Saturday, January 2, 2016

Checking a Release

Orphan's a small group, and the task of assembling a release and readying it for distribution usually falls to me. Over time, my release flow has become more and more elaborate, but every step plays a part in assuring a decent (though hardly flawless) result.
  1. Create a backup copy of the script for later comparisons.
  2. Apply any remaining quality control (QC) reports.
  3. Create chapters. (I use the chapter editor in mkvmerge.)
  4. In Aegisub, check the signs, the OP, and the ED. These are areas where subtle mistakes may have occurred and been overlooked during QC. In particular, check that signs are timed correctly, and (in a multi-episode series) that the first and last lines of the OP and ED haven't been clipped off by a cut-and-paste error.
  5. In Aegisub, run a final spell check.
  6. In Aegisub, collect the fonts for muxing. Pay attention to errors about missing glyphs. While CCCP on Windows makes reasonable choices about substituting other fonts, VLC or non-Windows systems may not.
  7. Mux the release with mkvmerge, and save the mkvmerge settings in case you need to revisit the result. I tend to label tracks as well as language-code them (except the video), and I fill in the "global" segment field with the file name, because VLC displays it.
  8. Check the muxed file with "mkvmerge -i file.mkv". This will show whether all parts are present, including the chapter file, and whether all fonts have the right MIME type (x-truetype-font).
  9. Play the release and verify the track names.
  10. Verify the chapter navigation points.
  11. Watch the release from end to end. This is the only way to catch any missed lines, encoding glitches, and other faults that can be overlooked in Aegisub. Apply corrections as needed.
  12. Using Aegisub, export the revised subs, without tags, as a plain text file. Use a text editor to join lines that were split and remove \N, multiple spaces, signs, songs, etc.
  13. Open the exported, fixed subs in Word and run the grammar checker. This also acts as a final spelling check. Apply corrections to the script in Aegisub as needed. The Word grammar checker isn't perfect, but it will help find homonym errors (your/you're, there/their).
  14. Check the differences between the final script and the initial script with a graphical difference checker, like WinDiff. This is to make sure that all corrections were applied properly and not fat-fingered.
  15. Remux the release with the final script, using the saved settings.
  16. Spot check by verifying that key differences highlighted by the difference checker are in the final file.
  17. Calculate a CRC32 for the final file. (I use a command line utility called fsum.)
  18. Rename the multiplexed file to [group] series - nn [CRC32].mkv (or your favorite convention).
  19. Create a patch file that will patch the raw to the final release. This allows team members with the raw to create the final release for seeding. (I use a tool called PatchCreator.)
  20. Create a torrent for the released file. (I use uTorrent.)
  21. Create a SFV (CRC32 checking file) for the released file. (I use QuickSFV, but it's got compatibility problems with Windows 7.)
  22. Upload the torrent to your favorite tracker.
  23. Announce the torrent on your favorite sites.
  24. Profit!
I know it seems like a lot of work - it is a lot of work, in fact - but I've added all these steps over time to address problems that got through simpler flows.

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