Andrew Godsall in Dubbing Theatre Record Room

Andrew Godsall on phone 2 PP Andrew Godsall on phone PP




















Photos by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission.

There are a couple of photos of Andrew Godsall in Pebble Mill, Dubbing Theatre record room in the 1970s. You can see some sep-mag film on the right-handside of the photo. Andrew was an Assistant Recordist at the time, making transfers of location recordings on to 16mm mag for the film editors and assistants to match up with the 16mm film. Andrew can even remember that the telephone extension number was 2048!

Developments at Pebble Mill 1984


Eng inf 1984:5 PP Studio B PP








































Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Thanks to Peter Poole for sharing these pages about technical developments, including a new dubbing and sypher suite, and Studio B control room refurbishment, at Pebble Mill in the internal BBC Engineering Newsletter from 1984/5.

The following information was added on the Pebble Mill Facebook group:

Keith Brook: ‘The original 1/4″ location sound was transferred onto special 16mm separate magnetic, sep-mag, film. Now, the film and the sound were the same ‘size’ and could be edited together by the film editor. If it was drama, for example, you’d end up with a complete film and dialogue track but minus the music, sound effects, wild-track and so on. You would them make a second, or third, sep-mag track that had the music, effects and so on, all in the right places but with extra lead-in and lead-out.

Dubbing was where you took that 16mm film, its matching 16mm dialogue track, the other tracks and put them on a huge machine that kept everything in sync. You would then run the whole lot through a sound mixer onto a final track, fading the effects in and out according to a dubbing script that matched the frame counter.

SYPHER was a video system and is a BBC acronym for ‘SYnchronous Post-production using Helical-scan video and Eight-track Recorder’. Essentially, it worked like film-dubbing, but the 8-track sound machine was kept in sync with the video player by time code rather than mechanically as in film. Again, once you had the dialogue track and all the other bits in the right places, you would have a final ‘dub’ where you put it all together onto the audio track of the video recorder. The clever bit with SYPHER was the motorised faders on the sound desk which, again using timecode, would remember their settings at each moment during the final dub.’

Stuart Gandy: ‘Good memories of those times. This was during a period of 3 – 4 years of major refurbishment of the studio and VT areas. From the vision viewpoint in the studios , it was the change from the stalwart EMI 2001 cameras to the Link 125.’

Film Sound Transfer Suite – Peter Poole

The Film Sound Transfer Suite
I took the first photo in 1976 shortly after joining the BBC. It shows me (Peter Poole) in the dubbing theatre’s machine room which housed the Perfectone SEPMAG bays. It was also used as the film sound transfer suite when time allowed. As the the number of programmes produced on film increased the dubbing theatre was in constant use. Also a dedicated transfer suite was needed to cope with the increased output. The second photo was taken in 1978 and shows me (Peter Poole) in the new transfer suite. The BBC’s policy was to buy British equipment if possible. This  resulted in Pebble Mill being the first and probably the only BBC broadcast centre to buy PAG SEPMAG bays. They were somewhat unreliable. I will never forget pressing the stop button and watching a thousand feet of SEPMAG film being thrown across the room. I was very pleased when the PAG bays were replaced by Perfectone bays.
The photos were taken using a tripod and self-timer.
Peter Poole

Dubbing Theatre – photos by Peter Poole

Photos by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission.

The Dubbing Theatre Gets Computer Automation.

The Neve mixing desk replaced the original BBC Type D mixer. This was a major upgrade in technology and enabled more complex mixes to be done. The Neve desk featured “Flying Faders”. When the fader was moved its position was stored in the computer. This data was then used to control the servo motor and move the fader. The other photos show the Perfectone Rapimag Sepmag bays and the “Grams” sub mixer area. The assistant dubbing mixer operates the grams sub mixer and plays discs, tapes and CDs to add to the final mix.


Original Dubbing Theatre – Photos by Peter Poole

I took these photographs around 1978. They show the original dubbing theatre. In this area the Dubbing Mixer mixed speech, effects and music to produce the final mix. Behind the glass is an area housing the Perfectone  SepMag recorders and playback bays. Behind the BBC “Type D” mixing desk are Peter Poole and Liz Nicholls.

Peter Poole

original dubbing theatre

original dubbing theatre: Liz Nicholls & Peter Poole