Originally Posted by TVOD
The other reason these particular shows went HD is that they are owned by Sony, shot at Sony Pictures with Sony equipment and creates more HD programming to sell Sony HD sets. It's reminiscent of the early days of color in the US with RCA and NBC.
Yep - similar to the situation over here. Sky have equipped with HDC-1500 and HD Cam SR Sony gear at their centre, and have a co-marketing deal with Sony for their domestic gear. (So Sony and Sky advertise as partners for receivers and displays)
BTW, I finally viewed an episode of the X-Factor. The set is impressive, especially the marques. It was the show from one week ago, and I was surprised at all the pyrotechnics in the studio.
Yep - the X Factor is quite an impressive set. Lots of LED screens and some quite flashy effects lighting. Pyros normally appear towards the end of the run - but are pretty popular on LE shows over here in general - though they are used even more in Sweden I think. (LE shows are HUGE there - especially their Melodifestivalen series - which make The X Factor look tiny...)
The problem with The X Factor, for me, is that the lighting/racking on people is VERY flat and dull. People close-ups look quite lifeless - it is all about the wide shot. In comparison, the "look" of Strictly Come Dancing is much glossier and sparklier, with much nicer looking flesh tones and faces.
Also - as a satellite viewer I really notice that ITV1 use SD-lite (544x576) rather than SD (720x576) that the BBC use - especially noticable in 16:9 - which makes it all look a bit softer.
The Brit camera work is much more aggressive and manic than what is typical in the states, even compared to UK productions in the US. On a larger display it can create a bit of vertigo. I noted that was also true on SCD, and I read on a forum how some SCD fans were unhappy about that and encouraged viewers to write the BBC to calm the camera moves a bit.
Yep - the current series of Strictly Come Dancing now has a new director who has slowed things down a bit. The original director for Strictly, Alex Rudzinsky, did the ABC Dancing With The Stars instead, and couldn't do both as they overlap I believe. (Though Len and Bruno did both shows - they must have loads of airmiles!)
I think that UK (and Scandinavian as well) LE coverage is a bit more fast-cut and whizzy-camera than US stuff - I think we've kind of got used to it.
The last few years of the Swedish Melodifestivalen have an incredibly high cut-rate - and lots of moving cameras (3 jibs, a radio steadicam, 3 or 4 rail cams as well as the usual mid-stadium rostrum cameras and side of stage peds.) The result is amazing - with no static shots at all (either the cameras are moving or altering the shot size) When done well it can look amazing - when done badly it makes you feel ill... The Swedes do it very well.
From the credits I saw that the X-factor is done at Fountain Studios, and from their website that they are using Sony cameras. Seems Sony cameras are more popular there than I suspected. I wonder what their plans are for HD.
Fountain is an interesting studio operation. They have TWO studios with a large connecting door between them that can be electrically opened (the engine is an electric motor otherwise used to rotate battleship gun turrets) to allow the two studios to be used as a single space. When working together it is the largest single purpose built TV production space.
The BBC's TC1 (which is the normal home to Strictly Come Dancing, How Do You Solve a Problem, Strictly Dance Fever etc.) is usually described as Europe's largest "single purpose built TV studio" - because it is a permanent single space.
Because it is used so heavily it is usual for the Strictly set to go in on Thursday or Friday, TX on Saturday, and then be got out in time for a new show to go in for Monday. Standing sets aren't the norm at TV Centre. Not sure what happens at Fountain with The X Factor.
At the moment BBC TV Centre TC1 and The Hospital in Covent Garden are the only HD capable general production studios in the UK. Sky have some as well - but I don't think they are available on the open market.