Well over 2m spent on equipping for
By Michael Henfield
A massive capital outlay has
gone into equipping the studios at ATV Centre
for full colour operation.
For colour is costly. Each
of the 12 colour cameras used in the studios
cost £17,500. A videotape machine (and
ATV has six of them in Birmingham) costs around
In all, ATV has spent well
over £2m on equipping for colour. The
company considers the equipment used the finest
available in the world.
One of the most interesting
features of the studios is a computer-type
lighting system which can memorise any
particular lighting scene - and reproduce it
again at the touch of a button. A hundred
different lighting combinations are available
at the main studio.
Studio 1 has a working area
of 93ft. by 50ft., excluding a 16ft.-deep
pull-back area under the control room. It has
four EMI cameras and an audience seating
capacity of 192.
Studio 2 has four EMI
cameras and there are three more in Studio 3.
The small presentation studio in the Centre
contains another EMI camera.
Outside broadcasting units
now operate from the Centre. There are two
units, each with four Philips colour cameras,
ready to go out on location.
When out, ATV engineers can
use either a Post Office circuit to get the
pictures back to base or, if a circuit is not
readily available, set up special microwave
Other production facilities
include a producers' viewing room next to
studio control. This room has a colour
There are also film editing
rooms with dubbing and transfer facilities, a
film theatre and two film preview rooms.
Caption scanners in the
Centre can convert white lettering on a black
background into full colour lettering and
The highly expensive
telecine equipment - the machines which enable
filmed material to be shown on the screen -
were specially adapted by the manufacturers for
ATV's own requirements so that the best
possible "colour balance" could be
Mr. Gerry Kaye, ATV's Head
of Engineering, stresses that in spite of the
complicated nature of colour operations the
company has kept the studio set-up as simple as
"We believe that simplicity
means reliability," he said. "With the
equipment we have here the Centre can produce
the best possible colour results."
The studios "float" on a
platform of sound insulating material.
The first presentations to
come from them were made in mid-1969 with
continuity announcements. The three studios
were then brought into full use.
Now more than 10m. viewers
in an area extending from Stoke-on-Trent in the
north to Newbury in the south and from
Montgomeryshire in the west to The Fens in the
east can see ATV programmes from the centre in
the heart of Birmingham.
Pictures go out from the
centre to the transmitters at Lichfield (which
handles black and white 405 lines) and Sutton
Coldfield (625 lines and colour).
Floating floor gives technical
To attain maximum efficiency
in servicing, some areas of the new ATV Centre
have been fitted with special floors by the
Floating Floors Division of the Metal Castings
Doehler Co., of Worcester.
The floating floor technique
developed by MCD is a secondary flooring system
using interlocked pressure diecast aluminium
modules supported on adjustable pedestals.
Each module is removable by
one person using a suction cup tool, thus
giving immediate and easy access to all
underfloor service such as electrical or piping
systems and so on. The standard floating floor
had a load carrying capability in excess of
The contract includes
flooring for control, test areas and corridors
and also specifies carpets of some portions.
Another feature of the flooring is that it has
great adhesive strength and modules can be
supplied carpeted ready for laying.
Floating floor modules are
of great tensile strength, will not warp and
being pressure die-cast from aluminium are
light in weight thus easy to handle and with no