Pebble Mill at One, HMS Dreadnought – David Weir

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Pebble Mill at One: HMS Dreadnought – 14/2/80 ………..
And…..cue the submarine”.

With those words [surely one of the best ever cues over talkback!]  John Smith, the Director, began yet another “first” for the Pebble Mill @ One team with a live broadcast from a nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, near Faslane off the west coast of Scotland on the 14th February, 1980. The submarine took it’s cue, broke through the surface of the  choppy Firth of the Clyde and appeared in all it’s glory to the music of the opening title sequence. What happened next – I will never forget.

John Smith was an inspirational Producer/Director and not exactly known for taking “No” or “It can’t be done” for an answer. He was the driving force behind many of Pebble Mill’s ambitious live programmes – particularly those involving the military.

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The final edit at Pebble Mill

The final edit at BBC Pebble Mill from pebblemill on Vimeo.

 

This video was recorded by Colin Fearnley on November 23rd 2004, which was the last evening of editing at BBC Pebble Mill. The editors had a get together to mark the occasion. Colin recorded the editors reminiscing about the programmes which had been edited in the VT area, including dramas, like The Brothers, and factual programmes like The Clothes Show. The video finishes with Mike Bloore inviting Tony Rayner and Steve Critchlow to jointly carry out the final edit: attaching the credits on an episode of Dalziel and Pascoe, which Chris Rowlands was editing.

Tony Rayner & Steve Critchlow carry out the final edit

Tony Rayner & Steve Critchlow carry out the final edit

Jacks’ lead storage

PV018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.’

Ampex VR2000 2″ Videotape machine

JCB 30 25 10 76 JCB 30 22 10 76

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by John Burkill, no reproduction without permission.

These photos date from 1976, and show Ampex VR2000 2″ editing machines in VTB, with a 1/4″ machine between them for lifting off the audio when about to make an edit. In the top photo there is a 2″ editing block, used for cutting and splicing the tape. This was a difficult process, involving a microscope and iron filings, and just to complicate matters the audio and video were on different parts of the tape.

In both photos there is the obligatory VT pint of beer – meaning that the photos were probably taken after or during lunch!

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

Keith Brook: Lannin was the edit-block hero. Iron ‘powder’ was used to ‘see’ the frames, and thus the edit points. The beer was needed to wash down those particles that were inhaled. Apparently, water didn’t work at all. This was obviously a long edit because the beer’s flat.

Stuart Gandy: Lubrication of the working parts was essential in these machines. Beer was found to be the perfect substance.

Steve Saunderson: Can’t identify the machine, but it looks like a pint of Ruddles.

Jayne Savage: This is an Ampex VR2000 in VTB with a half drunk pint spoiling a perfectly good shot of a splicing block – Tim says. The splicing block lives on at the Drama Village.

Outside Broadcast VT area

JCB 111 04 12 85

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by John Burkill, no reproduction without permission.

This photo dates from December 1985. It shows the VT area of an outside broadcast truck, probably CM2. You can see the 1″ machine in the centre of the photo, and probably a U-matic VT machine lower down to the right.

(Thanks to Chris Harris and Peter Poole for adding in information).

Bryan Comley added the following comment on the Pebble Mill Facebook page: ‘This is the VT end of CM2, the VT machines are Ampex VPR2b’s with a shared TBC. The audio tape m/c I think is a Studer.’