The challenge for So Television's BBC children's comedy series Pixel Face was shoehorning a 26-part show into a 10 week shoot. Producer Jeremy Salsby explains:
"That's 15 minutes a day, so there was no room for error, so we needed to be in a studio where the director could direct from the floor. We were committed to one, two or three takes per shot and just walking to and from a gallery was a luxury we couldn't afford."
The solution was to set up at Twickenham Studios, a traditional film studio with no gallery facilities. This brought down the hire costs, with hire company Procam Television building a gallery on the studio floor right next to the set. Production manager Piers Read contacted Procam Television a full 12 weeks prior to shooting to decide on the workflow. Four shooting formats were tested before deciding on XDCAM HD and the 700 fitted out with control units. Procam Television md John Brennan comments:
"Alongside DoP Johnny Morrison we looked at solutions that matched the style of the show. The sets were bright and punchy, so crisp clean images were needed. It was obvious that XDCAM HD handled the bright colours best. Shooting at 50Mb/s, working with Professional Discs saved money in post with ingest being much faster than tape." Salsby admits to being nervous about many aspects of the production but not about shooting tape less HD for the first time. "Because we were shooting in a very condensed period of time, we needed to be able to track everything we were doing instantly and XDCAM HD just seemed the quickest and most efficient way of doing just that. I was more nervous about an actor getting a cold, or being late to the studio floor."