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Why television production is moving to the city

At Here East, we’ve inherited some incredible infrastructure. We’re home to the Broadcast Centre, which housed 20,000 journalists during the 2012 Olympics, BT Sport with Europe's largest LED-lit studio and we’re host to disruptive industry events like PromaxBDA UK conferences.

Since we began establishing Here East, we’ve been monitoring the evolving world of television production and have seen how rapidly trends are changing. Content generation is more democratic with the rise of online content production, the government has given tax breaks encouraging investment into British filmmaking from overseas and we’re seeing television production move back into cities.


Based on what we’ve noticed in recent years, here’s why we think the future of television production lies within the city:

1. More and more immediate content

There’s been an explosion in the desire for video content – with payTV, streaming services, and original branded content – and the demand is coming from a commissioning centre of gravity in central London, where most of the actual content is too. Telecoms, media and technology (TMT) titans, like Amazon, NET-A-PORTER, YouTube, are also wanting to own the complete production chain and are incorporating studio facilities into their headquarter designs.

2. The best of all the talent

London is an attractive place to operate and home to the best creative talent in all forms – and therefore a huge draw for creative companies. It’s still the de facto centre of gravity for the UK TV and film sector, and the gaming sector too is returning to London to look for fresh perspectives and new forms of talent.

3. Change to smaller scale production

There is a growing preference for more intimate forms of filming – straight to camera, single locked-off shots – that also don’t demand large sound stages. The advent of LED lighting rigs has also changed the scale of production. Requiring much less space and giving off much less heat, they make small spaces a practical alternative to large-scale well-ventilated studios.

4. Technology and production go hand-in-hand

New forms of content production are caused by technological advances – think Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), live realtime CGI. This change is forcing those who create content to hire a new breed of filmmakers AND technologists. The technologists are generally attracted to London’s tech scene, as then is the production sector. So where once it was about finding lighting directors and riggers, now it's 3D modellers and pure coders, who are wanted for their convincing renders of everything from water to human expressions.

These factors are a challenge to the current status quo. As BT Sport has already shown, Here East provides the space for the changing demands of content production with the access to London’s talent and stories.

Read more on the subject with these articles, including about the founding of the very successful and expanding inner-Manchester studios The Space Project, or South London’s Camberwell Studios.

Further reading:

thespaceproject.tv

camberwellstudios.co.uk

gamesmap.uk

‘Manchester lures film and TV production to the north’ Financial Times

‘The changing state of UK film and TV studios’ on televisual.com

‘Studios and spaces of production in the digital era: global challenges and local opportunities for the screen industry’ Gianluca Sergi at the University of Nottingham

 

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