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BBC leads the way shooting COAL


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#1 Mike Brennan

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 02:17 PM

BBC have now stopped accepting digibeta for all factual and learning programs.
In addition to this they are forcing producers and researchers to self shoot and self edit using Z1 and FCP.

This is not an isolated case folks its the real thing.


When you combine the two strategies you can see that overnight professional "craft cameramen" are no longer needed at the BBC for documentaries....


What is the experience of "self shooting" COAL (Cameras Operated at Arms Length) in the USA?



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#2 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 03:24 PM

Hello Mr. Brennan: Wow, this is stunning and depressing news.

I can understand if the BBC or any television network might announce they've _begun_ to accept Z1 HDV footage in addition to other formats, but for them to _only_ accept HDV for a whole class of programming seems very short-sighted.

What if someone has some incredible non-HDV footage they want broadcast?

Is the BBC aware that for the vast majority of shooters/producers it's currently difficult or extremely inconvenient to do a high quality transfer of non-HDV footage to the HDV format?

For example, Sony's little HDV deck can _not_ up-convert analog video or DV to HDV. I believe Miranda and Convergent Design now offer HDV converters, but these are very new and almost no one has them yet -- I don't know if these handle up-conversion.

As for HDV "COAL" footage, I'd expect it to share the same asthetic as other handycam COAL footage: It's an effect which, like any other effect, is probably best used as little as possible and when it makes sense movitation-wise. Personally I strongly dislike the COAL w/a "big nose" look.

Perhaps in the race to the bottom, the slippery slope is greased with questionable intentions?

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo

Edited by Peter DeCrescenzo, 20 November 2005 - 03:24 PM.

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#3 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 07:19 PM

MIke, could you link to a press release or other documentation that states this directly from the BBC?
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#4 Tim J Durham

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 12:33 AM

What is the experience of "self shooting" COAL (Cameras Operated at Arms Length) in the USA?
Mike Brennan

It's mixed:

http://franken.8k.co...n/i/snlpic5.gif

Quite frankly, the skill range of news camera people over here is vast. It would be all too easy for this practice to gain even wider acceptance than it has now and I suspect it's only a matter of time. The photo I linked was from an SNL comedy skit, ofcourse, but that set-up is the near future.

This guy has made it a lifes mission:

http://www.greenspun...l?msg_id=0000uC
http://dirckhalstead.org/platypus.html
http://www.theworksh...p?CourseID=2788

I used to work with (amongst) him and his mag photog comrades at the White House when I was a field cameraman. There was usually SOME tension between the TV and stills people, but we were usually bigger and had heavier stuff so... I wonder who's buttering his bread now?

Looks like he might get the last laugh (not that I'll be around to hear it).
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#5 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 04:39 AM

A piece of information that has come my way is that the BBC have not stopped accepting DB.

What they have done however is to lift the restriction on demanding DB as a master format, thereby allowing others such as IMX50 to be submitted.
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#6 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 06:12 PM

A piece of information that has come my way is that the BBC have not stopped accepting DB.

What they have done however is to lift the restriction on demanding DB as a master format, thereby allowing others such as IMX50 to be submitted.



Thank you Simon Wyndham:

I wish other people would get their facts straight. Can't be doco makers can they? lol
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#7 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 07:49 PM

A piece of information that has come my way is that the BBC have not stopped accepting DB.

What they have done however is to lift the restriction on demanding DB as a master format, thereby allowing others such as IMX50 to be submitted.

That makes (more) sense! Thanks Simon.

- Peter DeCrescenzo
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#8 MattGrover

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 10:59 AM

Hi all,

To add a little to this, the BBC Factual Dept, are shooting Z1, but as far as I'm aware currently in DV-Cam mode not HDV.

They're bringing in the Z1 as the standard workhorse replacement for the PD150/170 which most of their footage was shot with, by researchers & AP's anyway. The main addition to this is the desktop editing where they're bringing in FCP systems as a long term cost cutting measure.

I currently work in factual programming, albeit for an indie, and did some time at the beeb when this was first announced back in May.

As far as I'm aware they're dropping DigiBeta from factual but keeping higher end DV, DSR-570 et-al, as for the purposes of the programmes they're delivering, DV delivers the quality they require.

I know, that some of the AP's can shoot DSR but I'm not sure what the long term goal is for shooting on higher end cams.
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