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Markymark6,974 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
I can't remember what it was on our old 80s telly but there was some menu or similar that didnt lock in position on the screen in a certain circumstance. However if you tuned the telly into the VCR and then changed channel it would move positions depending on the sync of that channel. Whereas it would move between ITV and C4 it appeared in the same position for BBC1 and 2


Which of course makes perfect sense as the two were coming from the same technical infrastructure


C4 and TVS were similarly in sync too, again as expected, as TVS stuffed C4 through a frame sync so both channels were locked to station ref. There was often a splat just after the fade to black on C4's closedown sequence, presumably as TVS took their C4 Pres suite out of circuit ?
Inspector Sands13,763 posts since 25 Aug 2004
Can't have been that last minute considering he says 'there's been two more bombs'

I think the BH theory is likely. Of the two newsrooms the radio one would have been manned overnight as radio was 24 hours by then. Unless the predessesors of BBC World were on air and doing overnight news at TV Centre, but they probably wouldn't have been able to do a newsflash
Steve in Pudsey10,179 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Breakfast Time was originally at Lime Grove, although the news bulletins were from TV Centre iirc (before News merged with Current Affairs), so it's likely there was a small presence overnight.


ISTR that the newsreaders (Debbie Rix, Caroline Righton etc.) were in Lime Grove (i.e. were in the same studio) but the bulletins were produced by TV Centre news teams? I'm sure I remember the newsreader sitting at a Breakfast branded desk and there being a wide shot for the hands to and from?

There was an odd situation where the 0900 bulletin came from TV Centre in one era ISTR.

Now you mention it, you're quite right about the newsreader being in the studio. But I'm sure I've seen clips of Frank Bough throwing to a news bulletin at TV Centre.
Write that down in your copybook now.
denton1,049 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Could OU Con be simultaneously in sync with NC1 and NC2? Perhaps that was why the sync issue didn't have an easy fix.

Or were the networks both in sync with each other? I know they often weren't by the time they reached regional centres


It always baffled me that BBC NI didn't have their own Con desk properly synced up with London until 1992. So, at every junction, we had two types of picture/audio blip: one when the NI desk was put in circuit; and another when the Belfast Con desk cut between a local source and the network feed (sometimes the picture rolls were quite spectacular). As late as 2000, their opting gear produced quite horrendous results: when they put their desk in circuit, we used to lose vision/audio for a couple of seconds (this affected analogue only). Any 1980s off-air recordings that I've seen of BBC Scotland/Wales seemed to have pretty clean transitions between local sources and the network feed.


I'm fairly sure, from conversations with former colleagues in years gone by, that Wales (not sure about Scotland) kept their desk in circuit most of the day to avoid the rather obvious opting splats.

I definitely remember that when network and BH Belfast drifted apart, if you requested a Genlock from MCR, they had to check that no edit suite was in use at the time... as the Genlock process would affect the whole building.

I once requested a Genlock, but forgot that BBC Two Northern Ireland analogue (which came from a digital pres suite) was effectively permanently in-circuit via the opting by-pass panel in analogue TV Con. When the Genlock was performed BBC Two Northern Ireland output crash/bang/walloped around terribly.

On another occasion I introduced the 6 o'clock News on analogue BBC One Northern Ireland, just as every source on the pres mixer desk lost sync (lots of red LEDs suddenly lit up). When I cut from the clock to the News and looked at the off air monitor, the picture went black for what felt like several seconds, before wobbling back in black & white, and then eventually back into colour. It was absolutely horrendous looking.
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Steve in Pudsey10,179 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
When did it become common for pres desks to have a rehearsal mode, so it was technically still in circuit but in reality just passing a single source through so the next item could be rehearsed?

I know such a thing has available in radio for decades, but not sure when TV adopted it
Write that down in your copybook now.
denton1,049 posts since 4 Jan 2003
When did it become common for pres desks to have a rehearsal mode, so it was technically still in circuit but in reality just passing a single source through so the next item could be rehearsed?

I know such a thing has available in radio for decades, but not sure when TV adopted it


Not sure. The analogue Pres mixer I was using in the early 2000s (and which had a 'memory rehearse' mode) was installed in the early 1990s I think. I'm sure MMcG will be able to tell us the exact year. Not sure if the previous desk had a memory or rehearsal mode or not (I think it was installed around 1985?).
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Technologist54 posts since 10 Oct 2018
London London
When did it become common for pres desks to have a rehearsal mode, so it was technically still in circuit but in reality just passing a single source through so the next item could be rehearsed?

I know such a thing has available in radio for decades, but not sure when TV adopted it


The answer is no in part because if the timing issues that are being described ....
when frame syncs became available ..if you synchronised network some things went away ...but there would be repeat Or skipped frame at the opt point ( like there is in BBC one HD at end if news ) ....

Timing in the days before having GPS as a master source fur your Sync pulse generator was quite an art form .... and only the nations had ovened crystals ......
Sadly as SDI rolled with internal line syncs in all mixer inputs and the mpeg decoders you could genlock the need for understanding timing went away ... and the difference between frequency and phase .... ( but is coming back with ST2110)

I can remember on one occasion the BBC digital transmission area SPG threw a wobbly in the one a clock news .... seeing both VBI and some FBI in picture I dashed up from the basement lab to the duty engineer who was wondering why ceefax was in the middle of picture !! And thence to change it over to an SPG which did not have EVERY red light on ....... a great lurch but then a lot of stability ... and lots of people stopping panicking !!!
MMcG198672 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
When did it become common for pres desks to have a rehearsal mode, so it was technically still in circuit but in reality just passing a single source through so the next item could be rehearsed?

I know such a thing has available in radio for decades, but not sure when TV adopted it


Not sure. The analogue Pres mixer I was using in the early 2000s (and which had a 'memory rehearse' mode) was installed in the early 1990s I think. I'm sure MMcG will be able to tell us the exact year. Not sure if the previous desk had a memory or rehearsal mode or not (I think it was installed around 1985?).


BBC NI's new early 90s con suite went live in 1992. For the first time, the local announcer/director could now mix between a local source and the network feed (network and local sources were finally properly synced up, allowing for clean transitions). The desk also allowed for wipe transitions. The day that it went live - a Saturday - announcer/director David Olver made use of some of those new transition effects. From memory, there were still some minor local/network sync issues initially, but these were quickly ironed out.

The memory capability came about as a result of a need to make operation of the desk as easy as possible for the con directors/announcers in the nations, who had many operational items to contend with, before, during and after junctions. It was possible to programme the events and transitions in advance, as far as I'm aware.

The previous suite was installed in late-1984 as far as I can recall. It was part of a more significant facilities upgrade, which included the construction of Studio B. From a pres perspective, the new con facility also resulted in BBC Northern Ireland being the first of the BBC regions (national and English regions) to use an electronically generated on-air clock on BBC One. BBC NI was the only region to have an electronic channel clock during the 1981 - 1985 era.

I had a hoke about for a high-level spec of the 1984 suite: a comprehensive Cox special mixer, Rank Cintel MK7 slide scanner, Aston 3 character generator and separate network and clock logos; switching, as in the whole complex, is handled by an NTP router. The continuity has facilities to opt-out of either network and incorporates a special network mimic diagram.
Markymark6,974 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

On another occasion I introduced the 6 o'clock News on analogue BBC One Northern Ireland, just as every source on the pres mixer desk lost sync (lots of red LEDs suddenly lit up). When I cut from the clock to the News and looked at the off air monitor, the picture went black for what felt like several seconds, before wobbling back in black & white, and then eventually back into colour. It was absolutely horrendous looking.


Was the off air monitor a bog standard domestic telly, fed from RF, or a broadcast/pro monitor fed from a tuner upstream somewhere, (and through the station router) ? If the latter, I suspect it didn't look anywhere near as bad for the punters at home.
denton1,049 posts since 4 Jan 2003

On another occasion I introduced the 6 o'clock News on analogue BBC One Northern Ireland, just as every source on the pres mixer desk lost sync (lots of red LEDs suddenly lit up). When I cut from the clock to the News and looked at the off air monitor, the picture went black for what felt like several seconds, before wobbling back in black & white, and then eventually back into colour. It was absolutely horrendous looking.


Was the off air monitor a bog standard domestic telly, fed from RF, or a broadcast/pro monitor fed from a tuner upstream somewhere, (and through the station router) ? If the latter, I suspect it didn't look anywhere near as bad for the punters at home.


Domestic TVs, monitoring off-air RX. Not entirely sure if they were fed directly from an aerial or via the ring main.
denton1,049 posts since 4 Jan 2003
When did it become common for pres desks to have a rehearsal mode, so it was technically still in circuit but in reality just passing a single source through so the next item could be rehearsed?

I know such a thing has available in radio for decades, but not sure when TV adopted it


Not sure. The analogue Pres mixer I was using in the early 2000s (and which had a 'memory rehearse' mode) was installed in the early 1990s I think. I'm sure MMcG will be able to tell us the exact year. Not sure if the previous desk had a memory or rehearsal mode or not (I think it was installed around 1985?).


The memory capability came about as a result of a need to make operation of the desk as easy as possible for the con directors/announcers in the nations, who had many operational items to contend with, before, during and after junctions. It was possible to programme the events and transitions in advance, as far as I'm aware.


Yes, you could programme each junction event's Audio and Video source (actually think it was labelled as Sound and Vision) and the transition (cut, mix, wipe) into the memory. You entered them into the memory in the order the junction would occur, and if you made a mistake you had to clear the whole memory and start again... which was really annoying if you were entering every event in the junction into a local news bulletin, every event in the news you were directing, and every event in the junction after the news. It was very easy to lose your place. Fortunately you could enter memory rehearse mode and try the whole sequence out to make sure it was all there.

What you had to remember to do of course, was to come out of memory rehearse before the actual junction... otherwise the viewers at home wouldn't see the junction, and you'd be doing the whole thing for no one but yourself!
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