A round-up of this year’s main events in technology, finance, studios, outside broadcasts and post production.


It’s been an odd year in both senses of the word; one of random anomalies, which included two natural disasters in Asia that would have major repercussions on the UK’s production industry.

The first, the Japanese tsunami in the spring, temporarily wiped out tape supplies and forced the production industry’s hand in the move towards file-based production.

The second, November’s floods in Thailand, then threatened this migration when it transpired that most of the world’s supply of hard-drive components and some tapeless camera components were made in the same flooded manufacturing facilities.

However, these unlucky occurrences are but temporary blips that will correct themselves over time.

The real issues for 2012 and beyond involve the tapeless delivery flow from production company to broadcaster, long-term storage solutions and infrastructure, and thrashing out standards in a file-based world that many agree is far too complicated.

The bubble of hype around 3D, which had been building throughout 2010, also burst this year, as limited original content and funding issues caused firms to scale back activities in this area.

Some believe 3D will only come of age once it is glasses-free, while others are pushing for a separation of rights bids between 2D and 3D coverage of an event.

Whatever the outcome, for now 3D is the preserve of well-funded pay-TV players, production companies specialising in stereoscopic content and the BBC, which will focus on using this technology for big, occasional events.

3D also seems to have stalled in the post world, with a few key exceptions - mainly in facilities like Molinare, which also caters for the film world.

A total transition into a tapeless workflow, however, and a heavy investment in the hardware and infrastructure that file-based demands, were post’s story this year.

If the Digital Production Partnership succeeds in its message, however, 2012 will be less about post houses investing in kit and more about the dispensation of workflow advice and providing storage and delivery services.

If facilities follow this route, then investment next year is likely to focus on the purchase of bandwidth and virtual and real storage solutions from global IT companies.

As the BBC’s DPP lead Mark Harrison has pointed out, this is going to involve a complete change in mindset for some facilities towards a “more service-based model and less of a big shiny box model”.

It’s also been an odd year for the live events market, in the literal sense of the word.

Uneven years are not particularly fruitful for OB companies but the royal wedding and a diversification into more ad hoc music events and reality TV shows has seen this market through.

Although an even year, it’s hard to see how 2012 is going to pan out for the production industry.

On the one hand, there is the pervasive eurozone crisis, which is threatening a second recession and a rise in interest rates; on the other, TV is set to cover two of the biggest live events due to take place in London this decade: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

Will the feel good factor created by both be able to see the UK through? Let’s hope so.