The 12th series of ITV's long running motoring magazine was the first to be produced all digitally earlier this year when producer Mike Burch of X2 Productions decided to ditch the trusted Digibeta and DV formats for the high-definition output of Sony's disc-based XDCAM.

“As a former Avid editor I always felt that tape was a stop-gap en route to nonlinear production,” explains Burch. “Going disc-based is the final piece in the jigsaw. One of the big appeals is that the disc format is very robust and we save time by not digitising.”

After shooting studio and location material on the PDW-350, Burch clipped, logged, then downloaded - effectively digitising - footage into an Avid editor via a Sony PDW-U1 disc reader/writer with the discs themselves then reused.

“We use the U1 to write a master of the programme to professional disc which is much cheaper than hiring in a Digibeta deck,” says Burch. “Since ITV requires a tape delivery we still need to visit a post house for the final master to Digibeta.”

“The freelance camera ops we had used all had Digibetas so it was up to us to make the leap and purchase the kit [from Mitcorp] ourselves. By doing so we now save money on not hiring in cameras each time.”

Broadcast's next Digital Workflows conference, covering many of the issues raised in this article, takes place on 26 and 27 March 2009. To register for more information on the event email