The UK coalition government has not made itself popular with the broadcast and film sectors since taking power earlier this year, but Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, reached out to the industry last week in a visit to Pinewood Studios, writes Kevin Hilton.
During his visit Hunt saw and heard the soundtrack of a new video game being mixed in the Pressburger Theatre. The dubbing room is equipped with an EuCon hybrid Euphonix System 5 console and is usually used for feature film and high-end drama work. But as production values in the games market continue to rise more sophisticated facilities are being used.
Hunt also saw several soundstages at Pinewood, including the famous underwater set (pictured). The Secretary of State was given a demonstration of interactive 3D technology by Centroid 3D, a specialist company that is a tenant in Pinewood's Media Park.
The government has angered many in the creative sector by a series of major cuts designed to reduce the national budget deficient. These have included winding up the UK Film Council and proposing a reduction in funding for the BBC World Service.
Following his visit to Pinewood, Hunt published a four-year business plan for the Department for Media, Culture and Sport. This includes delivering a successful Olympic Games in 2012, which will be a major focus for broadcasters, and strengthening "cultural institutions".
Pinewood and several of its tenant companies took the opportunity to show off the skills and expertise to be found at the studios. "There is so much to see at the moment and some of the UK's most exciting creative talent is now working here," says Andrew M Smith, corporate affairs director at the Pinewood Group. "I was especially pleased that Jeremy was able to see first-hand the sound mixing for a new video game. As the boundaries between film and video games continue to merge our experienced team of sound mixers and editors are able to offer a unique perspective to game developers."
The Pinewood Group is still hoping to gain planning permission for a major development of the Buckinghamshire site. The aim behind Project Pinewood will create a modern studio and creative centre but the local council has blocked the plans so far. A public inquiry into the proposals is set for April or May next year.