HotCam launches XDCam disc ‘recycling’ service

Innovative cost-saving set-up allows valuable TV series footage to be archived quickly so that expensive discs can be re-used

Leading broadcast equipment rental company HotCam has launched a new production service that could save television producers thousands of pounds on XDCam shooting stock by quickly and efficiently archiving footage so that the solid-state discs can be re-used.

Called the Mobile Transfer System (MTS) and operated as a standalone business, the new set-up sees XDCam footage speedily transferred to Sony’s new PDW-U2 drives and then onto industry standard 1.5 TB LTO tapes for long-term storage.

Once footage has been copied, the discs are then wiped clean and returned to the production company for re-use.

For producers currently using XDCam discs for both production and archive purposes, especially those with returning series, the service has the potential to reduce stock costs and also provide a more secure method for archiving valuable rushes than transferring to hard disk drives.*

“Until now, producers with returning series have been very apprehensive about wiping their discs for fear of losing the footage forever,” says HotCam managing director Trevor Hotz.

“As a result, many have just kept their old discs on a shelf as an archive and replaced them with hundreds of brand new XDCam discs each time they go to make a new series. Our new service will not only keep footage safe, it will allow a production manager or financial director to take a big chunk out of their budget and put that money on screen.”

Compared to the high cost of buying hundreds of new XDCam discs for every shoot, Hotz estimates that even when taking into account the cost of LTO tapes, the price of the transfer and the cost of buying an initial batch of discs, “by the time the fourth transfer is done, producers will start to make a profit against the cost of the discs.”

To make the new service work, HotCam has bought £40,000 worth of Sony PDW-U2 drives and added them to an automated roll-on-roll-off rig that can transfer as many as 40 50GB XDCam discs per day.

To avoid liabilities, producers remain responsible for all discs until they reach HotCam. A legal document is signed to say that Hotcam can wipe the XDCam discs and return them but this only happens once footage has been transferred and LTO tapes have successfully been delivered to the producer.

Developed over a nine-month period, the innovative new XDCam disc ‘recycling’ service has already been tested on both The X Factor (ITV) and Coach Trip (C4).

Producers do not need to have hired camera, lighting or sound equipment from HotCam in order to use the service.

The Mobile Transfer System is available from HotCam now.