News Production & Post

The X Factor upgrades to HD

9 August 2010
The X Factor upgrades to HD

HotCam, the broadcast rental and crewing company, has announced a major investment in HD acquisition with a purchase of 10 Sony PDW-F800 XDCAM camcorders, as part of its project to take Talkback Thames’ light entertainment show The X Factor fully HD.

The purchase was undertaken thanks to funding from Sony’s authorised finance partner, media and broadcast leasing specialists Fineline Media Finance.

HotCam facilitates the equipment and crewing for all the UK auditions, Bootcamps and Judges’ worldwide location shoots, all of which were previously shot on DigiBeta. With ITV’s requirement that the show transition to HD, and given that these auditions take place in some of the largest venues in the country, HotCam’s Managing Director, Trevor Hotz, decided that a fibre-based system was the best route to take. The XDCAM PDW-F800 cameras offered a flexible solution that could be used in all filming locations.

“The X-Factor is a well-oiled production, with over 100 staff shooting in various locations across the country, there’s no chance for a second take. As a result, Talkback Thames needed robust cameras with a proven workflow that would seamlessly upgrade them to HD. Having worked successfully with Sony’s tapeless XDCAM format on various Talkback productions in the past, they were confident the HD solution could be rapidly and effortlessly deployed with minimum impact to production,” explained Phil Myers, XDCAM Product Manager, Sony Professional.

As ITV’s decision to migrate to HD for The X Factor required immediate responsive action, Hotz said “From getting the green light we had to guarantee the finance and purchase of all the equipment and peripherals within a couple of days before production commenced. We’ve dealt with Fineline for over ten years and their industry knowledge and experience meant they were able to respond just as quickly as we needed them to.”

The fly-pack fibre system that HotCam has developed involves kit from 10 different manufacturers, and includes additional Sony PMW-EX3 kits and fibre systems. This innovative configuration means that the camcorders can be used not only on PSC shoots but also in a multi-camera set up.

This new system is a significant financial investment for HotCam but Hotz comments, “In turn it provides many advantages that are passed on to our client, including picture quality, much improved efficiency with rigging and de-rigging times, increased flexibility and communication.”

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