The first high-definition studio in the UK will open its doors in less than eight weeks' time as part of the first phase of the opening of The Hospital, a new state-of-the-art facility spearheaded by entrepreneur Paul Allen and former Eurythmics frontman Dave Stewart, writes Dominic Timms.
The 2,700 sq ft studio is set to open at the end of July, complete with six Thomson Grass Valley LDK6000 high-definition cameras in a project that is understood to have cost more than£6.5m.
The Hospital's director of facilities, Chris Collingham, who also built the technical infrastructure for the launch of Channel 5, speaking at The Production Show last week, said the studio was the first of its kind in the UK "and quite possibly in Europe".
"A lot of people have used OB trucks to record concerts and live performances in HD but this will be the first time they can do it in a studio environment where you can fit almost half an orchestra," he said.
Although he admitted that demand for high-definition facilities was unlikely to mushroom during the "next year or two", he said there was a growing interest from music and commercial producers.
"Any music producer thinking about eventually putting stuff out on DVD or promo maker currently using 35mm film can see that HD brings the same quality cheaper plus it's much easier to add graphics or special effects. As for television, ITV has started shooting some of its promos in HD because it looks better and made the post-production easier and for US or Japanese co-productions it's almost mandatory."
The studio forms the first part of an ambitious£49m project based in Covent Garden, which will also contain music recording facilities.