The Harlech House of Graphics Technicalities
Within the ITV system TWW and HTV were unique in serving a dual region - a requirement which involved a fair degree of technical achievement both in the studio and at the transmitters.

The logistics of operating from two centres in Bristol and Cardiff were exacerbated in 1964, when TWW took over the Teledu Cymru service for North and West Wales.
The new commitment caused headaches at TWW's Pontcanna studios. Although some programming - typically Network material - was shared, the Teledu Cymru requirement demanded a fair proportion of Welsh language programmes and TWW began to effectively broadcast two separate services - each with its own continuity and presentation.
Pontcanna Extension The solution was expansion and in 1964 work began on an extension to Pontcanna, while an engineering methods study team, including TWW's chief engineer, Ray Bradley, worked on the logistics of providing two discrete services.
Ray Bradley: "We had the scene dock staff knock together a mock up of the proposed new control positions (built for a time at the former WWN studios). The staff then had to comment on the proposals. They were all different!" Engineering methods study team
Building of dual master control rooms "At the takeover we had built a tiny booth within the control room and used the studio 2 control panel to handle the WWN commitment. With the building of the extension at Pontcanna we provided separate continuity suites."

Left, the construction of the new control rooms.

The burden of two transmission streams and their respective advertising slots required seven telecine machines - and a British TV first for TWW, the use of the US derived "PICLEAR" - an early form of wet-gate process. Ray Bradley: "The device was placed before the projection gate and filled any scratches with a liquid which had the same refractive index as the film base and scratches miraculously disappeared at transmission ...

Telecine Telecine with Piclear
... The liquid evaporated quickly and did not damage the film. We paid a fortune to have the liquid imported from the states before Peter Robinson, a Telecine shift leader took a sample to the local chemist and had it made up locally." The process improved things so much that when the 16mm copies of "Peyton Place" TWW had been transmitting were broadcast by Westward, they were slated by the ITA for using such poor-quality prints.

With the expansion of Pontcanna, a new sound-proofed VT area was constructed, housing three quadruplex machines. A reasonable cross-section of TWW VT material still exists, some of it optically standards converted to 625 lines. VTR area

Below, a TWW caption scanner. The clock is permanently fixed while the slots allow the insertion of opacities, such as programme captions.
Caption Scanner Before the dual transmission suites were set up, the slides were used together with the "Spotmaster Tape Loop system". This enabled announcements in Welsh, even if the duty announcer could only speak English. TWW was the first european broadcaster to install the system - again from the US.
It was later used to record voice-overs for local ads. inserted as "late sales". The afternoon announcer would prepare tape loops for use later that night.

One of TWW's fleet of links vans, sporting microwave dishes for the relay of OB programming back to the studios. Links Van
Installation of channel 7, St Hilary In addition to supplying a service to the established Teledu Cymru transmitters at Arfon, Presely and Moel-y-Parc, the ITA also awarded TWW an extra frequency from St Hilary on Channel 7 for the additional service.

Here, the aerial for Channel 7 is on its way to the top of the St Hilary mast.


Having pioneered so many technical developments, TWW was quite naturally the first ITV company to own and operate colour cameras - EMI type 204 Vidicons, which can be seen here at Ray Bradley's pages.

The sad irony is that before they could be tried on air, TWW lost their franchise to Harlech in 1968.



HTV

HTV's commitment to a dual language service - on both VHF and UHF colour by the seventies - required a lot of time-shifting of network shows.
Two-inch machines would record the programmes HTV Wales opted out of at peak time and replay them later in the evening. Welsh viewers had the dubious benefit of enjoying "World in Action" and "Celebrity Squares", etc., just before closedown. HTV Quad. VTR
The arrival of UHF colour in 1970 added to the complications of HTV's sub-region possibilities. In addition to the Wales service, HTV also provided the West with its own service and a General service - not to mention commercial opt-outs for some ad. breaks from its North Wales transmitters. This complicated set-up can be summarized as follows:

HTV Sub-region Options 1970 - 1981
. UHF 625 Lines VHF 405 Lines
Service/Transmitter Wenvoe Mendip St Hilary Bath
HTV Cymru/Wales Ch 44 - Ch 7 -
HTV West - Ch 61 - -
HTV General Service - - Ch 10 Ch 8
Bath was a relay of St Hilary, channel 10. From 1981 St Hilary Ch. 10 and Bath Ch. 8 switched to relaying HTV West, as UHF, Mendip.

The "General Service" was ostensibly the UHF West service, though it did provide an option for separate advertising breaks and offered wider ranging news coverage. In the allotted week-day half hour, "General Service" viewers would see the first fifteen minutes of "Report West", followed by a commercial break and Wales' "Report Wales".

Wales' first fifteen minutes was occupied by Welsh language news, "Y Dydd" and West's second fifteen was the next half of "Report West".

When colour was still a novelty, things could get even more complicated - the Wales service from Wenvoe and St Hilary was sometimes split, with UHF showing network colour programmes and VHF broadcasting local, black and white material.


The complexity of the HTV operation was added to again in 1982 when S4C began broadcasting. The greater requirement for Welsh language production from HTV and the increasing space problems at Pontcanna were solved - as they had been for TWW in 1964 - by expansion and a new studio complex was built at Culverhouse Cross on the western outskirts of Cardiff.
HTV, Culverhouse Cross Culverhouse Cross - studio
Culverhouse Cross opened in 1984, though pres. and news remained at Pontcanna for a while. The base of the Wenvoe mast is visible, top-left. The Prince and Princess of Wales are shown round the new studios by managing director, Huw Davies.
1 inch VTR New Sony cameras replaced Pontcanna's ageing EMI 2001s and by now the cumbersome quad. VTRs had been superseded by Sony BVH one-inch machines.
Further expansion in 1988 when HTV became the first UK broadcaster to install the Sony tape library management system, initially for use on their new "Night Club" service.

In addition to its Wales operation, Culverhouse Cross provided presentation for HTV West and latterly, Westcountry television.

Sony LMS

Next: idents, clocks and test cards.


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