Jacks’ lead storage

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Photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission.

This photo shows how spools from old VT tapes were reused as jacks’ lead storage in post production at Pebble Mill. You can see the spools screwed on to the end of this bay outside Dub 1 in post production

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The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook Page:

Keith Brook (Scouse): ‘I think they were the 30 minute size of 2″ spools. They took both sides off the centre, screwed it to the wall, then put one side back on.’

Andy Marriott: ‘I would’ve assume timed video leads would make that an MFA area somewhere in post production. Any increase/decrease in cable lengths would’ve played havoc with timings between VT/studios, unless you can compensate for it. This is obviously in the days before you could just stick cheap frame synchronisers on each OS. ISTR that even by the end of Studio B’s life, only a handful of the OS’ had synchronisers on. The others relied on the sources being synchronous and ‘timed in’, like local VT machines etc.

I think the reason they’re ‘timed’ leads, is that basically they’re all the same length, so if you need to patch a component feed between two VT’s (three patch cables required), you’d need the cables to be all the same length to avoid messing up your picture if (for example) the colour difference signals arrive before your luminance signal.

If you were short of spools you can also chop them at 120 degree intervals have three cable hangers instead. You can label as 50Hz, 0-20kHz and >3MHz.’

Raymond Lee: ‘It may have been a JCB [John Burkill] idea, he was quite involved with the refurb.’

One comment on “Jacks’ lead storage
  1. The use of VT spools for cables was quite widespread, I think.
    They are from 2inch quad tape. This tape was splice edited in early editing and could not be re-used, so there were many salvaged spools.
    Certainly in BBC Cardiff we used them,as shown, but we cut them in half so that one old spool could be used as two hangers or for ‘eighting’ a long cable around.
    I had for many years a mains extension lead on a 90″ spool, with a 13A mains socket bolted on the flange.
    The other temptation was to dismantle the spool – the flanges were bolted onto a solid machined hub. The hubs could earn a few beer tokens from the friendly scrap man.

    The spools shown are I think 20minute tape spools. These were bought in quantity in the commercial TV world for commercials and known a spot reels.

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