Conversations November 2016 to May 2017

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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

6 Days

An update to a previous conversation about the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1951 OB Vehicles and Crew

A very fine picture of OB vehicles and the crews that manned them.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Alan Blumlein

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Appointments Leaflet

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bar Counting

Rosa Rudnicka… Legendary bar counting.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Batteries

Battery-driven Mercedes AA class – and how to clean up those corroded batteries!

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BBC Studios

What’s in a name? Confusing isn’t it?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bees Bees See TV(C)

The developers of the Television Centre set up a bee colony on the roof of TC1

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!”

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Cafe Rest

OK Studio, break for lunch! Now, where to go…?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Cars

SatNav with traffic module, a Pure Highway Dab RBR, dash mounted cameras – isn’t technology marvellous?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Christmas Shows: 2016 and Yesteryear

Christmas shows past and present.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Christopher Morahan

Chris was a real Gent who did not suffer fools.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Comments on TV Programmes: January – May 2017

  • SS-GB
  • Great American Railroad Journeys
  • The Worst Witch  – CBBC
  • Antiques Roadshow

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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…

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Everyone remembers where they were when …

JFK was shot on 22nd November  in 1963 – everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fireworks

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Future Proof Record and Replay

Technology has been changing so fast – what can you do to future proof any current recordings?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gallery Directors

A list of some of the gallery directors, whom we knew, and (sometimes) loved!, with some comment and reminiscences.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Green round the Gills

Odour and/or ordure.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Days Gone – Ampex

When you think back, the cost of a 90 minute reel of 2″ tape was eyewatering.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Inside the BBC TVC

A Google Streetview of inside the telly centre – before its demise.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jazz at the Maltings October 1968

A photo  taken before the Count Basie concert 27th October 1968

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Line tearing on VHS

Line tearing on VHS recordings always seems to be at the bottom of frame. Why is this?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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 people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Microphones

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?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Missing Items

Strange, what used to go missing…

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

More Personalities – the Crew

  • Andy Boyd
  • Peter ‘The Squire’ Hills
  • Chris Holcombe
  • Stan Bale
  • Brian Buckley
  • Keith Swadkins

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

More Personalities – The Talent

  • Brian Blessed
  • Ian McCaskill

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

More Troubles with Sound

This time live on “Consumer Watchdog” (21 December 2016).

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mumbleygate – Again

Yet another TV drama have mumbling dialogue: “SS_GB”.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

OGWT Manchester?

How many OGWTs were there from Manchester Oxford Road, what were the cameras, and who work on them?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Only Fools and Horses – the Van

Which van was used in the series? There are lots of yellow Reliant vans around the country.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pictures from TVC Roof around 1964-ish

Scanned transparencies – taken from the roof of TV Centre.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Planes

Something for the flight enthusiasts.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Radio Mics and What to do with them

When radio mics were big and beefy and ladies’ skirts were short and skimpy…

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Routemaster Moments

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” …

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Slides, Slide Mounts and Slide Scanners for TV

The correct way to load the telejector – and a discussion of Eidophor projectors.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So long, 3DTV

– we won’t miss you …

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sound Crew List January 1965

Dave Mundy found a Sound Crew list from January 1965.

Sound Crew List 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 ?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!. 

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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 …

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Trainspotting

Something for the ferroequinologist – and enthusiasts of French buses.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Trump’s First Few Days in Office

JANUARY 2017: President Trump just loves signing Executive Orders – what do you mean, fake news?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TVC Memories

Photos of Crew 4 in action – in February 1964 working in TC3 on a play called “The Happy Ones”.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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…

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Weather Blob

There was a persistent purple blob to the upper left on the “6 O’clock News” weather. The mystery is now solved.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wilkins in the Industry

Les (Sound) and his brother Cyril (lighting) were two Wilkins working at the Beeb. Was Bert Wilkins (ITV) any relation?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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?

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Who Nose?

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!

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Winters Past

Tales of Winters past.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You can call it home

The redevelopment of the BBC TVC – the advert and brochure.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

What people said…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.