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What’s up dock? allow acquired studio content to be passed instantly to in-house post or to either of the broadcasters. That JV is dock 10 Originally known as MediaCity Studios Ltd (or The Studios), the re-brand took place in 2012 to better reflect the breadth of services it offers. Or, to put it another way, so that it wasn’t pigeon holed as being just a studios operation. Incidentally, if you’re interested, the name dock 10 is a reference to the location of the studios. The original plans for the Manchester ship canal included provision for a tenth dock. As it was, only nine were ever built. So dock 10 is continuing that legacy. Albeit in a more digital way and with less need for a bilge pump. Operating as a standalone business with a highly commercial mandate it has grown from being merely a service provider to the BBC Sport and Children’s departments (and a studios operator for hire) to something much bigger that also incorporates entertainment shows as well as comedy and drama production. Clients now include Channel 4 and ITV as well as indies Red, Objective, Endemol and Wall to Wall while Saturday night talent search reality show The Voice is amongst its credits. From a small launch team, the headcount has now hit 100, turnover is circa £20m (and I can assure you that this is not all from the BBC contract) and investment is ongoing. As their marketing will tell you, they are now a fully-fledged digital media services provider. This has been achieved on the back of continued investment in people and technology. This is the story so far... THE STUDIOS Dock10 has seven HD TV studios (four full production studios and three for presentation) ranging in size from 12,500 sq. ft to 1000 sq. ft and enough vision and sound galleries to go around. That last piece of information is worth noting because, at launch, there were just two galleries - although any studio could be routed to either. The largest studio is capable of working with up to 22 camera channels and is the biggest in the country outside Fountain Studios in London. On my most recent visit, in August this year, installation was about to begin on a saturated lighting rig that will allow for fast turnaround between shows. Similar rigs are available in other studios too. The improvement in lighting capabilities follows quickly on the heels of an investment in seven new Sony HDC-2500 camera channels and assorted XJ27s, HJ22s and HJ14s lenses from Canon. While dock 10 is a standalone operation, being able to dovetail with the adjacent BBC and ITV buildings is still crucial. Tapeless workflows have been devised that 48 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 81 SEPTEMBER 2013 This is done via a significant fibre optic network that underpins MediaCityUK and also includes facility for broadcast services such as file content delivery networks and base band video (also operated by dock 10). Who works there? Well, at last count there were more than 20 client facing staff including studio managers and bookings people plus 40 engineers, media managers and workflow architects. That’s fairly unusual for a TV studio in the age of the casual workforce and big leap from what it was at launch. Along with good sized and highly specced vision and sound galleries, one of the key features of the studios is that they are future-proof with 3G-SDI video paths throughout. This three-gig infrastructure allows for both 1080p50 and 3D operation (although the latter would appear to be less and less relevant as time goes on). POST-PRODUCTION While there have been changes in the studio set-up, the biggest movement can be seen in post-production. dock10 was originally established to deliver fast turnaround post and multi-format content ingest. Little more. It started life with 12 offline and online editing suites (based on Avid Symphony and Media Composer) plus Avid Isis, Isilon nearline and Spectra Logic archive storage, QC capabilities and a single 5.1 Pro Tools dubbing theatre. In essence it was for BBC and studio add-on work. This set-up was well received by dock 10’s potential competitors at the time as it meant that any additional production work coming to Greater Manchester would need to use the local market for its post-production. Things have certainly moved on since then. High-end finishing is now the order of the day and dock 10 now has 27 edit suites, a second 5.1 dubbing theatre and even a grading suite. A Baselight TWO was picked up earlier this year and a staff grader, Jamie Parry,