Computers in Broadcasting event

Date:
Thursday 27 March 2012

Venue:
John Dalton Building, MMU, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BH

Cost:
Free and open to all

Speaker:
Tony Baldwin-Lewis, Head of Operations, Manchester United Television (MUTV)

Synopsis:

On Thursday 27 March 2012 the Manchester branch invited the Head of Operations at Manchester United Television (MUTV) to the John Dalton Building, MMU, to talk about computers in broadcasting. Tony Baldwin-Lewis chatted to attendees over refreshments prior to the lecture and must have taken at least 15 questions before the event officially started - most of them from me!

Tony spoke about the impact of technology on broadcasting over the last 40 years, spanning an illustrious career he gave an insight into the technology that was used from the Norelco PCP 90 camera, the Ampex VPR2 edit suite and the more recent Panasonic P2HD. He touched on first hand experience of operating large, noisy and expensive pieces of equipment and made an interesting point about how the salaries of the operators were once as little as a 1/6 of the price of this equipment. This statistic has completely flipped since the 2000s.

Noreclo PCP 90 camera Noreclo PCP 90 camera

(1972 Noreclo PCP 90 camera - £60,000)

Ampex VPR2 edit suite

(1983 Ampex VPR2 edit suite - £200,000)

The highlight of the talk for me was when Tony talked us through the changes that have taken place at MUTV since 1998, when at one point they were using Taxis to transport content from their Deansgate office to the Old Trafford site, or as Tony called it TaxiNet. The whole operation now is at the forefront of the industry, with a tapeless system (see workflow) and a 1GB data link from the two sites, 23 editing suites and a complete back-up strategy both on and off site. I’m sure the taxi company aren’t too happy but it was clearly the best thing for the company.

MUTV Workflow Diagram

The talk concluded with Tony’s predictions for the future and how 3D technology may not be suited to Football but could definitely be used in Formula 1 and how high-definition will be the 'norm' over the next 3-5 years.

The event produced some lively discussion and debate and a whole range of questions for Tony, from MUTV IT strategy to the implications of new technology on storage and file formats. Tony had a few props which attendees could have a play with and the feedback from the attendees was extremely positive. Thanks to Tony who made this a really enjoyable and informative event.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

This event could be part of your CPD, including as part of the CPD process for Chartered status. Further details can be found at www.bcs.org/cpd