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ttt
Does anyone know what this VT clock was? It was used by Tyne Tees when inserting commercials into Channel 4. Is it merely a countdown clock burnt onto the VT at the start of each ad break, or did it serve another purpose?

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YTV used a more standard clock like this at the start of their VTs of commercial breaks - this one clearly states the date and the specific ad-break it was intended for:

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Those images appear to be faulty, but I think I know the TT one you mean.

For whatever reason TT did not use 'fully-formed' VT clocks internally. They either continued to use the old-style ones on a blackboard/chalk, or for promos and the like used a recording of an unfilled VT clock with information superimposed with a caption. This must have been due to a shortage of the devices used to generate the clocks 'properly'.

I guess the 'wibbly' red effect they used for the adbreak clocks was some sort of device used to make it more obvious to the gallery that ads were running? I can see no other purpose for that really.
noggin14,378 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Does anyone know what this VT clock was? It was used by Tyne Tees when inserting commercials into Channel 4. Is it merely a countdown clock burnt onto the VT at the start of each ad break, or did it serve another purpose?

*

YTV used a more standard clock like this at the start of their VTs of commercial breaks - this one clearly states the date and the specific ad-break it was intended for:

*


Those images appear to be faulty, but I think I know the TT one you mean.

For whatever reason TT did not use 'fully-formed' VT clocks internally. They either continued to use the old-style ones on a blackboard/chalk, or for promos and the like used a recording of an unfilled VT clock with information superimposed with a caption. This must have been due to a shortage of the devices used to generate the clocks 'properly'.

I guess the 'wibbly' red effect they used for the adbreak clocks was some sort of device used to make it more obvious to the gallery that ads were running? I can see no other purpose for that really.


Looks to me like TT didn't have many Courtyard clock generators or similar and instead used recorded blank clocks. The wipe on the first one may have been because the ident text was generated by a system without a key signal, or the editor decided to wipe it in rather than key it in.
ttt
It wasn't a wipe as such - those two splodges remained on-screen throughout the time the clock was there and moved in a 'wibbly' action, waving from left to right like the kind of animation you get before a dream sequence. They only used it for the ads but it was always there - the caption said "ITV CLOCKS" during Night Time programmes and "C4 CLOCKS" on C4.

This doesn't mean much but the text is using the same font as TT used for their local news in around 1984-5...

Perhaps it was simply the first cart they loaded up in an ad sequence, which had the required VT clock, and someone was bored one Friday afternoon while making that tape up in the early 80s? Smile

As you say though definitely a case of not many clock generators. That said they were still using the chalk ones in the early 2000s,years after YTV had pumped quite a lot of cash into City Road, so maybe it was partially just old habits.
Last edited by ttt on 24 April 2019 8:30pm - 2 times in total
Si-Co2,143 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)


You can see the “ITV Clocks” VT clock in action at the start of this video (take no notice of the content that follows - I just placed a recording of the clock at the start of that video compilation). It was recorded from Channel 4 in 1987, and appeared at the start of an ad break that was obviously mis-cued/mis-timed and the ads followed it, causing a late opt back to the C4 feed. I’m surprised it says ITV rather than Channel 4, as I saw the “Channel 4 Clocks” one on the monitors in the C4 area at City Road.

The Channel 4 area was quite distant from the main gallery and the carts/VTs of the various ad-breaks lined the wall beside the kit and monitors. Over in the gallery, a bank of four monitors showed Channel 4’s feed - from memory three showed a clean feed (with break captions) and one showed the “finished product” complete with ads (or it may have been the other way round with one clean feed and three containing ads). I’ve no idea why four were used - if three monitors showed the version with ads perhaps two were off-air from the transmitters? I remember an off-air monitor showing ITV/Tyne Tees, but I don’t think there was a Bilsdale version, just Pontop, despite there being news opts and some alternative programmes on Bilsdale.

On that note, how would Bilsdale’s alternative programming get to air? Would live news programmes from the Middlesbrough studio pass through City Road or be fed straight to Bilsdale? And where was the opt out controlled from?
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Si-Co2,143 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Was it noticeable when a local adverts, ie was there screen roll as the itv region opted in?
Or was the Ch4 feed passed through each ITV Tx, so they were effectively opting in at source?


There was always a glitch or frame roll at the start and end of the C4 commercial breaks, at least on Tyne Tees.
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Neil Jones5,337 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
Might be a silly question in hindsight but I presume Channel 4 as routed through the ITV companies only had the one region for each area, ie they just had "Midlands" as opposed to separate ones for Central West and Central East? So Channel 4 viewers who saw Central News East would see adverts having been inserted at Birmingham, not that it would have really been that noticeable?
bluecortina850 posts since 26 Jul 2012
Was it noticeable when a local adverts, ie was there screen roll as the itv region opted in?
Or was the Ch4 feed passed through each ITV Tx, so they were effectively opting in at source?


There was always a glitch or frame roll at the start and end of the C4 commercial breaks, at least on Tyne Tees.


Unforgivable. Absolutely unforgivable.
1
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MMcG198647 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
There was always a glitch or frame roll at the start and end of the C4 commercial breaks, at least on Tyne Tees.


Really?! That's extraordinary. Even lowly little UTV managed to avoid picture/audio synch errors during ad inserts on 4. I always got the impression that the gear they used for Ch 4 ads was more modern than the kit they used on UTV. For example - generally no picture glitches on 4 - can't say the same for UTV (c. early 80s until 1987).
Si-Co2,143 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
There was always a glitch or frame roll at the start and end of the C4 commercial breaks, at least on Tyne Tees.


Really?! That's extraordinary. Even lowly little UTV managed to avoid picture/audio synch errors during ad inserts on 4. I always got the impression that the gear they used for Ch 4 ads was more modern than the kit they used on UTV. For example - generally no picture glitches on 4 - can't say the same for UTV (c. early 80s until 1987).


It definitely happened, at least in the early years. The colour TV in the loungeroom would flicker with a few lines on the screen as TTT opted in at the start and end of the break, and my B&W portable would always have a frame roll at the start of the first ad, and again on the break filler or post-break promo/announcement when they opted back.

Wasn't there a situation where Scotland had to opt out for a different Party Political Broadcast? Any idea how that was done?


We were on holiday in Northumberland in the run-up to the 83 election, and (highly fallible) memory suggests seeing a Scotland-only PPB on Channel 4 after closedown billed in The Scotsman.


Yes, I mentioned this earlier in the thread. It was discussed on Right to Reply that week. The PPB or similar had to appear after closedown as STV weren’t allowed to opt out of any of the C4 schedule to show it.
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MMcG198 and Closedown gave kudos
ttt
Was it noticeable when a local adverts, ie was there screen roll as the itv region opted in?
Or was the Ch4 feed passed through each ITV Tx, so they were effectively opting in at source?


There was always a glitch or frame roll at the start and end of the C4 commercial breaks, at least on Tyne Tees.


Unforgivable. Absolutely unforgivable.


And not true as I recall. There was no splat.