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TheLewisS44 posts since 28 Aug 2018
Central (West) Midlands Today
Hey all,

How did BBC World do the Breakfillers in 2001?
I vaguely remember reading about how they used a disc of some sort, but I may be wrong.

If anyone can find me a article or explanation that would be very much appreciated.

Thanks!

EDIT: Also, does anyone know how the used to play idents (on any channel) during that period?
Last edited by TheLewisS on 31 October 2018 2:01pm
mdtauk6,126 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
There were animated background running from a modified Laserdisc I think, but by 2001 it may had been moved to a playout server. The BBC One ident from 1991 was also on a modified Laserdisc and was over a minute long.
TheLewisS44 posts since 28 Aug 2018
Central (West) Midlands Today
There were animated background running from a modified Laserdisc I think, but by 2001 it may had been moved to a playout server. The BBC One ident from 1991 was also on a modified Laserdisc and was over a minute long.


That helps. Thanks!

Any idea how they put the text on for the breakfillers?
It surely can’t be with the player?

Laserdiscs make sense for the idents, and menus must of been done like the breakfillers?
mdtauk6,126 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
I imagine the same system that does the lower thirds etc. The output from the video player fed into the graphics system, and text on a transparent background layed on top.
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TheLewisS gave kudos
noggin13,887 posts since 26 Jun 2001
I think the Breakfillers at one point were an animated background from a CRV (optical disc player - not quite the same as LaserDisc) with a CG overlaid over the top (something like an Aston or RTX Inscriber or similar, or possibly a PC or Mac with a graphics card that output SD interlaced video). The data was, I believe, derived from the BBC World teletext pages.
Inspector Sands12,741 posts since 25 Aug 2004
Yes, that's exactly how it was done.

The breakfiller consisted of 30 second sections with the graphic 'news', 'sport', 'business' etc and these were on the disc in various lengths in different combinations. The breaks were in the automation schedule as a 3 minute, 2 minute etc. That triggered the breakfiller system to start and or did everything automatically.

The text was taken from BBC World's teletext service which was done by Intelfax but had news, weather, sport content (I think it was the same as seen on Ceefax but not UK orientated). It was put on live as the breakfiller went out. It knew what order the subject matters were so put business news on the business background etc.

If the breakfiller system wasn't working, which wasn't uncommon apparently, there was a backup which was a tape with generic promo text on it instead of news stories (like this: https://youtu.be/Sjnoiiha_H4?t=252 at 4:09)

Of course the idea was for no one to see the filler as all their partners should have sold advertising in those gaps. The idea was that if the ads were 30 seconds long then if the break wasn't filled then the ads would finish neatly between the sections on the breakfiller. I remember seeing World in Asia on holiday and the timing wasn't bad mostly. These were triggered on the VBI by a system called Ident which also provided a teletext page style display showing when the next breaks were due. There was also a cue dot should that fail.

As mentioned it was replaced in 2001. Partly because the discs were difficult to get - news used them for their titles at the time and also struggled for blanks. But also because World's teletext was ending.
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 1 November 2018 9:27am - 4 times in total
noggin13,887 posts since 26 Jun 2001
I have a dim recollection of their being a position in the World Newsroom where the World teletext system could be updated - as it was at that point separate to the CEEFAX operation (licence fee vs commercial funding separation I suspect)

However I also have a recollection that CEEFAX provided text replaced Intelfax at one point prior to the service closing entirely?
Inspector Sands12,741 posts since 25 Aug 2004

EDIT: Also, does anyone know how the used to play idents (on any channel) during that period?

In the case of the BBC, by 2001 everything apart from the programmes was played from server (programmes were too but with a tape copy either as a main or a backup).


I'd imagine it was the same at most other channels. Channel 5 had Profile video servers for it's transmission area from its launch in 1997, again for interstitials, not programmes.
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 1 November 2018 8:38pm - 2 times in total
Mike516 (previously a516) 660 posts since 29 Jan 2010
Central (East) East Midlands Today
The Intelfax service started at the beginning of 1996. I first got access to BBC World in December 1995, when pressing Text produced a "BBC World Text is coming soon" message.

Although there were full sections for sport and business, there was, for many years only a single news summary page on 101, containing three news stories - 1 paragraph each. The first two stories appeared on the 'News Headlines' section of the breakfiller.

In summer 2000, the Ceefax news service arrived on 102-124.