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Trade Chat 80's Training Film; Life in the BBC TV Camera Department

 
crustytv
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Fascinating, but all that counting (towards the end of the video) from what I assume is the production control room, would do my head in. Amazing, as a viewer you don't really appreciate the organised mayhem to bring us content.

Bet Catho is used to all that.

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Topic starter Posted : 03/07/2020 1:06 pm
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Cathovisor
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It's the only way to do a music number - and remember, Wogan was live. Production Assistants (the person counting) sometimes have to read scores. Usually you'll hear "shot 27, (camera) 4 next" being spoken on a 'normal' show. The TOTP was either TC3 or TC4. 

I worked down TVT on that show for several years. And I hated those cameras - the dreaded Link 125. The lightweight cameras are Ikegami HL-79Ds.


 

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Posted : 03/07/2020 5:08 pm
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Nuvistor
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Thanks for explaining the numbers, I didn’t know what they were.

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Posted : 03/07/2020 5:14 pm
colourstar
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Very enjoyable glimpse of mid-80s tv production. I think I still have on VHS the edition of Wogan that was the last programme to come from the BBCtv Theatre/Shepherds Bush Empire.

Mod Note: ** Video link removed as it was already posted here in another thread this afternoon ***

Incidentally what were the reasons behind the dislike of the Link 125, Catho?

 Steve

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Posted : 03/07/2020 8:06 pm
Cathovisor
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@colourstar

Mostly that it was poorly engineered. The biggest problem it had was that it was never intended to be a single-chassis camera: it was conceived as the 120, which was in two halves: a back-pack worn by the operator and then the head and lens proper. If you looked at the cards in the chassis, those prefixed P were intended for the head, BP for the back pack. When the two were combined in one chassis to replace the now rather dated looking 110 it led to all sorts of nasties, not least of which were the dreaded "Bell ropes". This was a product of circulating earth currents from the built-in SMPSU that was locked to 4x line rate, so there were visible switching transients on low-key scenes, not helped by the proximity of the PSU to the actual tubes.

It was a three-tube design using 25mm tubes, taking the detail information out of the green channel which was fine until you had a strongly-saturated scene that had no green in it, which made the pictures look really soft. The noise performance wasn't great and getting the things to register really well was incredibly difficult at times. The chassis also lacked torsional rigidity. 

The one thing it did much better than the venerated EMI 2001 (seen briefly on the Eastenders clip - those were ex-TC3 cameras at the time) was handle highlight overloads. 

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Posted : 03/07/2020 11:45 pm
Cathovisor
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Whilst I'm glad I had the chance to experience first and second generation colour cameras, I'm glad those days are gone: give me a modern Sony any day of the week. Stable, sharp and clean images all day, every day. 

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Posted : 04/07/2020 12:03 am
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Nuvistor
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@cathovisor

Lots of back ground information, all interesting. ? 

There were probably many CTV’s in use that were not giving their best, and they were domestic quality not studio monitors so perhaps many of those defects weren’t noticed by viewers. The early cameras were big and cumbersome to use in some confined spaces, possibly real hazards for staff.

Presume studio production would change to a different camera angle if one camera was misbehaving.

 

 

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Posted : 04/07/2020 8:58 am
Cathovisor
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@nuvistor

It depended, Frank. Yes, they could but if necessary, there was usually a complete spare camera kept in the maintenance area for such purposes and it could be swapped out if needed after being given a cursory line-up. EMI 2001s were a four-man lift, especially if they still had the lens in (I remember doing that on a Play School in TC5 back in 1984): you could just manage a two-man lift on a Link 125. There were standing instructions at the time that said that programmes had to have the ability to carry on with one camera out of action if needed for a period: Studio Engineering Instruction no. 38, I recall (later Studio Engineering Standing Instruction no. 5). I seem to recall fifteen minutes was the period before a technical breakdown was declared?

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Posted : 04/07/2020 12:53 pm