Last year the Section programmed a minicomputer system so that foreign
feature films could be subtitled using the services of a free-lance
subtitle composer. Further computer programs have been written during
the year so that the same equipment can be used experimentally to
control the Ceefax system and radiate subtitles for the benefit of the
deaf. This work will be valuable in demonstrating the various formats
that are possible on the television screen and the limits to the amount
of information that deaf viewers can assimilate in this way.
This section is in contact with Leicester Polytechnic who have proposed
an economic method of verbatim subtitling and joint experiments will
begin next year.
The same equipment is also being used to subtitle operas and teaching
programmes, often by people who are not skilled at the keyboard.
Further design work and program writing is foreseen to aid caption
composition by providing a visual display unit.
One spin-off from this work was the design of a new font and an
electronic character generator to produce it. Studies are in hand to
see if these techniques can be developed to provide all-electronic font
design and character storage in a form which will permit non-technical
staff to compile captions for programmes. To this end there is close
liaison with the Department of Typography at the University of Reading.
Video Editing Aids
The process of video tape editing has been greatly helped by the VTR
Timecode, standardised by the EBU, whereby each television picture is
given a number determined by the time at which it was recorded. This
timecode can be used to start, stop and switch machines, automatically
and precisely, throughout a series of complex editing operations
provided adequate equipment is available. The Television Service now
has a wide range of first generation devices available to it. The
effectiveness of time-code editing also makes it attractive to editors
working with film and audio tape.
It is now possible to draw upon experience and refine the technical
requirements of future editing equipment so that more useful facilities
can be provided at reduced cost. This aim is further helped by the
advent of microprocessors and other integrated circuits using modern
semiconductor technology (MOS). The Section has a study and redesign
programme where every aspect of the equipment and its use is being
re-examined so as to make future designs more reliable and of wider
This work includes timecode recovery at very slow
and very fast (x 60) spooling speeds, the specification of the recorded
timecode for programme interchange and a range of basic equipment for
every kind of post production area in Television, Film, and Sound
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