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Pete9,025 posts since 18 Jun 2001
As Lord Wellington asked earlier

Quote:
This is something I have always wanted to know, but was kinda afraid to ask.

I saw a James Bond film recently, filmed in the late 60's, I reckon, and the titles had fading white text for the credits of the film (you know the style).

How was this achieved? No computer technology would have been available to generate them.

How were captions and slides generated before computer technology?


Now I was actually quite interested in this topic but because of VERY childish bickering it got locked.

Now can we talk about this subject please?
A former member
Well on 'Some Mothers do ave em' it's quite obvious that the credits are on some sort of paper reel which is winded past the camera manually. I would presume that in films, the titles would be painted by artists then superimposed.
A former member
But the particular James Bond film I saw, the text was so clean. It even had a slight interlacing to it.

My only thought is that the films were re-released and the text regenerated using a digital caption generator - the original titles may have been different.
A former member
Quote:
Now I was actually quite interested in this topic but because of VERY childish bickering it got locked.


Hardly.

I would probably agree with LW that the film had been remastered, and the text relayed - but I couldn't be sure about that.

Which Bond film was it?
IndigoTucker501 posts since 4 Jan 2003
I think that with TV shows, the captions were made on card using letter transfers, then lumakeyed over, that is that all the image with a ertain brightness would be replaced with the background image, so that if the caption was black text on a white background, the white would be replaced by the image. This lasted for years - well into the eighties.

With films, can't they just reexpose the film stock with the text, increasing the exposure over each frame for a fade?
noggin14,318 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Film "effects" whether these are inserting graphics, matting two shots together, or just dissolving/mixing or wiping between frames, are performed using a device called an optical printer.

At its most basic this is a couple of film playback devices, (projectors without screens!) some mirrors, lenses and filters that can be manipulated to merge various film sources together in a variety of ways, which are then focused to expose a new bit of film, which contains a merged mixture of the source films.

On old films you could often see the quality drop just before a dissolve between scenese, as only the actual bits of film that needed to mix will have been processed and cut into the main film, as optical printing inevitably reduces quality as it adds to the generation losses.

The Bond titles will certainly not have been interlaced on the film source - as interlacing is a video process. Obviously if you are watching the film on UK TV then it will have been interlaced for transmission... (It will also be interlaced if the graphics were inserted from a video source)

Film credits on the BBC often look interlaced because they are speeded up in the video domain, so have 50fps motion.

As for early video captions - they were normally sourced from a studio camera pointed at a black and white caption on a caption stand, a small postcard sized B&W caption pointed in front of a specialised "TelOp" small camera, or a B&W slide in a flying spot style slide scanner.

The vision mixing device, or a separate box, would then allow the caption camera to be merged with either a normal studio camera, or telecine, or VTR source. Often this was done by simply adding the two sources together (a Super), and later Overlay and Inlay "keying" was possible. I forget which is which, but one inserted the caption camera output into the video signal, the other used the caption camera output to cut a hole to allow a third video source to be inserted. (So you could matte or key two live sources together, using the caption camera to scan a B&W mask to select the two sources)

Moving captions - rollers and crawls - were created on long rolls of paper that were passed in front of a camera, between rollers either manually or electrically operated.

Later, when colour was introduced (and bizarrely even in B&W days with a special 2 tube camera) it was possible to use CSO / Chroma key techniques for paper crawls and rolls. I think this is what I have seen on Some Mothers Do Ave Em.
A former member
I REALLY hate HTV West posted:
Quote:
Now I was actually quite interested in this topic but because of VERY childish bickering it got locked.


Hardly.

I would probably agree with LW that the film had been remastered, and the text relayed - but I couldn't be sure about that.

Which Bond film was it?


Goldfinger... it was on ITV1 a few weeks ago, IIRC.
A former member
I'll have a look at the DVD later and see if I can see what you're talking about.

Good film, though.
Gavin Scott8,284 posts since 23 Mar 2001
noggin posted:
As for early video captions - they were normally sourced from a studio camera pointed at a black and white caption on a caption stand, a small postcard sized B&W caption pointed in front of a specialised "TelOp" small camera, or a B&W slide in a flying spot style slide scanner.

Many years ago I went along to see an episode of Take the High Road (!) being taped at STV's Gateway Studios in Edinburgh. For the closing credits they had 3 lecterns with a stack of black cards on each and a separate camera trained on each one. As the music ran the vision mixer cut from one to the next, while the floor manager lifted off the top card on each stack off after it had been used to reveal the next one. I was amazed at how 'manual' the operation was. The credits were lumakeyed over some scratchy 16mm film telecine of Loch Lomond. The then Vision Mixer John Frame told me how he "wished they could shoot the titles on video", something they went on to do years later.

Didn't Crossroads used to do something similar with a tilt/pan style movement, which Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques went on to take the p*ss out of, with the cameras going the wrong way and getting confused? Laughing
noggin14,318 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Gavin Scott posted:
noggin posted:
As for early video captions - they were normally sourced from a studio camera pointed at a black and white caption on a caption stand, a small postcard sized B&W caption pointed in front of a specialised "TelOp" small camera, or a B&W slide in a flying spot style slide scanner.

Many years ago I went along to see an episode of Take the High Road (!) being taped at STV's Gateway Studios in Edinburgh. For the closing credits they had 3 lecterns with a stack of black cards on each and a separate camera trained on each one. As the music ran the vision mixer cut from one to the next, while the floor manager lifted off the top card on each stack off after it had been used to reveal the next one. I was amazed at how 'manual' the operation was. The credits were lumakeyed over some scratchy 16mm film telecine of Loch Lomond. The then Vision Mixer John Frame told me how he "wished they could shoot the titles on video", something they went on to do years later.

Didn't Crossroads used to do something similar with a tilt/pan style movement, which Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques went to on take the p*ss out of, with the cameras going the wrong way and getting confused? Laughing


Yep - that was how it was done. Until quite recently it was a standard director training exercise to direct a picture sequence of captions from 3 caption stands, directing the floor manager to change the captions on the stands, the cameras to pan/zoom around them, and the vision mixer to cut/mix between them. A lot of talking, and more difficult than it sounds, especially if done to music and to time.

Crossroads originally used either panning cameras, or sliding captions.

In News it was common to build up complex graphics sequences using a full cardboard graphic, with strips of cardboard pulled out by the floor manager to successively reveal information a line at a time... Also there were special machines to create these graphics - using special cardboard that changed colour when pressure and heat was applied. Rather than using stencils or letraset, you'd use something like a printing press, laying out the type with metal letters, which were then heated and pressed into the cardboard using a large press. In most regions there were piles and piles of pre-printed regional maps, which would just have placenames added for specific stories etc.

ISTR that there was a drama in the 80s or 90s made by BBC Scotland set in a TV graphics dept in the 60s that featured stuff like this...