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10/08/2005

Coast to coast with BBC Post Production

BBC Post Production Birmingham is postproducing ‘Coast’, the new highly acclaimed BBC Factual and Learning series for BBC Two, which explores Britain’s coastal heritage.
With post production spread out across the UK and vast quantities of silent archive footage to draw upon, the project poses a unique challenge.
The 13-part series tours the entire coastline of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while a team of five experts, led by geographer Nicholas Crane, explore a wealth of fascinating human stories through a mixture of expert comment, contemporary storytelling and computer-generated images. Coast celebrates the unique character of the UK's coastal communities through history, zoology, archaeology and anthropology.
BBC Post Production Birmingham is responsible for project managing post production work, as well as carrying out the majority of offline editing and grading. All of the finishing, plus track lay elements and final dubbing are also being done by BBC Post Production Birmingham.
As is the nature of programme making, production requirements continuously change and BBC Post Production Birmingham’s flexibility is crucial to ensuring that the programme makers’ needs are met and that the programmes are delivered in time for transmission.
Coast is a pan-BBC production with programmes made by BBC Birmingham, BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland and BBC Wales, with additional material produced by the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol. Elements of the series are being worked on in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Birmingham and London.
A key technical challenge is trying to co-ordinate the several editing teams around the country, many of whom are using different systems to BBC Post Production Birmingham, and making sure that all of these systems talk to each other.
Six programmes are being offline edited at BBC Post Production Birmingham on a mixture of Avid Adrenalins and Media Composers. Two programmes were cut at BBC Cardiff, one is being cut at BBC Belfast, one at BBC Glasgow, two in an external cutting room in Glasgow and one in London.
All the finishing and grading is being carried out at BBC Post Production Birmingham, using an Avid Symphony, apart from two grading sessions which took place at BBC Cardiff. Grader Geoff Hockney explained: “The brief was to provide a natural but colourful look with much emphasis on blues and greens. Coast is a huge challenge due to the large variety of source material; from old to new footage and from underwater to aerial shots. We’ve made extensive use of secondary colour correction and multiple video layers to achieve the final look.”
BBC Post Production is keeping a tight hold on media management to make sure that every one working on Coast can find their pictures and sound easily. Lead Editor Martin Dowell and Booking Manager David Chan are working tirelessly to co-ordinate media from around the country. The key to its success is having good lines of communication with colleagues around the UK as well as looking ahead to pre-empt issues and deal with them ahead of time. Great care is being taken to maintain high quality pictures throughout the post production process – leading to stunning results.
The BBC Post Production Birmingham team is also providing a ‘Web Review’ service, enabling edited sequences to be viewed remotely over the internet by Producers and Directors. This speeds up the post production process and cuts down on the need for tape transfer.
The programmes are being delivered to BBC Post Production Birmingham with the bare bones of the synchronised sound and accompanying music. The sound team is re-creating effects to help viewers feel part of the landscape as they travel around the coast to places of historical and personal insight.
(GB)
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