Behind The Scenes In ITV Content Services – Content Processing Team19 August 2020
Scott Tempest-Mitchell talks us through what a day in the life of the Content Processing team looks like…
My name is Scott Tempest-Mitchell, I’m from Bradford, West Yorkshire and I’m a lifelong Bradford City fan. I’ve been working for ITV for 14 years. My first job at ITV was office admin and logistics, which allowed me to gain a great understanding of the different aspects within the department and I’m now the Content Processing Supervisor.
I have eight amazing people working in my team. Josh Clark, Hope Primus, Sam Gilboy, Sam Tuft, Beth Lenehan, Amani Vig, Eleanor Godwin and Reece Dunn
The Content Processing team are an essential cog in keeping ITV on track with its core values as a lean and modern broadcaster. Our most critical role is in the timecode capturing (TCC’ing) of all programmes for transmission in the U.K. TCC’ing is a vital process that accurately records metadata within a video asset such as part times, end credit duration etc. Remember when you used to see countdown clocks at the start of programmes? Well TCC’ing significantly reduces such errors making their way to audiences’ TV screens.
Another key part in our workload is in the processing of content for BritBox. There are several different aspects to this requirement, each depending on the source of content. ITV has been making programmes for over 65 years with the specific purpose of showing adverts every 10-15 minutes. BritBox being an ad-free platform means that these part breaks need removing in order to create continuous versions. We need to carefully coordinate with our partners, BBC, Channel 4 or Channel 5 to ensure that any necessary onboarding is completed, and that we have a good idea of what work needs undertaking before submitting to BritBox. Typically this requires reversioning and updating identification metadata so that the content is recognisable to the BritBox platform.
BritBox and ITV”s linear channels alone equate to several hundred hours of content that are processed each week.
The Content Processing team also plays a very big part in the digitisation of ITV’s archive. There are over one million physical assets in the ITV vault, and unless these are digitised they risk perishing due to age. We are systematically working through this content to ensure that no historical value is lost, and that from a business perspective ITV can more easily distribute its catalogue around the globe.
We have a purpose built machine, almost like a living museum, that we use to digitise content from a large variety of legacy and heritage tape formats. Formats include Sony Flexicarts for the bulk ingest of Digibeta, SP and HD Cam tape formats, as well as manual workflows for 1″, D2, UMatic, VHS, amongst many, many others. As well as the machine room, we also digitise and digitally restore 16mm and 35mm film. We have been restoring film for a number of years now and have had some great success stories including a full 4K restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. We have the only Vintage Cloud Steenbecks in the U.K. which we use to digitise film and for restoration we use Digital Vision World’s Phoenix.
As well as ensuring ITV’s archive is preserved and available to enjoy by generations to come, we offer all of our services to external customers to help preserve their content too. We have undertaken digitisation work for some leading archives around the country, transferring film from as far back as the early 1900’s.