Janice Finch talks about the shift from film to tape and how it impacted on ‘World In Action’

This was a massive transformation as I said, where before they used to have eight people working on things with film this was now a three-man crew. I should say three person crew but I don’t think there were any camerawomen or sound recordists at the time I worked at Granada. It did mean I was there when they were getting used to tape which meant that things could be a lot quicker. You could do things and transmit them without all the processing that went into film. There was a whole processing of film that meant everything took time. With tape it was almost instantaneous.

I think with film, can you verify this, you had to finish at a certain point in order to transmit on the Monday evening.

Yes it had to be neg cut.

When did you have to finish?

I literally only worked on four films for ‘World in Action’ where they used films. I think you’re going to have to ask somebody else more about that. I would have thought that you had to leave at least a day before it went out.

When I worked on it once it moved to tape, we were literally finishing films on the Saturday night in offline and then you’d spend Sunday on-lining and doing all the graphics.

On the Monday, the day of transmission, you were dubbing. In other words you were laying down the voiceover and that meant that changes could be done almost up until the very last minute. Often it was the script, the script was the only thing really that changed materially as you got right to reply letters back or you had to incorporate a statement. That really meant that you could go almost up to the wire and there were times when you would be running down the corridor with the final film straight out of the edit suite. It just meant that everything got closer and closer to transmission. It meant you could do more news reactive pieces than you had before.

At the same time the strength of ‘World in Action’ was that you did long term investigations that didn’t follow a news agenda. So in some respects it didn’t really make a difference to the overall thrust of the programme, but it did mean you could work up to the wire.

Presumably smaller crews meant you could go places you hadn’t been able to before.

Absolutely, and it also meant that the budgets went further. It did mean you could a lot more foreign stories than nowadays

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