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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #1
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BBC Documentary Delivery Standards... argh!

Hi,

I'm currently researching the BBC web site for some concise information about their delivery standards. Feels like I'm drowning in Policy Documents and PDFs which don't seem to give me a straight answer!

The question is this:

If I'm pitching for a documentary idea that will probably end up on BBC3 or BBC4 in the next 12 months, am I still OK to deliver on SD and specifically, if I shoot on my Z7, will this be OK?

Does anyone know please?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #2
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If I'm pitching for a documentary idea that will probably end up on BBC3 or BBC4 in the next 12 months, am I still OK to deliver on SD and specifically, if I shoot on my Z7, will this be OK?
I suspect the answer will be "it depends", I don't think 1/3" cameras are considered acceptable for general acquisition (though they may be fine for a limited percentage of B camera material) but projects may well be considered on a case by case basis. If you can make a good case for the use of a Z7 (small, lightweight and unobtrusive on a fly on the wall documentary) it may be fine, but "I've already got one and it's cheap for me" is not likely to go down so well.

You really need to ask them - an e-mail address is given at the bottom of their Guidelines document ( BBC Guidelines - Delivering Quality - Television ) for the Delivering Quality Manager.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #3
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That's excellent feedback - thank you.

Yes, it would be the case that this is a obs doc and there is a need to remain discrete and quite run-and-gun. So there would be an argument for a Z7.

What would be the basic standard, do you know?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 04:31 PM   #4
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So there would be an argument for a Z7.

What would be the basic standard, do you know?
I don't know - you need to speak to them. My personal feeling is that there may be a much stronger case for using an EX1 or an EX3 than a Z7 for a number of reasons.

Bigger chips with a higher resolution, better HD codec, and will record 720p/50 native. Whatever the HD arguments are, that should produce a better 576i/25 SD donconversion than from 1080i - you're producing each SD field from an original progressive frame.(And no camcorders at this price are likely to give as high a quality internal downconversion as could be done externally).

A few months ago, the EX may have led to an unacceptable workflow for this sort of documentary, the current ability to use SDHC cards and treat them like solid state tape has changed all that.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #5
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One thing to remember that the delivery format is the most important bit, you could shoot it on a Z7 and deliver it on XDcam or digi beta.

Or shoot as HDV and them send them a full 422 10 bit HD master file.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:05 AM   #6
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BBC and ITV put out rubbish looking pictures on 90% their news programns but thats ok i suppose,and watching gardeners world last night which is usualy on the BBC hd channel [but not last night,]who knows why,that was awful on standard BBC1,so i fail to see why they are so choosy.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:21 AM   #7
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BBC and ITV put out rubbish looking pictures on 90% their news programns but thats ok i suppose,and watching gardeners world last night which is usualy on the BBC hd channel [but not last night,]who knows why,that was awful on standard BBC1,so i fail to see why they are so choosy.
Different departments, the engineering dept sets out the standards and guidelines and the programme dept does what it wants.
Its a bit like government, have lots of quangos and work groups setting out legislation and spending loads of money and then you have nothing left to apply it or make programmes.
In the case of ITV its more a headless chicken syndrome driven by advertising!
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Old December 13th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Richards View Post
Hi,

I'm currently researching the BBC web site for some concise information about their delivery standards. Feels like I'm drowning in Policy Documents and PDFs which don't seem to give me a straight answer!

The question is this:

If I'm pitching for a documentary idea that will probably end up on BBC3 or BBC4 in the next 12 months, am I still OK to deliver on SD and specifically, if I shoot on my Z7, will this be OK?

Does anyone know please?
It will only be a concern if the BBC want a HD delivery, currently BBC3 and BBC4 are still SD so anything just for those channels should be fine shot on a Z7. If they want to use the productions on BBC HD, then you'd need to address their acquisition concerns.

They'll tell you what they want it delivered on, so I wouldn't worry about the cameras etc. until you get further down the BBC commissioning process - which is a performance in its own right.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #9
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Thank you.

I'm led to believe that the e-commissioning process is a massive legislative process in itself. I guess we could just budget for hiring whatever cameras we need!

The idea we are working on is solid, but we haven't yet had a commission. We're aiming for BBC because it fits the religious broadcasting bill.

Let's see!
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Old December 13th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #10
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Jonathan, BBC guidelines are here - BBC Guidelines - Guidelines Overview

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I'm led to believe that the e-commissioning process is a massive legislative process in itself. I guess we could just budget for hiring whatever cameras we need!
That's usually how it's done. Also, most networks are not keen to work with new producers/production companies. At the very least they'll want to see proof that you can deliver what you are pitching and examples of previous, comparable work.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #11
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I guess they'll perform quite a lot of due-diligence.

I'm working with Claudio von Planta from Long Way Round and Long Way Down on this. He has plenty of cred.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #12
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I've now had this response from the quality dept of the BBC


Hi Jonathan,
I have been told that the Sony Z7 isn't an approved HD camera but it is ok for SD.

Not sure if you have seen the following site : BBC - Commissioning - Producing High-Definition TV

regards

Lynda Carter
Delivering Quality Manager
BBC Future Media & Technology
BC4 A3 M1, Broadcast Centre, Media Village
201 Wood Lane London W12 7TP

T: 020800 81971
F: 020800 82199

E: lynda.carter@bbc.co.uk

DQ Internal: http://guidelines.gateway.bbc.co.uk/dq/
DQ External: BBC Guidelines - Delivering Quality
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Old December 16th, 2008, 08:08 PM   #13
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And that just shows the madness of the BBC and other broadcasters. The Z7 or S270 isnt even listed on the BBC site so how can a pen pusher comment on it?

HDV cameras produce crap SD pictures but their HD output handled properly and upscaled can produce great results.

I get really annoyed that with all the crap content wise that the BEEB and ITV and the likes chuck out that they still hide behind engineering standards that are out of the ark!

Do they never wonder why with so much availiable technology and so much talent out there that crap like a brucie fronted fake voting dancing show is prime time entertainment?

Yes there are still good productions out there but in an ever competing world for viewers surely making the programmes and making sure that content is king is more important than ever.

it is so lazy to reject any talent and potential content provider based on their standards in the most exciting times for video and film makers and to just rely on sad old formats and the dinosaur studio based programming.

is it any wonder that viewing figures are going down with the lack of imagination and progressive programming that is no longer allowed to flourish in the mainstream broadcasters.

More people watch some you tube clips but do the general public care what format they were shot on???

Sorry to Alan as I appreciate he works to test these things but there are real opportunities being missed to expand creativity in a broadcast world that has little or no budget to keep up with current cross media platforms. I could rant on loads about rejected last of the summer wine tapes coz the BBC spec said A+B=-6db and coz the duffer bbc engineer was old skool and only knew A+B=-3db. or the money wasted on the POD project when as an employee of AMS Neve when I advised that it was a wrong workflow for the beeb.
The beeb should be leading the world in producing content in all HD and HDV platforms rather than spending our money making up new test cards and trying to compete with other channels to produce the same old tired shows with diminishing audiences.
Rant over!!!
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Last edited by Gary Nattrass; December 17th, 2008 at 05:36 AM.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #14
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Erm... well, thanks for the background Gary!

Seriously though. It amazes me that someone can say yes to the Z7 when it isn't on the BBC web site.

Let's wait and see, I asked again for formal clarification.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 11:19 AM   #15
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Hi Gary,
Very well said... video is a funny medium, and the plethora of formats is a further thorn in our sides.
I come from a still photography background (Over 12 years with Reuters) and content was always king in stuff we bought off independents. In film days the guy brought in a roll TriX and we souped it and looked at the shots. I never once asked a photographer what he shot it on. Even if it had been a Practika... hell who cares if it was a good snap.

As you say the quality of most of the high end prosumer video gear is excellent, better than the old Beta cams I've used in the past. And as you say, shot right and treated correctly makes fabulous pictures.
Stills though has one universal standard.. Jpeg
When will the video camera manufacturers give us a universal video standard? Instead they flood the market with so many formats that NLE software writers can't even keep up.
I fear therefor it is doubtful if anything as set in its ways as Auntie will be able to do so either.
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