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commseng290 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
A second gallery seems excessive. A VHS machine in the truck and an RS toggle switch would have been enough I would have thought particularly if it's intended as a fake breakdown.



Yes, a second ME (or spare router feed) from the truck's vision mixer, and an aux output from truck's audio desk. Presumably the 'victim' was selected as being totally non tech savvy, and (generally very unobservant) because if it was me, I'd notice no end of untoward things going on inside and out !

You wouldn't notice things quite so much if you were away from the house while it was being set up and it was dark when you got back.
It was very carefully done with the assistance of whoever had set them up.
As for spotting the cameras themselves, I don't think so - the first time I saw the set up before NTV ever hit the air, to find the camera which I could see the output from on a monitor, I resorted to waving my hand around until I could work out where it was, and even then it was not at all obvious it was a camera! Well done BBC Tel OB Special Cameras department.
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commseng290 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
Although on a couple of occasions the victim, said allowed they had wondered why the flower arrangement on top of the tv had moved slightly once the penny dropped where the minicam actually was.

I'd love to know exactly how the tech set up worked.

Taking a best guess, the hidden (or camouflaged) mini cams and mics were battery powered and the tx ariels were sending the signal to the receiver on the PSC camera nearby, which was cabled, so had a direct feed back to the unbranded OB unit parked just out of sight, down the road?

Mostly the kit was cabled - the mini transmitters and battery packs of the time were too large to hide.
Cameras were hidden in VHS tape cassettes and looked out of the record tab hole (remember those?!).
Van parked outside as carefully as possible where it wouldn't be spotted by the victim.
However I understand that sometimes members of the public worked out that someone was going to be on NTV that night.
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dosxuk4,230 posts since 22 Oct 2005
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)

As for spotting the cameras themselves, I don't think so - the first time I saw the set up before NTV ever hit the air, to find the camera which I could see the output from on a monitor, I resorted to waving my hand around until I could work out where it was, and even then it was not at all obvious it was a camera! Well done BBC Tel OB Special Cameras department.


My dad once set this up for me and my sister on a Saturday morning (the fun of occasionally having an OB van parked in the driveway*). Was quite surprising to see our normal morning TV replaced by our lounge. Ended up turning into a game of find the camera, which is more difficult than you'd expect because when you see yourself on the screen your brain thinks it's a mirror, but everything is flipped horizontally so you look to the left when actually you should look right.

* It was an unbranded van owned by one of the ITV regions, being used at that point for filming drama, but would often supplement other vehicles at larger events. Don't think any of the neighbors ever twigged there was all that kit sat there, it was just a van my dad brought home every now and again.
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dosxuk4,230 posts since 22 Oct 2005
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
That's the thing I always wondered - it's one thing hiding a van on a residential street, another thing entirely hiding a crane with a load of antenna on top. Maybe commseng can help explain, but how exactly did they get the signal out from the target street? Maybe a low power link to a crane a couple of streets away / other side of a field that could then boost to a proper mid-point? Or were targets chosen based on whether they could get a link out without needing height?

Although nowadays, a semi decent 4G signal is all you'd need, probably not even needing any sort of antenna, so dead easy to hide the transmitter, but guess you do have the latency issue instead.
Blake Connolly1,793 posts since 21 Apr 2001
London London
Here's a shot of some BBC OBs microwave antennae from a London Marathon OB. I was told that the tape marks around the BBC logo were from the NTV days - they'd cover it up so as not to arouse suspicion. (Because obviously an unbranded dish is absolutely unremarkable...)

*


They're still using dishes with the pre-1997 logo on? Or is that an old photo?


No sign of the Shard but City Hall is there, which dates that photo roughly to the mid-2000s.
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thegeek5,061 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London

They're still using dishes with the pre-1997 logo on? Or is that an old photo?

That was from 2007, when BBC OBs still existed - you may be able to make out the Gill Sans BBC Resources logo on the other dish.

BBC OBs were subsequently subsumed into SISlive. I'm not sure if these dishes are still doing the rounds with NEP Connect, who I believe still have some ex-BBC kit in service, notably their first transportable earth station, UKI-1.


No sign of the Shard but City Hall is there, which dates that photo roughly to the mid-2000s.

There are no doubt some other clues on the skyline, but they're hard to spot with a photo taken with that era of cameraphone.
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Hatton Cross3,315 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Central (West) Midlands Today
That's the thing I always wondered - it's one thing hiding a van on a residential street, another thing entirely hiding a crane with a load of antenna on top. Maybe commseng can help explain, but how exactly did they get the signal out from the target street? Maybe a low power link to a crane a couple of streets away / other side of a field that could then boost to a proper mid-point? Or were targets chosen based on whether they could get a link out without needing height?


And not only that, but once the tech team had hid and placed the cameras, wired them up, and (somehow, which is the bit I'm still struggling with) powered up and got the cables out of the targets room and to the OB van, they then had to get the signal back to TVC.

That van with its taped up MCR dish, must have been 'hidden in plain sight' for a good couple of hours before the start of the live programme.
The team must have pretty good at poker face excuses when the enviable 'tap on the window' came every so often for the curious local residents.
My user name might look like Hatton Cross, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.