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Did the BBC 2 Test Card ever have the 1986 "TWO" ident?

JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
How long did the interim period in 1984 last, first where they had no caption, then a basic caption after the initial switch to the electronic TCF?
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
How long did the interim period in 1984 last, first where they had no caption, then a basic caption after the initial switch to the electronic TCF?


The earliest recordings I have with the proper channel logos in place are November 1984. I don't know exactly how long TCF was without a channel ID. I do have a screengrab of the crude 'BBC2' lettering somewhere - I'll see if I can find it.

As I note in the Clean Feed article, the vertical positioning of the logos was fractionally off initially. Later this was adjusted - unfortunately, it left the 'BBC2' logo fractionally off, horizontally (as you can see from the 1984 v 1989 comparison in the article).
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
Here's the interim caption generator on BBC Two, from 1984:

*
DE
DE88 UTV Newsline
There's a recording of the BBC's PALPlus test here (though whoever uploaded it has labelled it as being for BBC Select encryption for some reason)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRFAFsEg0MI


Going completely off-topic here - but the clips between 13:56 and 15:54 are of my old home of Ealing... Embarassed Wink Cool

13:56 - 14:24: The Broadway looking east. Route 207 now only goes as far west as the Hayes Bypass, with route 427 covering the section from there to Uxbridge.

14:26 - 14:54: The old Waterglade Centre clock. Sadly replaced with a much less elaborate, and much more ugly, clock when the building was redeveloped in 2013/14.

14:56 - 15:24: The pond at Walpole Park. Many memories of feeding the ducks there as a kid.

15:26 - 15:54: The driveway at Ealing Studios, looking back towards the entrance. The white building on the right (coming into view at 15:32) has since been demolished.
"What is two plus two?" "Rather more than three." "Yes, but can you be more specific?" "The Belgians."
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I had no idea the BBC 1 test card didn't have the COW's logo until around 1989, I never remember the stripey BBC 1 logo on it at all.


That date is inaccurate. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the COW 'BBC1' logo was on the test card from 1985. The earliest recording I have to hand is May 1985. The earliest sighting of the COW logo on TCF that we are aware of - early April 1985.


Don't forget TCF up until the digitally produced version of the 80s was a precision 35mm slide, produced and transmitted to a very high standard. It wasn't the sort of thing knocked out by the graphics dept along with all the other pres slides. The master slide was that BBC 2 Colour one that was used for almost 20 years. Once electronic, then it was far easier to to customise the id box, and give both channels a customised test card.

BTW It's an engineering test pattern, not a piece of graphic design, so I prefer the expression 'fake' rather than 'mock' to describe the whimsical variations that exist on t'internet. Just saying
--
Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
thegeek and Matt7924 gave kudos
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
Don't forget TCF up until the digitally produced version of the 80s was a precision 35mm slide, produced and transmitted to a very high standard. It wasn't the sort of thing knocked out by the graphics dept along with all the other pres slides. The master slide was that BBC 2 Colour one that was used for almost 20 years. Once electronic, then it was far easier to to customise the id box, and give both channels a customised test card.


I'm fully aware of the background. I produced a detailed article on the history - including some technical specifics - which I've referenced previously in this thread.

As 35mm slides go, more effort went into the production of the BBC TCF slide, yes. However, I would disagree with your assertion that what was transmitted was of a very high standard. Over the years, the quality of the image deteriorated - e.g., one of the more obvious issues was the lack of consistency in the grey background. It wasn't great in terms of linear precision either. And there were many little variations in its position on screen over the years too (even from one day to the next, on the same channel).

The slide solution was simply the best option on the table for many years.

BTW It's an engineering test pattern, not a piece of graphic design, so I prefer the expression 'fake' rather than 'mock' to describe the whimsical variations that exist on t'internet. Just saying


That's a personal preference.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Don't forget TCF up until the digitally produced version of the 80s was a precision 35mm slide, produced and transmitted to a very high standard. It wasn't the sort of thing knocked out by the graphics dept along with all the other pres slides. The master slide was that BBC 2 Colour one that was used for almost 20 years. Once electronic, then it was far easier to to customise the id box, and give both channels a customised test card.


I'm fully aware of the background. I produced a detailed article on the history - including some technical specifics - which I've referenced previously in this thread.

As 35mm slides go, more effort went into the production of the BBC TCF slide, yes. However, I would disagree with your assertion that what was transmitted was of a very high standard. Over the years, the quality of the image deteriorated - e.g., one of the more obvious issues was the lack of consistency in the grey background. It wasn't great in terms of linear precision either. And there were many little variations in its position on screen over the years too (even from one day to the next, on the same channel).

The slide solution was simply the best option on the table for many years.



It was the only option until the 80s really. The ITA gave up with their TCFs quite early on, because it was uneconomic to continue. Their set up required a slide scanner and slide in every region (at their colour control rooms) so 14 slide scanners to keep in tip top condition. Of course, after 1972 there wasn't much down time to show the test card anyway.

I suspect the increasing use by the Beeb of in vision Ceefax was also an attempt to reduce relianace on the test card.


BTW It's an engineering test pattern, not a piece of graphic design, so I prefer the expression 'fake' rather than 'mock' to describe the whimsical variations that exist on t'internet. Just saying


That's a personal preference.


Never said it wasn't
--
Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
Mardybear and Matt7924 gave kudos
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
I thought the test card slides were acutally at the transmitters themselves with ITV, or had that changed by the time of TCF? Certainly the case in the Test Card C/D days as they had the name of the transmitter on them.
Last edited by james-2001 on 29 July 2020 4:05pm
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I thought the test card slides were acutally at the transmitters themselves with ITV, or had that changed by the time of TCF? Certainly the case in the Test Card C/D days as they had the name of the transmitter on them.


They came from the ITA's colour control rooms, that were at the primary 405 line sites in each region, so not necessarily the same site when UHF started. The colour control rooms were upgraded from the 405 line era rooms at those sites.

Croydon (rather than CP) Lichfied (rather than Sutton C), but on site at Emley, Winter Hill, Black Hill etc

In the late 70s they were consolidated down to just 4 control rooms, at Croydon, St Hilary, Emley, and Black Hill, and ETP1s installed at the UHF transmitters.
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
MA
Matt7924 Central (West) Midlands Today
I had no idea the BBC 1 test card didn't have the COW's logo until around 1989, I never remember the stripey BBC 1 logo on it at all.


That date is inaccurate. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the COW 'BBC1' logo was on the test card from 1985. The earliest recording I have to hand is May 1985. The earliest sighting of the COW logo on TCF that we are aware of - early April 1985.


I thought 1985 would be right to be honest, especially with the COW coming into use in February
MA
Matt7924 Central (West) Midlands Today
Here's the interim caption generator on BBC Two, from 1984:

*


This is very interesting and I had never seen the test card with the interim caption generator. From what I read, it was May 1984 when the electronic version started being shown, so it still took months before the proper channel logos were added
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Here's the interim caption generator on BBC Two, from 1984:

*


This is very interesting and I had never seen the test card with the interim caption generator. From what I read, it was May 1984 when the electronic version started being shown, so it still took months before the proper channel logos were added


The logo/ident might have been held in an EPROM, it's possible too much memory was required for the actual fonts for the COW and TWO logos (initially!)

I know when the C4 ETP1 at Crystal Palace was fired up on DSO night for one final appearance the chaps simply yanked out the EPROM that held the NTL:C4 ident
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967

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