Press release from Sony.
Doctors starts shooting in HD
“I only use Sony cameras, because of their reliability, and the support for me, which is brilliant. For a show like this, with four cameras running at all times, plus two spare cameras, that’s essential.”
The BBC series, Doctors, is now being shot on high definition, the first BBC continuing drama to make the switch. The first HD episodes start transmitting on 18 March.
Doctors is an half-hour soap which has been made in Birmingham since 2000, featuring gritty story lines including sex trafficking and a teenager with the HIV virus.
This daytime soap has become even more important to the BBC since Neighbours switched to Channel Five in February, in a ten-year deal. Now Doctors is pitted against the Australian veteran at 1.45pm every weekday.
The number of episodes has been increased this year, for its tenth series, from 185 to 215, which means that many of the core team are working all year round.
But this pioneering production has another important role to play — in the digital future. Since 14 January, Doctors has been shot in High Definition using Sony HDW-750P HDCAM camcorders.
This makes it the first BBC continuing drama series to embrace the switch. The production, which revolves around a fictional medical practice called The Mill, and a long-standing cast of around eight, records three months in advance of broadcast. But at present, because of costs, post production is still in standard definition, and will be so for some months to come.
Doctors is expected to be part of an expanded BBC HD channel once Freesat and a Freeview HD standard is agreed. Until now, most HD programmes have been high budget shows. In contrast, Doctors operates on a tight budget of £50,000 per half-hour episode.
Executive producer Will Trotter says: “It’s all about the future, it’s a test bed. People like us, a big production centre, we can’t wait, we’ve got to take the initiative, tear up the rules and keep pushing forward.”
The cameras, sound equipment and cameramen have been supplied by Transmission(TX) Ltd. Jon Boyce, managing director, says: “I only use Sony cameras, because of their reliability, and the support for me, which is brilliant. For a show like this, with four cameras running at all times, plus two spare cameras, that’s essential.”