Many organisations are moving from video tape based television production to file-based production. A number of difficulties arise during this migration including unexpected costs, workflow complications and lack of equipment interoperability. Such difficulties can be solved in practice using novel applications of low-cost IT equipment, software tools and industry standards for file formats.

This paper describes a number of problems of file-based production which arise in practice and demonstrates the techniques used to solve them using real-world examples from BBC productions.

The application of commodity PCs to achieve flexible real-time software encoding in a multi-camera TV studio is shown. Software tools to overcome incompatibilities between different MXF implementations are described. The design and format of MXF files for long term programme archival on LTO-3 data tape is explained. We show how file-based systems can be interfaced to legacy broadcast equipment. Finally, the problem of migrating from SD to HD production is shown to be mitigated by the HD capable nature of many IT components.

This document was originally published in the Proceedings of the International Broadcasting Convention, September 2007.