That LWT look

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MDK
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That LWT look

Post by MDK »

I don't know whether its just me, but when watching archive LWT VTR programmes, the picture exhibits a slightly pink, milky hew that seems to be unique to this particular broadcaster. it is particularly noticeable on game and chat shows but is also present for sitcoms and drama.

In contrast BBC and Thames studio output had a more conventional, less garish look

Would this be down to the particular lighting set up at the South bank studios or would it more likely be the cameras used?

Andy Marriott
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Andy Marriott »

I don't know if it was deliberate or not but it is only slight compared with a similar problem on Granada VT of the 70s and 80s.
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

There's always been a noticeable difference between the pictures of Thames, LWT, Yorkshire..etc...

I assumed it was down to different lighting set ups.
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GarethR
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Re: That LWT look

Post by GarethR »

Both lighting and the way the cameras were set up.

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

Yes, makes sense, it would be both.

You can spot the odd Camera fault, as well, one that springs to mind, is an episode of "Man About The House", ( S3E1, "Cuckoo In The Nest", I think) noticeable in scenes, every time they change shot, always the one Camera, nothing they could do I suppose.
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Paul Hayes
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Paul Hayes »

Mark wrote:Yes, makes sense, it would be both.

You can spot the odd Camera fault, as well, one that springs to mind, is an episode of "Man About The House", ( S3E1, "Cuckoo In The Nest", I think) noticeable in scenes, every time they change shot, always the one Camera, nothing they could do I suppose.
This is also very noticeable with an episode of Dad's Army, "The Love of Three Oranges" - one of the cameras produces pictures that look very different to all of the others. I'd describe it as almost looking like an old-style NTSC conversion compared to the regular BBC-look of the other cameras.

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Re: That LWT look

Post by thebeekeeper »

Oh yes - you could always spot an LWT LE show.
No idea what they did but you could always tell. And I think it looked better.

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

I haven't seen that "Dad's Army" episode for a while, I must have a look, now.!

One thing I used to like the look of, was early O.B. work, I thought the exteriors done on "Survivors" had a lovely orangey glow, with a slightly fuzzy look, (the same for other BBC 70's O.B. work).

Also the same look for early LWT exteriors, ITV 3 are repeating the "Doctor" series at the moment ( caught some of them, got the DVD's, of course) lovely picture on ep1,"So You Want To Be a Doctor", and also the car rally scenes in ep 6, "Rallying Round".

It's followed by "On The Buses", and on series 3, all the episodes with Cemetery Gates scenes are done with an O.B. Unit, with all other exteriors on film.

I'm sure I read somewhere, that LWT used an Intertel O.B.Van, at the time.

Agree with Beekeeper, loved the LWT look, always have.
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Mark Wright
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark Wright »

This is a timely and useful discussion for me as I'm in the process of pitching a programme idea (fingers crossed, eh?) that lives or dies by having "the LWT look". Perhaps showing my age, I'd assumed that the shorthand I used, "It needs that LWT LE look of the 80s/90s - think Blind Date, Game For A Laugh, An Audience With.." would be immediately understood by interested industry types. As it turns out, among the current generation of commissioning/acquisition/development execs I've spoken with, that's not the case. I've been asked twice now if I can distil the "LWT secret recipe for success" into a short paragraph to demonstrate what I mean.

I initially found this rather perplexing. I'd been expecting to score brownie points with my reference to "that LWT magic" in my pitch. I suppose I imagined it would gain me instant entry into that exclusive club of producers who, with a knowing nod-and-a-wink, would drape a red white and blue scarf around my neck while humming "dang-darr-ding-dat-doo-dee, diddy dat darrrrrr.. diddy dat dooo (diddy dat dooo)" in hushed, reverential tones. Or something. Well, not that. But something like it. Instead, I'm forced to describe the (possibly) indescribable to these (no doubt) iphone-wielding recent post-grads who only care about 25fps grainy YouTube gnash gnash grr, etc.

Sorry to go off at a bitter tanget, and I don't mean to de-rail this thread into off-topicsville. Let me bring it back on course. I've chipped in to discussions about LWT's fascinating "je ne sais quoi" before on here, to a mixed response. While you all help me write this "short paragraph" on the indefinable, a reminder of what I've said before:

LWT MANUAL FOR LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION 1981-1995

* Studio has to be over-lit by at least 20% so everything is just ever-so-slightly too bright
* Performers and contributors have to spend at least 20% more time in make-up than necessary
* Statutory colour scheme: back-lit pastels for cycs, shiny chrome for fixtures, bright white everywhere else (except where neon is employed, especially huge logos)
* Audience atmos mics have to be strategically placed such that the raucous/"dirty" laugh of the C2DE contingent dominates the mix
* Audio processor is driven to maximum compression on audience atmos mics (un-natural ducking and fading is encouraged in order to ride presenter mics)
* Audio processor is driven to maximum compression on all presenter and contributor mics (ensure mics are barely audible when audience levels are at peak)
* Camera shot selection adheres to: aerial, audience left, audience right, stage wide (hold), stage (subject), audience left (hold), stage (subject) - repeat
* There must be a feint "transatlantic" air to proceedings that you can never put your finger on... suggest over-processed voice-over at maximum compression?
* Check each patented LWT "air removal" machine is reading at least -5% before recording/TX to ensure a "claustrophobic" look, with no visible "room to breathe"
* Audio processor is driven to maximum compression on the opening C2DE-baiting sig tune and any jaunty in-programme music cues/stabs - drown with audience mics
* Despatch glossy, air-brushed, soft-focus publicity slides/stills to TV Times and the press after checking with performer's agent/management/husband
* Final checks: have you mentioned London? Mention it! Put a few more aerial shots of the studio in for good measure.. that VT clock needs a clean!

Harsh perhaps, but could *you* distil the LWT "magic" into a paragraph?

(I'm hoping you can!)

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Re: That LWT look

Post by brigham »

Can anyone distill it into jargon-free English, for the benefit of such dilettantes as, er...mere viewers?

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Brian F »

Would include presenters/guests wearing stripes to ensure PAL cross colour in your list? I know it was common to all PAL productions but would have been part of all LWT LE programmes of the times.
I only thought of it now as I have come from WImbledon and the shopping plaza (well the open area outside Morrisons) had a large LED display for relaying the tennis that was displaying it on the pre-tennis news items. They must have been using a composite feed from the Freeview tuner (an aerial was sticking out of the top of the unit) to the LED screen - very strange.

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

Your best bet, would be to stick to:

'Over-lit and slightly pinkish'.

I think the chrome and glass look was simply the 'latest' look at the time, across the board ( remember the heavy use of Brown in late 70's/early 80's shows like "321" and "Give Us a Clue").
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stearn
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Re: That LWT look

Post by stearn »

What interpretation of 'pinkish' do you mean? Rose coloured or gay (or both)?

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Roll ACR
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Roll ACR »

Mark wrote:Your best bet, would be to stick to:

'Over-lit and slightly pinkish'.

I think the chrome and glass look was simply the 'latest' look at the time, across the board ( remember the heavy use of Brown in late 70's/early 80's shows like "321" and "Give Us a Clue").
Not overlit, I'd wager the LD went round with a light meter and levels were pretty standard.

"Sat up and slightly pinkish" would be more correct, technically.

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

Mmmm...fair point, in that case.....

'Sat up, and slightly Rose pinkish"

Loved it, either way.!
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

On the subject of OB work, from earlier in the thread, I was watching my Favourite "OFAH" episode "Jolly Boys Outing", on Gold, a couple of nights ago, and I think that must be one of the last examples of the use of a film/OB mix, that was done.

Some interiors on tape, as usual, with the bulk of the Margate scenes on film ( the filmed scene of Rodney on the phone to Cassandra, was intercut with Cassandra on film, too).

However, some of the boarding house exterior shots were OB, presumably to be able to add the video lightning effect, the shots of Del and Rodney coming back after the nightclub were back on film.
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Paul Hayes
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Paul Hayes »

Mark wrote:On the subject of OB work, from earlier in the thread, I was watching my Favourite "OFAH" episode "Jolly Boys Outing", on Gold, a couple of nights ago, and I think that must be one of the last examples of the use of a film/OB mix, that was done.
Indeed, I think OFAH probably takes the very last example of this from the final special, screened in 2003, when they were still doing it, presumably to maintain the "look" of the past 20-odd years.
Mark wrote:However, some of the boarding house exterior shots were OB, presumably to be able to add the video lightning effect, the shots of Del and Rodney coming back after the nightclub were back on film.
There's a scene where they're walking back to the boarding house on the pavement outside at night, isn't there? My memory is that being in the studio - I remember very clearly us noticing the difference as children, and my older brother (who is a "normal" person and would have absolutely no notion of the difference between video and film) exclaiming "that's a set!", very proud of himself that he'd sussed it out.

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

Not sure about that.

There's the scene of them all by the bus stop ( on film), then boarding house interior with Denzil and co ( Studio) then it's Del, Rod, and Albert walking down to the Bella Vista (OB), interior (Studio), Nightclub (Film) and back to Bella Vista (Film).

Could It be the Bella Vista OB, that made you think it was Studio.?
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Paul Hayes »

Mark wrote:Not sure about that.

There's the scene of them all by the bus stop ( on film), then boarding house interior with Denzil and co ( Studio) then it's Del, Rod, and Albert walking down to the Bella Vista (OB), interior (Studio), Nightclub (Film) and back to Bella Vista (Film).

Could It be the Bella Vista OB, that made you think it was Studio.?
It could be - haven't watched it for decades, so I'll have to dig it out and give it a look!

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

I haven't seen the final special for ages, so I must have a look at that.

Some shows, were going over to OB for exteriors, in the late 80's/early 90's, such as "Doctor Who" and "The House Of Elliot", even "Last Of The Summer Wine" did, for a while.
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Re: That LWT look

Post by Paul Hayes »

Mark wrote:I haven't seen the final special for ages, so I must have a look at that.

Some shows, were going over to OB for exteriors, in the late 80's/early 90's, such as "Doctor Who" and "The House Of Elliot", even "Last Of The Summer Wine" did, for a while.
On the Doctor Who DVD release of Resurrection of the Daleks, Peter Davison tells a story on the commentary track about how a cameraman at the time (unclear if it was film or studio) told him that film cameras would soon be rendered obsolete for TV work, and everything would be done on video.

Of course, this was eventually proved correct, albeit with a 15-odd year window in the middle where video was abandoned for most drama and it was all done on film!

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Re: That LWT look

Post by Mark »

The Early episodes of shows like "Midsomer Murders" and "Poirot" look much better on Film, a big difference in lighting and colours, compared with very flat, dim looking pictures we get now.
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