A tapeless workflow adopted by the BBC for Springwatch has been instrumental in speeding up the production of video material for the programme's website.

Springwatch is produced in a production village on location at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk. The workflow is built around an Avid Unity shared storage system with eight terabyte storage and an Avid Interplay production asset management system.

In previous years, while the Springwatch television programmes were produced on location by BBC Post Production, some material for the programme's website was also being created at BBC Bristol.

The process saw the web team wait patiently until a programme had been transmitted before being able to re-ingest the tape into a Final Cut Pro and create a Flash package for the web.

This year the process is much quicker, as BBC Post Production Post Supervisor, Springwatch John Burkill explained. “We record the programme into the server as it goes out to air, so the web team can literally start working on the material minutes later,” he said.

“We use Avid Interplay's User Management function to prevent the web team from using material that the production team wants to save for the main television output, or that is deemed unsuitable for web use.”

Time for change

Jeremy Torrance, web producer for Springwatch, said that Tim Scoones, the executive Producer, wanted to see if it was possible to turn web material around quicket.

“Now that we're on-site and connected to the Avid network, this set-up really fulfils that requirement,” he said. “As well as using the material that has gone to air, the programme editors can also drop approved longer pieces into our folder on the server for us to re-work.”

Editing is done on four Media Composer Adrenalin suites and a laptop running Media Composer software, which is used by the web team.

Two Avid AirSpeed systems handle ingest from the network of hidden cameras and the studio cameras, and two further AirSpeed systems are used for transmission.

The twelve live Springwatch shows in this series have generated more than 500 hours of footage from as many as 60 live cameras.

Springwatch airs on BBC2 until Thursday 19 June