The Seed That Grows The Localization Tree

Red Production Company

By Louise Tapia, CEO, Take1


Preparing broadcast deliverables for distribution to multiple networks can be both time consuming and complicated because each network has their own preferred format and list of requirements. But, while putting documents like dialogue lists or CCSLs together can be tedious for production teams, it’s a critical part of the production process - the information contained in these documents informs a series of other workflows including localization, translation, rights management and royalties. Careless mistakes here can be expensive for networks to rectify and can cost production companies their reputation with international distributors – which is why RED Production Company has chosen a script partner.


RED is an independent production company based at Manchester’s MediaCity. The company has produced some of the UK’s most popular and critically acclaimed drama series over the last twenty years, with recent shows including “Years and Years” for BBC One, “The Stranger” for Netflix, Finding Alice for ITV and “It’s a Sin” for Channel 4 and HBO.


Originally, the RED production team prepared their own scripts but found the process quickly became too time consuming.  “More requirements like caption lists and dialogues lists have been encapsulated into the script - it’s definitely becoming a bigger beast,” says RED post producer, Amy Gill.


For productions like “Years and Years” where timelines are tighter,  a basic transcription is provided at the picture lock stage so that the team can get a head start on translations and other localization processes. When the broadcast master is completed, this is updated and expanded into a full script. A basic script typically includes a full, time-coded transcription of all the dialogue (both voice-over and synced,) logs of on-screen captions and credits. Depending on to which network the series is being delivered this can be expanded to include detailed shot descriptions, music cues, descriptive markers, speaker lists, forced narrative and visual text events. The original transcriptions are also prepared bym professional transcribers as XML data, so reformatting the data for each network is quick and easy.


With many stakeholders involved in an extensive post-production process, convenience and efficiency are top priorities for the RED team, as Gill explains, “When an episode is finally picture locked there are so many people that it has to go to and so many stakeholder’s notes to go through. We’re not normally in a big rush - preparing broadcast deliverables is part of our process - we just need the simplest, most efficient workflow and a good product.”