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RE
RyanE
Looking at some of the behind the scenes videos on YouTube, one thing that is clear is that back in the days of VTR's used for the playout of prerecorded clips in programs, a number of clips were put on the same videotape. Once one clip had been played out, the machine was fast forwarded to the countdown clock of the next clip so it was ready to play on request of the gallery. Where clips were needed to be played out quickly one after another, two or more machines were used to allow the other machine/s to be lined up before it was needed.

Am I correct in saying that these clips were edited seperately, perhaps in different edit suites, on different tapes? Once the final edits were produced, they would have then assembled the clips onto one tape in the correct order, putting things on different tapes if multiple machines were needed?

If so, this must have been quite time consuming to do before a news bulletin where the story order would have had to be agreed and the tapes assembled in real time before the broadcast. What would have happened if the story order needed to be changed, or another story added?

Another question this raises is analogue generation loss. If something is recorded to a tape, edited onto another tape, recorded onto another tape as I have suggested above and then recorded onto another tape for final transmission (or maybe even further editing) surely the quality would suffer.

The following video prompted this question, which would have perhaps needed the above to occur?

BL
bluecortina
You ask a lot of questions!

Your first paragraph is a reasonable assumption. It would be unusual for a show to have more than one machine playing in ‘inserts’ unless it was particularly complex. Whilst I never worked on it, a show like TIYL would be quite simple from a production standpoint and I very much doubt there would be more than one studio ‘play in’ machine. The placing of the inserts would be such that the VT operator could easily spool and cue between Eamon’s scripted links and would not really be a production problem, especially with the introduction of timecode which allowed the operator to just load up a list of ‘in’ points and get the machine to cue to those as required.

Yes, in the days of analogue dubbing copies of tapes would reduce the quality, so the less the better (obviously). After 3 or 4 dubs you could be on rocky ground.

I’ve probably not answered all your questions, if you have more try to restrict yourself to one or two at a time or it becomes difficult to fathom what you are asking or wish to know! Happy to help where I can.
TE
Technologist
For news tape inky really came in with cassettes so you just did an A-B roll between two machines
Going through the stack of cassettes , and grabbing the right one when the running Order changed

Or taking the one haded to you are getting it in air fast !

One “leading world class broadcaster ” (nit European)
Went to an automated cart machine to do thus ...
But it meant that the latest news took about 3 mins to get in air
by the time you ha stopped the cart Robot , stuffed the cassette in and then restarted it
And it read the bar code etc etc etc...
Total waste of money ..
RE
RyanE
Your first paragraph is a reasonable assumption. It would be unusual for a show to have more than one machine playing in ‘inserts’ unless it was particularly complex. Whilst I never worked on it, a show like TIYL would be quite simple from a production standpoint and I very much doubt there would be more than one studio ‘play in’ machine. The placing of the inserts would be such that the VT operator could easily spool and cue between Eamon’s scripted links and would not really be a production problem, especially with the introduction of timecode which allowed the operator to just load up a list of ‘in’ points and get the machine to cue to those as required.


It must have slowed things down having to record everything back onto the "insert" tape prior to a show, particularly for a live programme. Then again, this would have been easier than having to keep changing tapes back in reel to reel days.


Yes, in the days of analogue dubbing copies of tapes would reduce the quality, so the less the better (obviously). After 3 or 4 dubs you could be on rocky ground.


They must have been close to this limit quite often in that case:
1) Original tape recorded on location
2) Tape containing edited insert
3) Tape containing inserts assembled in the correct order for playout into programme
4) Recording of "As live" programme

If they then reedited this at all then that could mean a 5th generation, unless they would have edited in the VT from the edited tape at this stage?
RE
RyanE
For news tape inky really came in with cassettes so you just did an A-B roll between two machines
Going through the stack of cassettes , and grabbing the right one when the running Order changed

Or taking the one haded to you are getting it in air fast !

One “leading world class broadcaster ” (nit European)
Went to an automated cart machine to do thus ...
But it meant that the latest news took about 3 mins to get in air
by the time you ha stopped the cart Robot , stuffed the cassette in and then restarted it
And it read the bar code etc etc etc...
Total waste of money ..


Cassettes must have been a lot easier than reel to reel machines, and the servers used today even easier.

Were any robot cart machines any good? I've seen a few mentions of them, particularly with regards to the playout of trails and ads, but it seems they never were the most reliable things judging by people's opinions of them.
DE
deejay
Robotic cart machines could be extremely reliable, if maintained well and looked after properly. But you needed excellent operators to ensure if they did run into problems you could get the tapes out and play them in standalone machines. You also needed to leave enough time for them to cue up! However many channel playout companies and news operations used machines like MARC, Betacart, Odetics and Flexicart successfully.

This wasn’t possible with the very earliest 2” machines though, because the tape cartridges were not playable in any other machines.


And like with all machines, when you combine mechanics with electronics you are always going to run into problems every so often.
BL
bluecortina
RyanE posted:
Your first paragraph is a reasonable assumption. It would be unusual for a show to have more than one machine playing in ‘inserts’ unless it was particularly complex. Whilst I never worked on it, a show like TIYL would be quite simple from a production standpoint and I very much doubt there would be more than one studio ‘play in’ machine. The placing of the inserts would be such that the VT operator could easily spool and cue between Eamon’s scripted links and would not really be a production problem, especially with the introduction of timecode which allowed the operator to just load up a list of ‘in’ points and get the machine to cue to those as required.


It must have slowed things down having to record everything back onto the "insert" tape prior to a show, particularly for a live programme. Then again, this would have been easier than having to keep changing tapes back in reel to reel days.


Yes, in the days of analogue dubbing copies of tapes would reduce the quality, so the less the better (obviously). After 3 or 4 dubs you could be on rocky ground.


They must have been close to this limit quite often in that case:
1) Original tape recorded on location
2) Tape containing edited insert
3) Tape containing inserts assembled in the correct order for playout into programme
4) Recording of "As live" programme

If they then reedited this at all then that could mean a 5th generation, unless they would have edited in the VT from the edited tape at this stage?


I think it’s impossible to generalise, and tape operators were generally very slick. Spooling and changing tapes etc during a programme whether recorded or a live tx was not a big deal for an experienced vt engineer. Changing tapes during a commercial break etc was pretty much bread and butter stuff. It wasn’t always possible to a ‘nice’ selection of inserts and tapes all ready to go,
BL
bluecortina
RyanE posted:
For news tape inky really came in with cassettes so you just did an A-B roll between two machines
Going through the stack of cassettes , and grabbing the right one when the running Order changed

Or taking the one haded to you are getting it in air fast !

One “leading world class broadcaster ” (nit European)
Went to an automated cart machine to do thus ...
But it meant that the latest news took about 3 mins to get in air
by the time you ha stopped the cart Robot , stuffed the cassette in and then restarted it
And it read the bar code etc etc etc...
Total waste of money ..


Cassettes must have been a lot easier than reel to reel machines, and the servers used today even easier.

Were any robot cart machines any good? I've seen a few mentions of them, particularly with regards to the playout of trails and ads, but it seems they never were the most reliable things judging by people's opinions of them.


The Sony Betacart was quite brilliant and reliable day in day out.I always found the RCA TCR100 mentioned by deejay to be reliable and the Ampex ACR25 too but not everyone did and some companies would not use them on-air for commercials.
RE
RyanE
Robotic cart machines could be extremely reliable, if maintained well and looked after properly. But you needed excellent operators to ensure if they did run into problems you could get the tapes out and play them in standalone machines. You also needed to leave enough time for them to cue up! However many channel playout companies and news operations used machines like MARC, Betacart, Odetics and Flexicart successfully.

This wasn’t possible with the very earliest 2” machines though, because the tape cartridges were not playable in any other machines.

And like with all machines, when you combine mechanics with electronics you are always going to run into problems every so often.


It seems they weren't as bad as it first appeared. Didn't the BBC have the MARC machines in NTA, but they seemed to be quite short lived?
TE
Technologist
RyanE posted:

It seems they weren't as bad as it first appeared. Didn't the BBC have the MARC machines in NTA, but they seemed to be quite short lived?

They Like many Robot systems were used for interticials -
But then came servers - smaller faster and less likely to seize up... or take time to recycle!
JO
Johnr
I have an old recording of a Britain's Got Talent Series 2 episode which Ant and Dec introduce from the gallery, just before the titles roll someone says '...and roll VTR!'
GE
thegeek Founding member
RyanE posted:

Were any robot cart machines any good? I've seen a few mentions of them, particularly with regards to the playout of trails and ads, but it seems they never were the most reliable things judging by people's opinions of them.

I dealt with Flexicarts quite a bit at the start of my career back in 2005 - by then, programmes were delivered on tape, went into the Flexicart, and it slowly worked its way though ingesting stuff to server, from where it was played out to air. If you were lucky, it would do it in TX order - if you weren't, you'd have to hunt through all the tapes to try to find the one you needed to ingest manually from a local machine. Some broadcasters were more sensible than others when it came to putting the tape number in a large typeface alongside the barcode.

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