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Si-Co2,013 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
I personally think that the ITV Schools 30th Anniversary slide was probably being transmitted from Channel 4 - they had been supplied with two slides in the Summer of 1987 when they broadcast the schools programmes on behalf of ITV during the elections and another event on ITV, and must have had it still to hand in presentation. Whatever had happened allowed them to show the slide and caption, and play music (on of their testcard tapes) but not broadcast the programmes. This is just guesswork - but why would an ITV company take over control of Channel 4 - they would be busy enough dealing with their own output.
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Inspector Sands13,259 posts since 25 Aug 2004
I personally think that the ITV Schools 30th Anniversary slide was 8probably being transmitted from Channel 4 - they had been supplied with two slides in the Summer of 1987 when they broadcast the schools programmes on behalf of ITV during the elections and another event on ITV, and must have had it still to hand in presentation. Whatever had happened allowed them to show the slide and caption, and play music (on of their testcard tapes) but not broadcast the programmes. This is just guesswork

It's all just guesswork!


Thing is that if they could transmit that slide, why not any of the others they'd have on the same stills store? Something more up to date rather than one they used for 2 days years earlier? Hence I think it could be from an ITV centre. They'd probably have that schools slide knocking around, but not the recent ones.

Quote:
but why would an ITV company take over control of Channel 4 - they would be busy enough dealing with their own output.

That's how disaster recovery back ups work, you have an arrangement with another organisation (or elsewhere in your organisation) whereby they will provide facilities to help you out if the poo hits the fan. People muck in to help.


In this case an ITV company would be an ideal location - they co owned C4 and each had a facility to insert their ads... if its off air anyway they're not doing anything else!

As I mentioned before, Channel 4 used theirs in the 2000's, that location was a company involved in TV but not a broadcaster. Channel 5 used to have their DR at Red Bee in White City (presumably not now as their playout is now there) LBC and Talk Sport had DR arrangements despite being rivals, one morning their breakfast shows came from studios next door to each other as Talk Sport's facility was out of action

In broadcasting that could be anything from a full spare playout suite or studio to a bag of tapes* Old linear edit suites were quite handy at being repurposed to makeshift playout suites - they had stills stores, microphones, tape machines and audio mixers already. That's what the BBC had prepared at Pebble Mill many years ago

*I worked at a satellite channel many years ago and we literally had a bag of tapes on a shelf for another satellite channel along with instructions on what to do and who to call to get them on air - plug this to that, get MCR to route X to Y and get BT Tower to route our local ends to the ones normally carrying the channel. Crude but its just about keeping something on air
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 14 April 2019 8:26am - 3 times in total
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Steve in Pudsey9,707 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
But then what other schools pres would they have on the slide store? Everything else for the schools sequence came from computer controlled tape didn't it? Maybe that slide was the backup for the rotomotion failing?

I wonder how S4C sustained during the breakdown?

I have to also wonder how formal DR arrangements were in this era? It's not long after the Great Storm which saw TV-am treading water from Thames in a way that didn't look very planned or rehearsed.

Also - were the C4 suites at ITV centres staffed by Transmission Controllers or a lower grade who could play in the ads but would not necessarily be able to play out something more comprehensive in a DR situation?
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bluecortina756 posts since 26 Jul 2012
Where I worked the C4 transmission suite was generally operated by a ‘fully fledged’ transmission controller and MCR engineer. Indeed, I did a few shifts in both capacities myself. It was a smaller version than the main ITV transmission suite but fully operationally capable. C4 was never co-owned by the ITV companies, they financed it but they had no ownership rights. All local C4 on air announcements and trailers were performed live, nothing was pre-recorded.
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robertclark1251,329 posts since 13 Jan 2009
STV Central Reporting Scotland
This breakdown was after the Channel 4 Daily was launched. In the five minute break between the end of the daily and the start of schools programmes, C4 showed the ITV Schools on 4 clock, as a still, with it at 27 seconds. Below the clock was a caption, "Programmes for schools and colleges follow shortly". That was a still image. Why couldn't that have been shown instead, if the output we saw in the video was coming from C4?
Markymark6,382 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Another channel 4 ad break breakdown, this one is from 1984. Given there is an advert for Youngers Scotch Bitter, I'd suggest it's from either Border, Tyne Tees, Granada, or possibly Yorkshire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncGxxvs0xGo


I have a feeling that’s YTV, but it could easily be any of the northern stations, like you say.

I notice there are points in that footage where the region opts back to the Channel 4 feed in vision only. That reminds me of an afternoon in late 1984, when Channel 4 in the Tyne Tees region opted out to show their commercials but only the audio from the commercials was heard. The Channel 4 “follows shortly” slides remained on screen throughout the breaks while we heard the various ads. This went on from about 2.30 until around 5pm, when partway through a break the screen went from the C4 slide to some kind of static/moving lines and then the ads appeared in vision shortly afterwards.

I’ve no idea what had gone wrong - evidently the stations could opt out in sound only (and perhaps vision only), not that I think they’d ever do so intentionally (though UTV notably faded the music up a few seconds after they rejoined the C4 caption during partly filled breaks, so they seemed to have equipment that was capable of more than just down and up fade through black when opting in and out). The opts were supposed to be automated, but for whatever reason several regions seemed to do them manually at least part of the time.


I wonder if the problem was at the local BT switching centre. Normal config was C4 arrived from London, and was 'tromboned' through the local ITV company, and then an onward feed to the transmitters. The feed to and back from the ITV company could be by-passed (in the event of some sort of major problem at the station). Perhaps BT's router was having a fit (during the programme itself there would have been glitches, but of course most noticeable during breaks). Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.
Markymark6,382 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Where I worked the C4 transmission suite was generally operated by a ‘fully fledged’ transmission controller and MCR engineer. Indeed, I did a few shifts in both capacities myself. It was a smaller version than the main ITV transmission suite but fully operationally capable. C4 was never co-owned by the ITV companies, they financed it but they had no ownership rights. All local C4 on air announcements and trailers were performed live, nothing was pre-recorded.


HTV's 'S4C' commercial playout suite was used from Jan 1st 1993, for Westcountry's playout/pres
Steve in Pudsey9,707 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.

But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?
Write that down in your copybook now.
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Markymark6,382 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.

But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?


I’ve missed some detail, it lasted 2 hours?
JexedBack69 posts since 15 Nov 2016
South East Today
Where I worked the C4 transmission suite was generally operated by a ‘fully fledged’ transmission controller and MCR engineer. Indeed, I did a few shifts in both capacities myself. It was a smaller version than the main ITV transmission suite but fully operationally capable. C4 was never co-owned by the ITV companies, they financed it but they had no ownership rights. All local C4 on air announcements and trailers were performed live, nothing was pre-recorded.


HTV's 'S4C' commercial playout suite was used from Jan 1st 1993, for Westcountry's playout/pres


Didn’t know WestCountry had outsourced its Pres and Playout.
Quite the switch from just commercials
Steve in Pudsey9,707 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.

But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?


I’ve missed some detail, it lasted 2 hours?

2.30-5.00 according to the post you quoted
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Si-Co2,013 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.

But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?


I’ve missed some detail, it lasted 2 hours?


Yes, the example on Tyne Tees I referred to, not the video clip that was shared.

Something else I found strange was the “static effect”* that appeared partway through the last “faulty” ad-break. We saw, roughly speaking, 30 seconds of the C4-generated caption, then a minute or so of “static”, then a couple of minutes of ads - all the while the soundtrack of the ads was heard. Whether that static was something to do with them “putting things right”, I’m not sure. Or maybe that was all they were capable of putting out during the fault, and chose to show the C4 caption instead. I didn’t see the first faulty break, so maybe it was part-static and part caption. I’m assured that the captions appeared all afternoon though, from about 2.30 when C4 started up and were showing snooker, and I witnessed all breaks from about 3.30 onwards myself. It may have been closer to 6pm the fault was rectified, the more I think about it.

*By “static”, I mean an effect not too unlike the blank/unrecorded parts of VHS videotape - a moving pattern of greys, blacks and whites.
Last edited by Si-Co on 15 April 2019 2:21am - 2 times in total
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