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Check out our comparsion tutorial in the Gallery to see why these specifications are important.

How to Prepare Flash and JPEG Files for Happenings Channel

The Happening Channel's Audience

Designing a Happening Channel board is like designing for a billboard on the freeway. You have to get you message across in the few seconds they are walking by the screen. Like drivers of cars, they are not likely to stop for an in depth read. You have to assume you have got to get you message across in mere seconds.

Static boards show for 16seconds. Animated boards run the course of the full animation. However, longer is not necessarily better in this situation. If you have a series of events that you want to advertise use the following guidelines in crafting your animated board. Animation Considerations:

  • Vital information should be persistent on the screen: When, Where, Who, What etc…
  • The Happenings Channel viewer is in transit - they may only see a segment of the animation. It will be frustrating to see something of interest and not know when or where it is.
  • Keep content to the essentials. The Happenings Channel audience is not going to want to read a lot of detail. Provide a web address, email or phone number for more detail. They will follow up if interested.

Designing for Television Format

Designing for HD format is different than designing for print or web publishing. In this document we will cover margins, backgrounds, color palette, and fonts.

Size and Margins:

The format size for our purposes is in pixels 1920w x 1080h. It is wise to give yourself at least a 90px buffer margin for your document. This will insure that you images are not cut off when broadcast. In Photoshop, you can have title safe guidelines overlaid as you work so you're extra sure. Flash Files

  • Keep final file sizes relatively small: around 2mb max
  • Beware that large files will cause the displayed board to run slower then on a local machine. This is due to bandwidth and processing power constraints of the system.
  • Import images/artwork at 72dpi. TV format does not display any higher resolution. A higher resolution image will not “look” better. It will only increase your file size and potentially slow down the animation of the board.
  • Use a sound track for pacing. The Happenings Channel does not play sound. However, putting in a sound track on a heavily animated file will help improve the pacing. This does not guarantee the heavy animation will play at your expected pace, but it's helpful during the editing process.
  • All animations must be in SWF format. The software we use only works with jpeg, gif and swf files.
  • If you have your full animation as a QuickTime, Aftereffects, or Final Cut file it will need to be converted and embed as a QuickTime (MPEG-4 codec) in Flash and saved as a swf.


Use the following guidelines:

  • Don’t over power you background.
  • Be conservative with your use of screened images.
  • Remember this is not a static page, the boards rotate every 16 seconds, and so viewers don’t have the time to try to decipher the announcement.

Color Palette

Like browser safe colors for the web, there are safe colors for TV broadcast.

Use the following guidelines when choosing colors:

  • Avoid large amounts of bright colors, especially pure white or intense red backgrounds.
  • Avoid heavily saturated colors, especially reds and yellows.
  • Keep the luminance values of text and background as far apart as possible. This provides easier readability.

Use the following link to pick TV safe colors:

Use the following link to find out more about color and TV broadcast:


TV does not display tiny, fragile fonts well. When designing a board, keep in mind that you need fonts with substance and clarity. Sans-serifs, like NYU's signature font, Gotham, work best on the screen. A serif font that has heavy, thick serifs won’t disappear on the screen - this is known as a slab serif. For more information on the differences between sans-serif and serif fonts, we recommend this infographic.

Size is also a factor. You want a font that is at least 16pts or larger. If you use a thin or script font make sure it is large enough to be readable.

If you're stuck on your font choice, there are a few fonts that we recommend:

Sans-Serif Fonts

  • Gotham
  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Helvetica
  • Futura
  • Univers
  • Oswald
  • Stone Sans
  • Avant Garde

Serif Fonts

  • Bevan
  • Clarendon
  • Stone Serif
  • Bitter
  • Officina Serif
  • Rockwell
  • Josefin Slab
  • Playfair Display Bold/Bold Italic