YouTube has a feature called Premiere that allows creators to publish videos so that they are premiered live, at a particular time, to all viewers.

At the beginning of each premiere is a 2 minute animated countdown with bouncy music

Countdown image

The countdown has a flat, materialistic, modern style. However, I couldn't help but notice certain parts of the countdown that look similar to monitor calibration tools. Like the black and white stripes below the countdown that get increasingly narrower, and the colored and black and white squares at the top.

My question is, is there a known technical reason for including these certain features at the beginning of the video? Perhaps to help viewers feel comfortable with the resolution or video quality? Or is just an animation style?

2 Answers 2


This image is know as test card (or test pattern) and was originally used as a TV test signal. Before 24/7 TV, it was typically shown when the regular broadcast ended. In its beginning it used to be physical test cards at which the camera was pointed and was later replaced by a digital version.

See Wikipedia for more context.

In YouTube's case, I can't really see any value other than an homage to the earlier days of video broadcasting.

enter image description here

  • 14
    "it was typically shown when the regular broadcast ended" Yes, or during broadcasting problems. Instead of putting the channel on black, they'd put in this test card. Often with a message indicating to be patient or that there was a technical malfunction (those black bars at top, middle and bottom doubled as text background).
    – Mast
    Jun 22, 2020 at 6:51
  • 5
    Digital? Meh, that was the analog era. Time of great adventure, sense of achievement: it was not given that the image was aligned correctly. To tune the channel correctly so that you had both color AND static-free stereo audio was rite of passage.
    – vhu
    Jun 22, 2020 at 21:25
  • 1
    It was also shown in the morning before the broadcast, which is essentially what YouTube does here, albeit for a different purpose.
    – AndreKR
    Jun 24, 2020 at 8:16

Like the floppy disk icon commonly used to represent the feature of saving for most of the digital products, the animation visual you mentioned was the opening screen for channels to set up calibration during the use of colored or black and white televisions.

Since you're probably aged below your 30s and haven't ran into occurring of this image on TV, you may not relate any belonging but, there're also common patterns for printers whenever a user first tries to print something out.

So basically they're using this old shool look since almost most of the people has a memory with it but unfortunately it sometimes become outdated with the new born population's growth and their higher digital awareness.

  • 7
    I'm below the age of 30 and I saw this image (the pattern) a lot when I was 5-8 years old. Jun 23, 2020 at 11:53
  • Actually I didn't mention further since not missing the main point of inquirer's question. You may even run into it on t-shirts displaying it in front. Therefore, I mentioned lower chance of analog awareness instead of digital for the new born population. Jun 23, 2020 at 12:12
  • 1
    Just to clarify slightly, but this animation isn't an actual test card, it's a homage to them. While there are elements which look like those on test cards, they aren't actually of any use in testing, and furthermore the old test cards were either never animated, or only had very limited moving elements. Test cards are still in widespread usage in broadcasting for testing and information purposes, even though they are rarely seen transmitted.
    – dosxuk
    Jun 23, 2020 at 12:51
  • @dosxuk exactly. To be able to mention the inquirer's question at the end "... Or is just an animation style?", I started as "The animation visual you mentioned ..." and then concluded with the second paragraph of my answer "... occurring of this image on TV, ..." as it's an image. Jun 23, 2020 at 13:03
  • 2
    I don't really understand why you'd assume Bryan C is under 30, or mention that in the answer. I've seen plenty of test patterns in my life, but this YT Premiere image looks different enough from them that it did not immediately ring a bell for me.
    – amalloy
    Jun 23, 2020 at 22:35

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