An estimated £6m is to be spent on the Whiteley-based production centre, part of which is earmarked for the Avid desktop systems. Avid is in an advanced stage of negotiations with Meridian and is believed to have been selected from a field of at least three manufacturers.
The production centre will promote a new way of working allowing Meridian employers
to share resources, with all
edit suites and desktops being able to access the same material thanks to shared storage. Sony DVCam will be used as the standard format, replacing Beta SP, to coincide with the move to Avid technology. The practice of editing on laptops in the field, as field tested by Meridian on the Isle of Wight, will also become more widely available. Playout direct from a server, without any tape handling, will also be possible.
Meridian managing director Lindsay Charlton commented: 'Regional programmes will also be able to benefit from the ?video ubiquity' of the Avid Unity system and will be able to create programming using the same tools as the newsroom, sharing experience, resources and ideas in an integrated way.'
There has been no specific date set for deciding if Avid will be the supplier for similar operations across the network. ITV News' controller of news systems and projects, Paul Stevenson, said: 'ITV News group will carry out a rolling assessment of the project and will oversee any developments that relate directly to making news.'
Installation is due to start this summer and the new system is planned to be operational by this December. Training facilities are due to be set up in both Southampton and Maidstone so staff can experience the desktop technology first hand before formal training commences this summer.