Studio Operations (part 2) – Ray Lee

TM’s and EM’s

The studio engineers all worked to the TM’s (Technical Manager). Each studio day had a TM1, who was senior and looked after the studio lighting, and a TM2 who dealt with all the other technical issues, and liaised with the producer and director.

The TM1 was always in the lighting gallery, and the TM2 in the production gallery. Between them they were the final arbiters of technical quality during the production. TM2’s quite often acted as TM1’s and there were quite few movements in the early days, so I cannot be exactly sure who was in post at the time (mid 1970s). Bob Gell and Barry Hill were the main TM1’s, joined soon by Dick Bentley together with TM2’s  who I think were Bob Chaplin, Derek Price, John Jevons and later Ron Irvine. They were joined later by George Allen and Barry Chatsfield. (who moved from being a Cameraman to TM fairly early on as I recall).

The two EM’s (Engineering Managers) at that time were Gordon White and John Endall. They were in charge of all technical planning of O.B.’s . Normally only one EM would be allocated to an OB. as there was rarely any major lighting to be done.

Ray Lee

Studio A lighting gallery

Studio A lighting gallery

Pebble Mill at One – pre planning trip for Billy Joel shoot

Photo by Derek Price, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is of director, John G Smith (on the left). It dates from November 1984, and was at a pre plan for a Billy Joel shoot for ‘Pebble Mill at One’. It was taken on a balcony top, in the U.S.A.

Producer Roz Gower left the following comment on the Facebook Group about  how common pre-planning trips were in the 1980s: ‘there were quite a few pre planning type recces done in those days, esp if it was somewhere nice! Alas John Birt put an end to all that fun, sorry, creativity.’

Pebble Mill at One trip to Houston – Derek Price

Photo from Derek Price, no reproduction without permission.

Nigel Evans, Ian Dewar and myself (Derek Price) on the way to Houston, Texas in July 81 in a DC10, to meet Vic Damone, the American singer and entertainer, and bring him back for ‘Pebble Mill At One’.

Derek Price

Jane Mclean adds that John Smith and/or Jim Dumighan may also have been involved in the trip.

Pebble Mill at One – photo Derek Price








Photo from Derek Price, no reproduction without permission.

The photo was taken in Oslo in 1982, during a ‘Pebble Mill at One’ shoot in Norway.  It features director John Smith, production assistant Jane Mclean and Derek Price.

OB in the back of a van











Photo by John Burkill, no reproduction without permission.

The photo takes from October 1980.  It looks like part of an outside broadcast set up.

The portable 2″ quad recorder, in the briefcase on the side is an Ampex VR 3000. It was a specialist piece of kit designed for field recording, when it wasn’t possible to take a full 2″ machine.  Even so, it was pretty heavy to carry around – weighing 55 pounds!  It was capable of high or low band recordings, used 20 minute reels, and could be powered by battery or on AC.  Visit this link for more information:

The men in the photo are John Smith (multi camera director), Peter Hodges (sitting down) and Derek Price (engineering manager).

The shoot was almost certainly for a ‘Pebble Mill at One’ programme, since John Smith was one of the principal directors on the show.

Paul Vanezis added on the Facebook page that the ‘Pebble Mill at One’ titles, with the fisheye look, were in fact recorded on an Ampex VR 3000, as were some of the opening titles of ‘Look! Hear!’.

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