CORDIS - EU research results

The Adoption of New Technological Arrays in the Production of Broadcast Television


Since 1960, the television industry has undergone successive waves of technological change. Both the methods of programme making and the programmes themselves have changed substantially. The current opening of TV’s vast archives to public and academic use has emphasised the need to explain old programming to new users. Why particular programmes are like they are is not obvious to the contemporary viewer: the prevailing technologies imposed limits and enabled forms that have fallen into disuse. The project will examine the processes of change which gave rise to the particular dominant configurations of technologies for sound and image capture and processing, and some idea of the national and regional variants that existed. It will emphasise the capabilities of the machines in use rather than the process of their invention. The project therefore studies how the technologies of film and tape were implemented; how both broadcasters and individual filmers coped with the conflicting demands of the different machines at their disposal; how new ‘standard ways of doing things’ gradually emerged; and how all of this enabled desired changes in the resultant programmes. The project will produce an overall written account of the principal changes in the technologies in use in broadcast TV since 1960 to the near present. It will offer a theory of technological innovation, and a major case study in the adoption of digital workflow management in production for broadcasting: the so-called ‘tapeless environment’ which is currently being implemented in major organisations. It will offer two historical case studies: a longditudinal study of the evolution of tape-based sound recording and one of the rapid change from 16mm film cutting to digital editing, a process that took less than five years. Reconstructions of the process of working with particular technological arrays will be filmed and will be made available as explanatory material for any online archive of TV material .

Call for proposal

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Host institution

EU contribution
€ 1 680 121,00
TW20 0EX Egham
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Surrey, East and West Sussex West Surrey
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
John Cyril Paget Ellis (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Rosemary Greaves (Ms.)
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)