Grumble grumble grumble … A Game of Moans …
Old practitioners of the “Game of Tones” – sound supervisors, gram ops, boom ops, and all the myriad people in the old sound transmission chain – continue with discussions about poor sound in today’s television programmes: sound level jumps at programme junctions, different sound levels between SD and HD transmissions, mumbling actors and the poor placement of personal mics.
Those of us on the old pictures side of things think it’s turning into a “Game of Phones” – smart phone footage (er, really should we call it footage ..?) used in news broadcasts and even in standard television production. No one seems to care, it seems, about reverse cuts, jump cuts, shot framing, steady shots: wobbilicam shots really annoy and add nothing to the production.
Meanwhile two outstanding productions were not mentioned in our discussions. The third series of “Broadchurch” on ITV returned to the cliff edge suspense of the original first series: the fourth series of “Line of Duty” on BBC was nailbiting in its twists and turns. However, there was plenty to say about other productions.
Here are the Tech Ops (and Tech Ops history) topics that we talked about. To help make the pages quicker to load on smart phones or tablets, all the pictures in this set of conversations (unless otherwise noted) are shown in a default size – 300 pixels wide or 300 pixels high (whichever dimension is the larger).
All the pictures can be seen full size by clicking on the picture itself.
An update to a previous conversation about the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.
1951 OB Vehicles and Crew
A very fine picture of OB vehicles and the crews that manned them.
A Town Has Turned to Dust
This was a two-studio production from Riverside in the late 1950s entitled “A Town Has Turned To Dust”, starring Lee Montague, Rod Steiger and directed by Sam Wanamaker. At the time, it was a prestige production, and still probably the only Western ever to be attempted on British television.
in 1938 he invented VIE: Visual Indicating Equipment. VIE used two microphones to listen for approaching aircraft and display their positions on a CRT. This then became the basis of the display for radar.
The BBC R4 news described Alan Blumlein as the man who invented stereo radio.
In the late 1960s, a BBC Appointments Department leaflet included a photograph of an OB cameraman.
Although the leaflet says that technical appointments were dealt with by Engineering Recruitment Department, they did include this shot for illustration of the type of technical job available.
Rosa Rudnicka… Legendary bar counting.
Bat Out Of Hell
One of the most memorable and popular productions in the “Francis Durbridge Presents” series, “Bat Out of Hell” commenced transmission on 26th November 1966.
Battery-driven Mercedes AA class – and how to clean up those corroded batteries!
What’s in a name? Confusing isn’t it?
Bees Bees See TV(C)
The developers of the Television Centre set up a bee colony on the roof of TC1
Bingo – Management Speak – version 2
Do you keep falling asleep in meetings? Here’s something to change all of that.
Simply tick off 5 words from the list in one meeting and shout out “BINGO!”
OK Studio, break for lunch! Now, where to go…?
SatNav with traffic module, a Pure Highway Dab RBR, dash mounted cameras – isn’t technology marvellous?
Christmas Shows: 2016 and Yesteryear
Christmas shows past and present.
Chris was a real Gent who did not suffer fools.
Comments on TV Programmes: January – May 2017
- Great American Railroad Journeys
- The Worst Witch – CBBC
- Antiques Roadshow
Did you take any schnapps…
On location, the local fixer saw an opportunity to take the crew on a circuitous return route to the location via his brother’s vineyard – but unfortunately there are no photos of what happened next…
Early German television
This page redirect you to a video, in German, which shows the Fernseh, Telefunken and Indirect Film units of Nazi Television at various events including the Berlin Olympics.
Everyone remembers where they were when …
JFK was shot on 22nd November in 1963 – everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news.
Two big events on the same day: Live Aid at Wembley and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks in Hyde Park. And other fireworks-related anecdotes.
First Female Cameraperson
The BBC’s first female camera operator was Barbara Franc, recruited in the mid 1970s and worked in studios, initially with Crew 5.
Future Proof Record and Replay
Technology has been changing so fast – what can you do to future proof any current recordings?
A list of some of the gallery directors, whom we knew, and (sometimes) loved!, with some comment and reminiscences.
Green round the Gills
Odour and/or ordure.
HD and the Regions
Isn’t it time we got the same content on both HD and SD? It’s not that simple – and very expensive.
Idents and Trails 2017
There are new regional idents on BBC 1: The concept is to show ‘oneness’!
And a new trailer: Every Element of Wonder.
Days Gone – Ampex
When you think back, the cost of a 90 minute reel of 2″ tape was eyewatering.
Inside the BBC TVC
A Google Streetview of inside the telly centre – before its demise.
Jazz at the Maltings October 1968
A photo taken before the Count Basie concert 27th October 1968
Line tearing on VHS
Line tearing on VHS recordings always seems to be at the bottom of frame. Why is this?
Lip-Sync: HD and SD differences
On digital television? How are we ever to know if anyone achieves lip sync?
There were some interesting differences between SD and HD sound synchronisation on the live transmission of “Strictly Come Dancing” from Blackpool.
What’s the best microphone to use for doing a home-based “voice over”? What’s the best method of transferring large quantities of data?
Strange, what used to go missing…
More Personalities – the Crew
- Andy Boyd
- Peter ‘The Squire’ Hills
- Chris Holcombe
- Stan Bale
- Brian Buckley
- Keith Swadkins
More Personalities – The Talent
- Brian Blessed
- Ian McCaskill
More Troubles with Sound
This time live on “Consumer Watchdog” (21 December 2016).
Mumbleygate – Again
Yet another TV drama have mumbling dialogue: “SS_GB”.
Nowadays – Who does What?
It’s the name game – who, in post, edits the sequence of images? You can’t accurately call them either a film or VT editor these days.
How many OGWTs were there from Manchester Oxford Road, what were the cameras, and who work on them?
Only Fools and Horses – the Van
Which van was used in the series? There are lots of yellow Reliant vans around the country.
Photoshop approach to audio editing
Adobe demonstrated Project Voco during November 2016. The software makes it possible to take an audio recording and rapidly alter it to include words and phrases the original speaker never uttered, in what sounds like their voice.
Pictures from TVC Roof around 1964-ish
Scanned transparencies – taken from the roof of TV Centre.
Something for the flight enthusiasts.
Radio DAB not FAB
One moment we are being encouraged to buy ever better performing home equipment such as cinema systems, surround sound, and so on, whereas on the other hand then we are asked to “enjoy” transmissions with falling standards, such as DAB.
Radio Mics and What to do with them
When radio mics were big and beefy and ladies’ skirts were short and skimpy…
The problems of period-piece television programs with anachronistic artefacts: most recently, it started with one drama series, set in the 1940s or early 1950s or so, with London AEC Routemaster buses in shot: the Routemasters were not introduced in service until February 1956. Since the initial complaining letters, there have been many more reports of poor background research on period dramas: such anachronisms have gained the soubriquet “Routemaster Moments” …
Slides, Slide Mounts and Slide Scanners for TV
The correct way to load the telejector – and a discussion of Eidophor projectors.
So long, 3DTV
– we won’t miss you …
Sound Crew List January 1965
Dave Mundy found a Sound Crew list from January 1965.
Spiel Chuck KO
We’ve all maid mistrakes, so really we should not poin tup those of others …
But hey, why have we got the word Shadenfreude ?
The Grammar of Cinematography
Crossing the line (reverse cuts), jump cuts: these seem to becoming more common in recent productions – and these have been seen in recent animations, where there are no problems about camera positioning!.
The London Studios
It seems that The London Studios of ITV are facing the same fate as TVC: and irony of ironies, ITV wants to use the three remaining studios at TVC for its “shiny floor” shows!
The Twelve Days of Christmas
We all know that song. How many items does the receiver end up with after twelve days?
This certainly doesn’t start off as part of Tech Ops history, but …
The wrong type of ears
The railways of Britain, in the guise of Railtrack and latterly Network Rail, famously excused failures to deliver services because of the wrong sort of leaves on the line or the wrong sort of snow. Are broadcasters mow blaming the problems with sound levels on human beings having the wrong sort of ears?
Something for the ferroequinologist – and enthusiasts of French buses.
Trump’s First Few Days in Office
JANUARY 2017: President Trump just loves signing Executive Orders – what do you mean, fake news?
Photos of Crew 4 in action – in February 1964 working in TC3 on a play called “The Happy Ones”.
We are The Management
The workers create the wealth of the country and management and the politicians do their best to ruin it – or rather, that’s one opinion…
There was a persistent purple blob to the upper left on the “6 O’clock News” weather. The mystery is now solved.
Wilkins in the Industry
Les (Sound) and his brother Cyril (lighting) were two Wilkins working at the Beeb. Was Bert Wilkins (ITV) any relation?
Who is the Doctor?
31st January 2017: Actor Peter Capaldi is stepping down from the lead role in Doctor Who at the end of the year. Capaldi made the announcement during an interview with BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley. “I feel it’s time to move on,” he said. “I feel sad, I love Doctor Who, it is a fantastic programme to work on.” So Who is to be the new Who?
Gary Critcher bought some 1960s’ B&W 35mm negs but they all needed a bit of a clean before a proper scan, and he asked what would be the best way to do that?
There were, of course, many suggestions – including nose grease!
Tales of Winters past.
Wobblycam – 2
Yet Another wobblycam production.
The only reason for not plonking the camera on legs or dolly, is for speed of shooting, therefore cost!
But the results are MOST ANNOYING!
You can call it home
The redevelopment of the BBC TVC – the advert and brochure.
Z-Cars – BP and PEG
Following a discussion on the use of the Eidophor projector (see Slides, Slide Mounts and Slide Scanners for TV – was Eidophor used on “Z-Cars”?
This moved on to a discussion about the various cars used, tales of working on “Z-Cars” – and the use of the PEG.