The plans were unveiled at a meeting between senior figures from BBC's F&L department and facilities trade body UK Post last week.
Producers in F&L are being told that they will do more rough-cutting of their programmes on Apple's Final Cut Pro - which the department has announced will be its main editing tool, replacing all Avids, which will be phased out.
Plans to install Final Cut Pro to accomplish not only rough cuts and offline editing, but
also onlining and colour correction, will prove controversial both inside and outside the BBC.
The move is partly in response to the budget cutting across the BBC introduced by director general Mark Thompson, which has seen all departments asked to reduce spending by up to 15%. For F&L this means making savings of around£28m across all its operations and the department is already axing 424 production staff. A senior figure in BBC's documentary and contemporary factual department told Broadcast: "The first experiment was on Full on Food. They found out they wouldn't save a lot of money by getting rid of editors - it showed that producers cutting programmes spent far too long doing it, and that they lacked an objective point of view that editors give. It reinforced the importance of traditional cutting skills.
"There's just a suspicion among producers and assistant producers that the point of all this is to make savings, and that isn't going to happen. And there's a suspicion that it means people working even longer hours. We'll just have to wait and see."
He added that the main change was in bringing the machines into the BBC's buildings, rather than having to go to Soho to edit.
The BBC has revealed that an estimated 60 FCPs could be in use at F&L by April 2007, although some industry figures believe that number could be higher.
The BBC's F&L department currently farms out around£25m of work annually to the UK post sector, with around£12m of that being spent on London facilities. Facilities houses now fear a massive drop in that work.
Gaynor Davenport, chief executive of UK Post, said: "In terms of post-production, this is very serious. This is threatening to facilities." She said UK Post would be holding further talks with the BBC about the implications of its plans.
BBC programmes The Culture Show, The Impressionistsand Timewatchhave already been edited in FCP.
Others in the industry also question the move: "It's a very brave decision to do it," said Dave Klafkowski, technical director of The Farm. "It could potentially be an operational minefield - how would they look after the delivery of programmes? Where does it leave BBC Resources and facilities? Soho may see a reduction of off-line suites as a result. But nobody wants to be Luddite about it - we have to see the changes as an opportunity."