The Right Hand Corner White Square.

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Focus II
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The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Focus II »

This has probably been asked and explained before so apologies for bringing it up again.

We all know ITV programmes were made with a top night hand corner white square to advise a break is forthcoming. Sometimes it has a black and white strobe effect that starts fast then slows down before the break for commercials.

I've sometimes seen the white square appearing between VT and filmed scenes and vice versa but not always on, "A Family At War" for example.

Perhaps it doubled as an editing marker? Perhaps someone here who was involved in the making of the programmes might know?

Brock
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Brock »

I can't answer your question I'm afraid, but they're called "cue dots", as in this rather entertaining story from TonyCurrie:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1760&p=19630#p19630

Brian F
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Brian F »

It seemed that the last Saturday Night Takeaway tried to emulate this but it was in the top LEFT hand corner.

TVT_Dave
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by TVT_Dave »

The BBC used to use these cue dots, in the lh corner, to cue in live programmes. The cue dot would appear at -30 seconds to the start of the programme, go off at -10 seconds, then back on at -5 seconds. If the programme started with VT titles, the machine would be cued to run at the -10 seconds. If the titles were on TK - Nationwide for example, then the TK would run at about -8 seconds.

The RH cue dots seen on commercial programmes, seem to run at -6 seconds to the end of the programme/segment. I remember sitting in the dubbing theatre at Ally Pally watching the sunday afternoon film on ITV and noticing that there was the number six superimposed on the image. This was due to the TK being a vidicon tube machine which had been left set-up on the six on the leader ready to run adverts. Vidicons were very prone to this which was known as image stick. The 'stick' could be removed to some extent by pointing the tube at a very bright white light source.
Dave B.

TonyCurrie
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by TonyCurrie »

The original reason for having cue dots was that - especially on live programmes - the contractor's control rooms required sufficient warning of an imminent commercial break to stand-by and then roll the telecine machine that played out the commercials. Som a one-minute standby and then the dot would appear ten seconds to go and disappear at five seconds; i.e. the roll cue point.

On rare occasions, we still use cue dots at BBC Scotland, usually to confirm which circuit is which when several are carrying the same pictures.

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Focus II
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Focus II »

Thank you all for your interesting and comprehensive replies. Seems my own viewer observations were pretty spot on.
I wonder why the corner square was sometimes visible between VT and film sequences and vice versa. I guess that must've caused some confusion!

Many thanks again.

JezR
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by JezR »

For a while sometime in the mid 1990s a small rectangle was visible in the bottom left or bottom right corner designating different sub-regions of Central, with West being the one having none.

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Scary
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Scary »

TVT_Dave wrote:The BBC used to use these cue dots, in the lh corner, to cue in live programmes. The cue dot would appear at -30 seconds to the start of the programme, go off at -10 seconds, then back on at -5 seconds.
These were discontinued when digital TV started, the delays involved in it's distribution can be so much that if they were trying to cue an OB who were watching off-air they might not see the cue until its too late

brigham
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by brigham »

Shades of the Intermediate Film process come back to haunt us!

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Bob Richardson
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Bob Richardson »

In BBC sport we would occasionally generate “fake” cue dots on a capgen to identify vision circuits, long after regular use of dots had been dropped by BBC networks. They were useful to check when network were taking an OB directly through their mixer, allowing the Sport studio to rehearse other items using their own mixer. When the director faded up cue dots on the TC5 mixer we’d look at the network off-air check monitor to see if they’d appeared. If they didn’t, we knew that network had picked up the direct feed.
"Forfar 5 - East Fife 4"

Andy Marriott
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Re: The Right Hand Corner White Square.

Post by Andy Marriott »

Focus II wrote:Sometimes it has a black and white strobe effect that starts fast then slows down before the break for commercials.
The precise format of the cue dot was up to the contractor, ABC had one that looked like they had punched a round hole in the picture through which a stobing cue dot was visible. Others, like Granada, always looked a little more subtle.

The strobing is not an indicator of timings. It is an effect created by the cue dot generator using an un-locked pattern. Possibly an attempt to make it more eye-catching?

The cue dot timing was: dot on at -60, off at -5. This warned other regions to stand by at 60 secs from the end of the programme, then to roll telecine at -5 and come off the feed and fade n take tk on a count of 5 after the cue dot vanished. All rather primitive really but it worked well for many years.

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