In less than three years time all UK television programmes will be shot on either low cost DV cameras or high definition video, a leading facilities company head claimed today.
Speaking at The Production Show, Barry Bassett, founder and managing director of camera specialist VMI said the rise in popularity of the DV format together with increasing pressure on programme budgets would lead to further polarisation between low and high-budget television production.
"By 2006 all TV productions will be shot either on high definition video or on DV," Mr Bassett said at a session entitled "Essential DV".
However he warned that the problems of overshooting, poor audio quality and the inability of many cheaper cameras to shoot "true wide screen" would continue to present difficulties to many DV camera operators.
"The biggest problem is that is it is so easy to shoot DV and rations of 100:1 are not uncommon."
Mr Bassett's comments were echoed by producer/director Francis Baker who said the future of nearly all factual programming lay with the low cost format.
"DV has come an awfully long way. The future of factual and especially documentary programming is with producer/director DV operators shooting their own material. I can't see it any other way."
However commissioning editors looking to benefit from lower acquisition costs were warned against sending junior or unqualified staff out to shoot DV footage.
"It's bizarre that people with little or no training are being sent out in the vain hope they will get wonderful pictures. They won't. Some companies don't even let their operators into the edit, when that is the best way to improve their shooting skills," said director/editor and former Video Diaries veteran Steve Sklair.
Training, he continued, was "a vital issue," especially as broadcasters make the move away from light weight "pro-sumer DVs" towards heavier, more complex but higher quality cameras such as Sony's DSR500/570.
"With these sorts of cameras we are moving away from small, light and accessible back to bigger cameras. As producer directors we are in effect being asked to become camera men."
DV Talent founder Sarah Lee concurred, saying she had noticed a "real trend" towards use of the larger DV cameras during the last six months.