Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

Digital radio stations BBC 6 Music and Asian Network are facing closure as part of a shake-up of the corporation, the director general has announced.

Mark Thompson also said that half of its websites would close by 2013, along with teen services Switch and Blast.

He expected an extra £600m ($893m) to be diverted into programme-making as a result of the changes, but union Bectu feared up to 600 jobs could go.

The strategy review will now go out to public consultation.

6 Music presenter Adam Buxton said he did not understand why a station with such devoted listeners had to close.

HDW : Personally I think Mr Thompson should be looking at de-commissioning the commissioning editors. Having delt with BBC Scotland last year putting forward an cracking idea shot on HD and getting a less than satisfactory reply I began to watch some of the “commissioned” work from BBC Scotland and quite frankly some of the obvious DV programming was shocking.

The problem we now face is the “ability” for semi trained personnel within places like the BBC to be able to produce sub standard DV programming. DV was never produced as a broadcast format but to be fair to the format in the right hands and good equipment DV can look a million dollars. Sony have just brought out the NX-5 which films HD and SD and is streets ahead of the Sony z5…the BBC in their wisdom have recently purchased 50 Sony z5 HDV camcorders !

You see my point HDV is not a good format and suffers from frequent timecode breaks which makes it a pain trying to ingest footage into a non-linear edit suite. Sony must have offered the BBC a great deal to offload 50 Z5’s.

So they are now stuck with dated technology that does not perform well in low lighting and the paying public are subject to sub standard programming from non broadcast cheap camcorders !

Back to Mark Thompson if you want some advice you should stop the rot from within your organisation, VJs are a point in question…one person productions seen regularly on news programming, health and safety is at maximum risk sending VJs out on a news story…it’s cheap and nasty employer driven television and should be eradicated now. Set the standards higher from within the BBC, there is no point setting £600 million pounds aside for a pile of sub-standard, single camera, poorly produced DV programmes.

As for commissioning editors…they should not be in the same post for any longer that 3 years as a turnover of such staff would introduce freshness and extinguish any favouritism that may exist. Budgets for external programming should be allocated 4 times a year rather than this ludicrous “We have already used our budget for 2010” and that’s during 2009 !!!

The Sony EX-3 is a point in question the broadcast world is entrenched with HD SxS footage and it looks cracking but it does not conform the the so called magic 50mbs but if you film in HD and output to SD it kicks DV in the pants.

My point : The minimum standard for broadcast to SD today should be a Sony EX-1R /3 shot in HD and transferred to SD remembering that if you take the 4:2:2 HD SDI signal from any EX-1R/3 or PMW-350 into a NanoFlash you can attain the magic 50mbs for HD production.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

One thought on “BBC trim services to add £600m for programme-making

  1. I totally agree. I am equipping with a combination of the Sony XDCAM EX1R and EX3 – using the Convergent Design nanoFlash. With 2 x 64Gb cards you can store more than 5hrs 4:2:2 HD at 50mbps. Results look indistinguishable from uncompressed. It’s the way forward. I have a BBC Engineering test report on the EX3. They like it!

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