyingly accurate in its depiction of the Japanese side of the anime business. I've visited a handful of anime studios myself (Madhouse, TMS, Toei Animation and Satelight among them), and while some things are, of course, played up for drama, on the whole the show barely even seems like satire.

To answer your question, let me ask another question. A broadcast-quality master file (let's say, a 1080p QuickTime ProRes HQ file, which is pretty much the gold standard in video production) for a 24-minute TV episode clocks in at around 39 gigabytes. As it so happens, I am uploading a Blu-ray master around that size to a replication plant as I type this very sentence. I only get 5 megabit upload speeds on my cable modem, so the Aspera file transfer client is estimating it'll take about 22 hours. And that's if nothing gets disconnected or crashes in that time. And if the file comes through and it's got an error, I'd have to start all over again.

Obviously if I had a faster connection that would go quite a bit faster, but there is no fiber connection in my neighborhood. You could compress the video more, but each step adds yet another layer in something that could go wrong. Then, somebody at the TV station will have to manually download it, transcode it into whatever format their On-Air broadcast servers use, and upload it to those servers. Fiber connections capable of transmitting full, uncompressed HD video -- which is how South Park Studios in Los Angeles gets new episodes to Comedy Central master control in New York City each week -- are insanely expensive, and not many anime studios can afford that.

Or, you could just have somebody messenger the final master HDCam tape across town to the TV station. That tape can then go right to master control and be played back directly into the feed. I hate to sound like a luddite, but I think that really might be the best, most reliable option. Or at least, I'm hard pressed to argue with it.
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Re: How anime is delivered to TV stations in Japan

Postby bakamatt » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:20 am

I've watched the first two episodes of Shirobako now. I kind of like it, but am somewhat daunted by the huge cast.
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Re: How anime is delivered to TV stations in Japan

Postby ZeroRyoko1974 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:57 pm

Keep with it. The original five girls start to stand out after a few episodes, along with the director guy. It gets really awesome when they start on the 801 TTS Airbats type show. I really loved how Aoi holds everything together, and Ema the animator (her understudy Kunogi is awesome). Here are some links that have definitions of some of the terms:
http://i.imgur.com/P8033rt.jpg
And a flowchart of the production process:
http://m.imgur.com/dpnhOz2
Who does what and who some of the characters are modeled after (may contain spoilers)
http://www.reddit.com/r/anime/comments/ ... finitions/
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Re: How anime is delivered to TV stations in Japan

Postby bakamatt » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:26 am

I think a lot of the characters being based on real people does help to distinguish them. It is, at least, fairly easy to distinguish them at a glance. And that they're often repeating character's "name plaques" instead of just showing them once.
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