EMI 201 TV camera

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On the EMI 201 vidicon camera. I worked at BBC Glasgow from 1966 to 1975 and the 201 was in use there in the 3-camera Studio B, used for news. Two of the cameras were fitted with 4-lens turrets and the third had a manually operated zoom, probably Taylor Hobson. I believe that the 201 was the standard camera for regional news studios. There were at least two in the Edinburgh and Aberdeen studios and I found them in the BBC Birmingham Broad Street studios when I was there for a couple of months assisting in the move to the Pebble Mill studios. The 201 seemed to be a very reliable camera although much time was wasted trying to improve definition by tweaking the Percival coils. I think the tube was an EMI 6097 separate-mesh device. The 201s were eventually replaced on colourisation by drive-in scanner PC 60s during the week, and by EMI 2001s borrowed from Studio A at the weekends when the MCR was out doing football. The Friday-evening changeover was a pain since autocues had to be swapped over and pedestals rebalanced.

I was very lucky to work in Glasgow, since engineers were rotated through film processing, film dubbing, Teledyne, Studio A and Studio B and consequently we had the opportunity to work in several areas. OBs were not part of the rotation, but we all got our chance eventually and became familiar with Sched A expenses and "flyers". If you don't know what a flyer is, maybe it's best you remain in ignorance :-). Pre-colourisation, the telecine equipment was a PYE cross-fire vidicon arrangement with 35mm and 16mm projectors: a second TK chain, which was reckoned to be of much higher quality, utilised a Rank Cintel flying-spot unit with continuous-motion polygon scanning. Sound was either commag, for news and football where there was no time to dub and mix audio, or selsyn-servoed Westrex sepmag players. There were a couple of VTR's installed in vans, which could be connected to the studios. One was an Ampex VR1000 on which I once did a mechanical splice edit using the microscope jig: the other was an RCA machine (type escapes me now: TK 90?). I seem to be straying from the original aim of this mail which was to give you additional information regarding the EMI 201 for inclusion in your data sheet which I saw on the stand, but the memories come flooding back. Thanks again to you and the committee for the rally.


John Douglas G4DVG


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