Telecine – Ray Lee (part 1)

Photo by Ivor Williams, of Pebble Mill TK 1971, no reproduction without permission.

I joined telecine  (TK) in 1974 having transferred from telecine in Television Centre. At that time there were 2 Rank Cintel flying spot telecine machines. There was a 2 storey block to the rear of the main office area and Studio A. Much of the first floor level was occupied by Telecine, Video tape (VT) the Dubbing theatre, film processing and an assortment of film cutting rooms.

TK and VT shared a common area, with a corridor down the middle. There were 3 rooms /cubicles on each side TK on the left, VT on the right as approached from the main door. TK A, TKB, and an expansion area, likewise VTA, VTB and an expansion area. VTA, and B had a large sliding Marley Door between them where the common wall would have been, so that they could be worked as an edit pair by sliding the door back, or as individual machines working to separate areas, with the door closed.

Just inside the entrance, was the film transfer area, where 1/4” tape was transferred to Sepmag film in order to be edited synchronously with the film pictures. There were a number of SepMag bays some of which could be linked to the Dubbing theatre in order to dub additional sounds onto the film. This area was reorganised shortly after my arrival, so the detail is hazy.

Working in the area at that time were Paul Richards, Jim Gregory, Graham Winter, and Peter Hodges, and myself (Ray Lee). Peter soon moved on to become VCMS in Studio A, and there were a number of other people moved through TK in the time I was there. Charles Osborne, Peter Greenhalgh, Keith Salmon (who moved into News), Tim Savage, and some others whose names have been lost in the mist of time.

Ray Lee

Pebble Mill Club – final days

Photos by Tim Savage, no reproduction without permission.

Tim took these photos on 23 Nov, 2004, one of the final days at Pebble Mill.

The photos include post production staff including: John Burkill, Jim Gregory, Amrik Manku, Brian Watkiss, Ivor Williams, John Duckmanton, Tony Rayner, Martin Dowell, Mike Bloore, Pete Shannon, John Macavoy, Dave Pick, Frank Stevens.

Please add a comment if you can identify others.

The following comments were added on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Stuart Gandy: ‘In image 1016 the guy in the blue shirt holding a pint is John Macavoy, Engineer, and in image 1017 I see Dave Pick in the check shirt and next to him is Frank Stevens, former engineering services manager.’

Keith Brook: ‘If I may take friendly issue with Stuart Gandy about John Macavoy. He wasn’t just an engineer, he was a god. He was able to invent magical cures for any crazy idea that production could conjure up. Even worse, he would undertand their mumblings and give them more than they ever dreamed of. I hate him. The best days were, of course, when the bar was on the second floor. Very few managers realised all the post recording toxic, adrenaline, hyper-excitement that could corrode a great day’s work was diffused with a few beers upstairs. Incidentally, a truly ‘involving’, ‘participating’ and ‘egalitarian’ system, as we had at The Mill, works in any organisation. British industry, banking and the NHS would be major successes if they applied the same rules.’

Portable 1″ Videotape Recorder (VPR 20)

Photos by Video Editor, Ian Collins; no reproduction without permission.

Ian took these photos before the sale of equipment when Pebble Mill was cleared prior to being demolished in 2005.

The portable 1″ videotape recorder (probably a VPR-20) was a useful piece of technology, meaning that shots could be recorded on location without a full outside broadcast, and before the advent of portable single cameras.

The VT editors shown in the photo are (left to right) Ian Collins, Steve Neilsen, Brian Watkiss, Ivor Williams, Mike Bloore, John Burkill, John Doidge, Steve May.

Peter Poole added the following information on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:  ‘I remember a Clothes Show recording using the Ampex/Nagra VPR5. It was an audition for models in Studio 1. The queues stretched down Pebble Mill road.’

Please add a comment if you remember which programmes used portable 1″ recorders.

VTC – Ampex 1200 pair

Photo by Ivor Williams, no reproduction without permission.

The photo was taken in VTC, in Pebble Mill’s VT area on the first floor.  It shows an Ampex 1200 Edit Pair being operated by Ian Collins & Jim Hiscox.

Ivor Williams on location – photos by Ian Collins



Photos by Ian Collins, no reproduction without permission.

The photos show Pebble Mill VT Editor Ivor Williams ‘working’ on location at an outside broadcast.

It was when Ivor got his job as an Editor.  The location was  Leicester Velodrome, where the crew  were based for 2 weeks to cover the cycling.  The photo is probably from the mid ’80s.

Thanks to Ian Collins for providing the information.