DDF is giving its mobile post facility a major refit in preparation for Big Brother’s debut on Channel 5 this summer, when it will be broadcast in HD and use a tapeless workflow for the first time.

Mike Saunders, managing director of the location post specialist, said the demands of HD broadcasting meant everything in the firm’s 14-metre post-production truck needed upgrading.

“We’re looking at using Avid Z800 5.5 Media Composer, but that’s not yet been confirmed,” said technical director Mark Openshaw, adding that AJA IO Express monitoring interfaces would also be used.

“Because of the quality of data, we have increased the amount of storage by a factor of five, and we will also have a lot of data wrangling equipment on site,” he said.

“Before, we used humongous amounts of tape stock, with tapes continuously run over to the playout truck. This time we’ll be networked to [OB firm] Roll To Record, so that when each programme is finished, it will be transferred and played out directly from its EVS server.”

The DDF crew, which has worked on the past 11 series of Big Brother, will set up nine networks to ensure guaranteed bandwidth and reliability, with four Cisco switches on site.

“Because we are running different storage networks, we have to manage the data to make sure we don’t hit bottlenecks and there is no single point of failure,” Openshaw added.

He declined to comment on the amount being spent on the upgrades, but said it was a “considerable amount of money”. The work is expected to be completed by early July.