The BBC Creative Desktop. Anyone want to clue me in? It’s extremely hard to get a handle on what they’re up to. I would add ‘because I’m not within the BBC,’ but I suspect much the same is true internally, too. But so far as I can tell, it goes like this:

  • Declaring DigiBeta essentially dead, and forcing production to use DV, presumably shot as DVCAM on DSRs. This is darkly ironic, given the tech review nightmares independents have faced over the last five years working with exactly this workflow. Bastards.
  • Declaring DV a ‘stop-gap,’ en route to a fully tapeless system. Two questions there: What’s the tapeless format? What’s the archiving strategy?
  • Bunging 80 Final Cut stations into White City, and charging them out at something bonkersly-low like £200/week… but without an editor. So if you’re doing more than six weeks of edit you might as well just buy an iMac and tell ’em to stick it.
  • Telling producers and directors that yes, they can edit, honest, and getting them to do the rough-cuts.
  • Bringing in a ‘Craft Editor’ (ie. proper editor) to paper over the cracks as best they can when they’ve never seen the material before and have only two days to fix the producer’s screwed-up nonsense cut.
  • Doing everything at full quality, so we finally dispense with the ridiculous offline/online distinction.
  • “Dub? I’m sorry, what’s that? I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

There’s supposedly some sort of standard desktop system that’s going to be rolled out into production offices, but I know even less about that. I’m guessing it’s some ruddy awful Outlook-based scheduling system, stuff that ties into SAP or whatever for budgetry wibbling, and ScreenWriter – or whatever it’s called – the BBC’s Word-based script diddling system (Windows-only, which is why I’ve never used it).

The only other thing I know is that the new Glasgow facility will be entirely open-plan and hot-desking for production staff. There’s a lot of fretting about this within the Beeb, but a large part of me wants to say ‘grow up.’ I’ve always been freelance, so I’ve always ‘hot-desked,’ and yes, it ruddy sucks. See how you like it for a change.

However, I’d love to see what happens when they first try a children’s make & do show in an open-plan office. We attempted that once with How2, and the Politics department across the gangway moved. Boy, are they in for a shock.

Anyway – anyone know any more about how this brave new world of production is supposed to work?