The box that says “the adverts are coming”

What's not currently on the box
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Simon36
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The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by Simon36 »

Can anyone shed any light on that mysterious box in the top right hand corner of the screen with the scrolling lines, the one that used to forewarn us that the commercials were approaching?. I’d always assumed that they were added to the programme By the presentation department live, but I notice that they turn up on repeat screenings on Talking Pictures for series such as Callan, which rather baffled me. Anyone know why? And also, why don’t we get them any more and why did we then?

murphy1961
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by murphy1961 »

I’ve just been watching Robin’s Nest on DVD and they have them on there as well. It starts about 30 seconds before the end of Part 1, where I'd assume there would have been a commercial break. I’ve only watched Series 1 so far though. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them on other DVDs as well.

David Ballard
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by David Ballard »

They're called cue dots, rather like those you see in old films to indicate to the projectionist when to change rolls. In tv, they were used to indicate to each of the ITV regions when to standby and run commercial breaks. They were also used to provide cues in and out of live programmes and OBs (the BBC also used them for this purpose but in a different format). In the days of analogue circuits it was a reliable method of providing the cues without them getting lost somewhere down the chain. There are various reasons they're not used now.

1. Centralised playout means you don't need to provide cues to multiple regional centres
2. The delay on off-air feeds make them unsuitable for providing cues to OBs
3. Cues are usually given using open talkback
4. With digital distribution there are ways of providing cues to automation systems without being visible and without the risk of the signalling being lost somewhere down the chain

Brian F
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by Brian F »

I have also seen these on the top left of the picture when a film insert is coming up. Both are carry overs from the cues dots at the end of film reels in the days before platters and towers to show the whole film in one, to cue cinema projectionists to change over to the next reel on another projector.

Brock
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by Brock »

There's more about cue dots in this thread.

fatcat
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by fatcat »

You would not have seen these on your TV at home if the technician had set the TV to certain parameters on the test card.

The one on the left side ( a standby to the machine ops to run prerecorded sequencies after a live studio sequence) was mainly used on programmes with no budget for an edit or before non destructive (not physically cutting the tape) editing was available where they could later put the sequences in post production.
On something like Crossroads they may not of had the room to put all the sets in a sequential order so they might say shoot the kitchen, tear that set down and replace it with David Hunter's office and record the show proper dropping in and out of sequences, while the insert played the actors would line up for the next live sequence and Amy Turtle watched out for the red light LOL

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spflog1
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by spflog1 »

fatcat wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:42 pm
You would not have seen these on your TV at home if the technician had set the TV to certain parameters on the test card.
As with the Teletext data lines, which were hopefully hidden off the top of the screen.

fatcat
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by fatcat »

spflog1 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:40 pm
fatcat wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:42 pm
You would not have seen these on your TV at home if the technician had set the TV to certain parameters on the test card.
As with the Teletext data lines, which were hopefully hidden off the top of the screen.
Some old ( they didn't know it was coming LOL) TV sets would actually show the teletext as a thin couple of lines at the top of picture, but your local TV shop could knock these out for you with a couple of minor component changes.

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doubleM
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Re: The box that says “the adverts are coming”

Post by doubleM »

Simon36 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:30 am
Can anyone shed any light on that mysterious box in the top right hand corner of the screen with the scrolling lines, the one that used to forewarn us that the commercials were approaching?. I’d always assumed that they were added to the programme By the presentation department live, but I notice that they turn up on repeat screenings on Talking Pictures for series such as Callan, which rather baffled me. Anyone know why? And also, why don’t we get them any more and why did we then?
They are present on most of the ITV archive studio/videotape drama series released by Network on DVD, just about every Thames series I've come across for example. Yorkshire productions have them too. Not sure off the top of my head about LWT. I think Granada's 'Crown Court' has them too on the Network sets.

One of the exceptions seem to be the productions made at ATV Elstree (ATV Birmingham do have them e.g. on the 'Crossroads' releases). Possibly ATV didn't want them 'burnt in' to spoil the chances of an international sale.

I remember in the early days of Channel 4 when they routinely repeated older ITV show like Callan, you sometimes got the original 'burnt in' cue dot and then a second one, looking slightly different e.g. bigger or strobing, presumably generated 'live' by Channel 4 over the top of the original.
.. ah yes, well worn carpets and the pungent smell of over-boiled vegetables!

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