TV Home Forum

Top of the Pops

1990 on BBC Four starting October 9th

NG
noggin Founding member
The Going Live (and later Live and Kicking) full screen graphics that they used to introduce performances and pop videos (and display the postal address) tended to look very pixellated...it never looked great. Indeed when L&K made a thing of shouting out the "6LA" part of the address they would zoom into that bit of the address which looked even worse! I think it was the 1997/8 series when they finally introduced some animated, higher-definition graphics but in much the same massive-text style.


Yep - from memory Going Live used to use a static still store 'full frame' graphic that was then Charisma-ed to make it animate. The animate in to 6LA would probably have just been a Charisma move. If you enlarge a portion of a picture in a DVE to make it much bigger - it will go pixelly as that's how DVEs work. If you did the same thing on a modern CG with vector-defined fonts the font would be rendered in full resolution however large or small the text is. In behind-the-scenes stuff (like the final edition opening) you can see the full-screen graphics in the stack on the still store outputs.

(From memory Cypher used bit map fonts - like Paintboxes of that era - but you had a choice of source sizes that could then be scaled ISTR)

By 1992 Aston Motif/Ethos had launched - and by the mid-90s were pretty ubiquitous. They used vector fonts (like TrueType and/or Postscript) and had various options for animation - Ethos with Megamoves and a VIP clip playback channel could do very clever stuff if you knew what you were doing. They were also a lot cheaper than Cypher - and similar in operation to previous generations of Aston so were easier to retrain existing operators on.

In Aston terms Aston 2->Aston 3->Aston4/Caption->Motif/Ethos was a relatively easy evolution in operational terms (Aston 4/Caption introduced the ability to make your own logos relatively easily, along with anti-aliased fonts and basic slide/push/wipe/line reveal animation that wasn't just roll, crawl and zip... Motif/Ethos added multiple planes and the ability to import graphics from platforms like Photoshop and animating backgrounds etc.)
Last edited by noggin on 10 August 2020 9:53am
CO
Colm Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
The horizontal/vertical text scaling, whether expanded or condensed, on the TOTP Cypher captions, in retrospect, was quite neat for its time.

When text was blown-up to a particularly large scale, effects were added to mask any degradation - I'm thinking of Blur's performances, and no prizes for guessing what they tried out:



Then again, the quick-paced animation makes it difficult for the less-discerning eye to pick out.
NG
noggin Founding member
Quote:
The horizontal/vertical text scaling, whether expanded or condensed, on the TOTP Cypher captions, in retrospect, was quite neat for its time.

When text was blown-up to a particularly large scale, effects were added to mask any degradation - I'm thinking of Blur's performances, and no prizes for guessing what they tried out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyUYCjN2Tng

Then again, the quick-paced animation makes it difficult for the less-discerning eye to pick out.


Yep - Cypher allowed you to design animation effects that worked on a letter-by-letter level, as well as a word-by-word or line-by-line level (so you could make letters spin, whilst the centres of the letters animated together as a group etc.). Effectively you can think of it as if each bit-map letter was assigned its own internal DVE to fly it around. The system had a finite amount of DVE processing power - so if you started trying to fly too many letters around at once you'd run out of steam. Each transition effect had a little bar graph on the operator's display that would indicate how close you were to using 100% of the processing capability.

ISTR that the user interface used a similar fried-egg controller to the Encore DVE (which was mainly sold as part of the Harry suite, as it was too expensive as a standalone DVE when cheaper devices like Abekas and Charisma were available), and I have a recollection it may have used the same 'stripey-string' paradigm to show motion paths (Displaying the motion path as yellow and black striped string where each stripe indicated a frame - though I may be misremembering. Stripey string was used on Harry, Henry, Editbox, HAL etc., and I think Encore)

I don't think Cypher had a blur function, but like most flat DVEs it did have the ability to do multi-freeze/decay effects (so you could leave motion trails that faded away). (YouTube's compression is doing a good job of blurring mind)
CO
Colm Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
A serendipitous post - here's a January 1991 example of the text animation capabilities of Cypher which Noggin has mentioned in the above post

From the master-tape, and uploaded in the past 24 hours to YT:

AJ
Anthony Jarvis New member London London
Looks good. You can see the box struggling a little, but I though they looked great.
KE
kernow
Still no sign of 1990 Top of the Pops appearing on BBC Four.

Big Hits 1964 to 1975 is now scheduled for 8pm on Friday 28th August.
SC
Si-Co Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Still no sign of 1990 Top of the Pops appearing on BBC Four.

Big Hits 1964 to 1975 is now scheduled for 8pm on Friday 28th August.


I’ve only recently started watching the re-runs. Do they usually take a break between “seasons”/years?
CEEFAX SUBTITLES BEGIN SHORTLY
KE
kernow
Si-Co posted:
Still no sign of 1990 Top of the Pops appearing on BBC Four.

Big Hits 1964 to 1975 is now scheduled for 8pm on Friday 28th August.


I’ve only recently started watching the re-runs. Do they usually take a break between “seasons”/years?


No, there hasn't been a break like this before since they've started showing 2 years each year.

In the last few years, the first year has started in January, and the second year in June or July.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
They usually start showing the next year as soon as the previous year is over. I'm not sure what the reason for the delay is, there's several weeks where they could have started 1990 rather than just repeat old Big Hits shows again.
AR
Argybargy Granada North West Today
Yes, it's all a bit odd. All we DO currently know is that there's a press release from BBC Media Centre detailing The Story Of 1990. So we know it's coming "soon", seemingly September by the looks of things. But if BBC Four do intend to get through all of the 1990 editions by Christmas, they'll have to broadcast 3 shows per week. If they stick to the usual 2 per week, that means the 1990 ones will have to continue running well into 2021.
RW
Robert Williams Founding member London London
As they are seemingly in no rush to start 1990, this indicates to me that they are not going to attempt to squeeze the whole year in before Christmas. I think it will run on into next year, with 1991 perhaps beginning around next spring and running for the remainder of 2021. This is obviously not the original plan, seeing as Rozalla posted up the planned transmission date for The Story of 1991 as 8th January 2021, however that post was made on 5th March, shortly before lockdown which of course changed everything. The rumours of the delays to the completion of The Story of 1990 seem quite believable to me, and this may well have pushed the whole schedule back.
JA
JAS84 Yorkshire Look North (E.Yorks & Lincs)
Still no sign of 1990 Top of the Pops appearing on BBC Four.

Big Hits 1964 to 1975 is now scheduled for 8pm on Friday 28th August.

Ugh. Well, since 1989 is finished, "1989 now on BBC Four" was out of date, so I've changed the thread caption to "Waiting for news of 1990 on BBC Four".

Newer posts