TV must tool-up to survive

Author: Tony Gregory

Everyone knows it, but few dare to say it: studio-based entertainment formats are tired. Aside from a bit of LED sparkle, they’ve not intrinsically changed since the 90s. And they won’t until we use better tools to plan and make shows.

Innovative tools beget innovative outcomes. We have the Gherkin building, because CAD made it possible. We have Reality TV because of searchable databases and non-linear editing.

What’s changed for creative teams making studio based entertainment? Still using Word, Excel, email, BBC scriptwriter, and cut’n’paste printed A5 cards for presenters?

In the last 20 years we’ve taken to HD, 4K (soon, 8), Digital Broadcasting, social media, 4G, smartphones. Yet there’s your researcher cutting up Word documents and sticking them to A5 card, and you’re trying to make a show on Word and Excel, cussing, while half your team are working on the wrong version of the show.

We work and deliver tapelessly, we reduced budgets with self-shooting, and we’re saving the planet with LED lighting. Cut to: the production office; paper-based and labour-intensive. At least news (and magazine) shows use Run-down software such as i-News, ENPS or Octopus. Adobe Story helps producers and assistant Directors save a bit of paper, but that’s about it.

Want to innovate with formats? – then you need to innovate with your tools.

Imagine doing all the research, question building, programme structuring, scripting, clips and stills planning, presenter iPad, prompt on the same idiot-proof software, and all shared in real-time. Change a link or a question, then prompt, presenter iPad and team screens all change. Limitless tinkering around until your heart’s content. Imagine even being able to force the presenter’s iPad to jump to the right page! And all with a team that’s 25% smaller.

The future of studio formats is about to change. If you are going to the next IBC, then you absolutely must try “TinkerList” – a stunning piece of paradigm-changing software for production teams.

The struggle is finished. No cruel, needless glue-stick, scissors and A5 card. Victory over the ‘wrong card’. All is going to be alright, the end to dreary 90’s formats is in sight.

Tony Gregory is a studio director, consultant, trainer and production strategist.