UTV has set out its ambition to become a fully tapeless broadcaster by the end of next year.

The ITV Northern Ireland franchisee recently bought an Avid Isis shared media storage system and replaced half of its cameras with Panasonic P2 camcorders as part of a £500,000 upgrade designed to improve the efficiency and speed of its cross-platform news production.

Head of resources Sean Ferrin told Broadcast that about 60% of the broadcaster’s operations were now tapeless and said that he would be looking to replace the remaining tape-based cameras at the beginning of next year.

Company laptops will also be upgraded to allow reporters to store and send large volumes of footage. A new automation system will be added to complete the tapeless upgrade.

According to Ferrin, the move is already saving the broadcaster thousands of pounds.

“The last time we sent someone to cover an external event with a tape camera was for the Rugby World Cup [in 2007],” he said. “The excess baggage costs and costs of sending the tape footage back from a local broadcaster was £3,800. Since getting the Panasonic P2s, we’ve sent them out on jobs instead. Not only is it easier
and better quality, but the expenses for the last trip was £44.”

Ferrin said UTV’s news team has been able to process footage 20 times faster than real-time since the upgrade began, saving dozens of hours each day in edit suites.