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Vortex – On-Show At BVE (Or Not)

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I last had a "proper job" back in the 1980s when I ran the European office for the Videotape Editing company Convergence Corporation – at the time, leader in offline and online editing systems.

Turning back the clock, these were the days when Broadcast Video Tape Recorders used 2" tape, cost a hundred thousand pounds or more but could only produce pictures at play speed; still frames were not possible.

Sony U-Matic helical scan recorders had just arrived and were the first videotape machines to provide the possibility to move forward and backwards frame-by-frame, thus providing the possibility for film-type editing but with Videotape and these also cost a small fortune. Move forward another couple of years and 1" VTRs came on the scene providing broadcast quality combined with still frame capability – and these still-frame machines is what Convergence Joystick Editors controlled.

Back then, to produce a simple dissolve or wipe involved the use of three such machines, all time-base corrected or frame-synchronized and a full-spec broadcast video mixer and the cost of the recorders, the mixer and edit controller could easily reach £½ million.

One January – 1985 from memory – we planned with Samuelsons (Convergence Distributor) to hold a Broadcast Editing Workshop at Samuelson's Production Village and together we set up 3x full-blown editing suites – hiring-in the relevant equipment and freelance videotape editors – arranged fully-catered lunches and sent out the invites to which 200+ replied and confirmed appointments. The day before the "big event", it was a bit chilly but we hired in some bottle gas space heaters and by the evening before, the place looked like a full-blown broadcast facility. The BIG DAY arrived and I woke up to find the whole of the Eastern half of the country was covered with snow. Undaunted, we pitched up in Cricklewood and cleared the snow from the paths – and waited. Eventually, all the VT Editors turned up but from our 200 confirmed appointments, fewer than a dozen brave souls made it.

The costs were huge; the effort to set up and run it were huge and as it turned out, pretty well wasted. Which, dear friends, is why Vortex doesn't venture out much during the Winter months, just-in-case, and fingers-crossed with Storm Doris!

However, if we did exhibit at BVE, we would certainly have lots of things to show-and-tell... Our new CallMe-T is a hardware IP audio codec designed as a low-cost hardware back-end for CallMe Click-and-connect, our cloud-based contribution codec for reporters and guest contributors. It also provides a straightforward solution for users of the large installed base of ISDN Sports Mixers who want to convert to IP with simple single-button connect / hangup.

Also in our range are industry-standard Comrex IP codecs for live video and audio with ultra-low delay, dynamic jitter buffering, forward error correction and multi-streaming. Literally thousands are in daily use in the UK alone. These can all be used in conjunction with our VX-4901 IP Audio Intercom control panel which provides a cost-effective solution that even has broadcast audio quality and we have recently supplied a number of additional units through Beta-6 and TATA for Formula One. Our range of TimeLord atomic-locked NTP Time Servers, 400 Series hardware and FLX virtual clocks that use HDMI screens for display makes for a good reason to show-and-tell.

If only the weather can be guaranteed to hold-out.

By Ian Prowse, Vortex Communications Ltd.

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 10.

Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

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