It was definitely a Mac that rendered the text. At one minute to each break, the automation (IBIS Landscape) would “stand up” the break. The Mac would go off and fetch data for Sport, Weather, News, Business and the schedule from teletext data. A laserdisc player would cue up the appropriate backing, and when it was all ready a thick white line would appear at the top of the output, which the network director could see on the preview screen in the pres gallery. If it didn’t appear, you generally had about thirty seconds to make sure your Aston menu was up to date and use that instead.
The breaks were constructed in 30” chunks, and it was generally something like Coming Up / News / Business / Sport / Coming Up. There were versions without Coming Up (for schedule changes or rolling news) and versions with weather (very rarely shown indeed!). If any of the data was out of date you could schedule a break of the same duration without the offending 30” segment, or (boss level network directing) you could mask that 30” live with your Aston coming up menu, leaving the music running. If the whole thing wasn’t working you could use a generic moving background for your break, and key the Aston coming up menu yourself (though most directors used a simple comp of Aston and static background).
It was pretty darn reliable too. The ABF’s use was curtailed in 2003 when the interfax teletext service ended and the BBC World teletext was just some news pages from Ceefax. I don’t think there was the data to support business, sport etc anymore. There was for a while a generic breakfiller, updated every month (December on BBC World type of thing) until the Dynamic Junction was ready.
The Dynamic Junction is a whole different story ... 😜
A weekend ABF from 1998, flags backings, no markets data on business and a short news summary and long programme at 1505.
1’05” into this clip, the generic flags backings for menus
2001 ABF, Weekday
2003 generic breakfiller “highlights in April”
Two minutes regions...