On 2 November 1936 the world's first high definition television station was inaugurated at Alexandra Palace. Two competing companies, Marconi-EMI Television Company Ltd and Baird Television Ltd, provided studio and transmitting equipment for the new service which operated, on an alternate basis, with the systems of the two companies. After a trial period the 405-line system of the Marconi-EMI company was adopted and the last transmission by the 240-line system of Baird Television Ltd was sent out on 30 January 1937.
This book is concerned with the history of British television for home reception from 1922/23 to 1939, when the London Station closed down for the war years. Great care has been taken to ensure that an unbiased, accurate history has been written and the work is based predominantly on written primary source material. More than 900 references are given in the text, which is illustrated with many photographs and illustrations.
An endeavour has been made to present a balanced history rather than a purely technical history. Thus the book considers the factors - technical, financial and general - which led to the establishment of the world's first, all-electronic, public, regular, high definition television broadcasting service.
This is the first biography of the important but long-forgotten American inventor Charles Francis Jenkins (1867-1934). Historian Donald G. Godfrey documents the life of Jenkins from his childhood in Indiana and early life in the West to his work as a prolific inventor whose productivity was cut short by an early death. Jenkins was an inventor who made a difference.
As one of America's greatest independent inventors, Jenkins's passion was to meet the needs of his day and the future. In 1895 he produced the first film projector able to show a motion picture on a large screen, coincidentally igniting the first film boycott among his Quaker viewers when the film he screened showed a woman's ankle. Jenkins produced the first American television pictures in 1923, and developed the only fully operating broadcast television station in Washington, D.C. transmitting to ham operators from coast to coast as well as programming for his local audience.
Godfrey's biography raises the profile of C. Francis Jenkins from his former place in the footnotes to his rightful position as a true pioneer of today's film and television. Along the way, it provides a window into the earliest days of both motion pictures and television as well as the now-vanished world of the independent inventor.
From a team of editors with substantial teaching experience and strong industry backgrounds, this is the first book in a multi-volume reference on digital television systems. This initial volume conveys everything from the fundamentals of Digital Television Systems through to broadcast systems, including error correction and compression of signals, cable and satellite transmission. Other volumes already under contract include Digital Television Reception and Transmission & Studios. This book is perfect for engineers working in broadcast media.
The first volume of History of International Broadcasting (1992) traced the history of radio broadcasting, chiefly on the short waves, from its earliest origins to its role as an instrument of foreign policy in World War II and into the cold war. This volume documents the role of the West's international broadcasters - such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the BBC World Service - in using propaganda and other information to assist in bringing about the collapse of Soviet communism and the end of the cold war. It also analyses the new uses to which broadcasting infrastructures are being put, as well as new developments reflecting changes in world politics and culture. Much attention is therefore devoted to broadcasting to and within Asia and the Arabic-Islamic Middle East region, where some of the greatest new investments are being made.
The emergence of new activities, such as re-broadcasting of Western services using the powerful transmitters once used by the Soviets for jamming these very stations, are described. Equally, over the past few decades there has been an entirely new market in the growth of powerful religious broadcasters on the international frequency bands.
The book is supplemented with tables, statistics and analysis of many of the world's international broadcasters, in the light of new tran mission technologies. There is also study of the major transmitter manufacturing industry and its companies, among which there has been much movement in the way acquisitions and collaborative ventures. The book concludes with a look at emerging technologies such as digital broadcasting and the long-term future of international broadcasting in the shortwave bands.
With machines mediating most of our cultural practices, and innovations, obsolescence and revivals constantly transforming our relation with images and sounds, media feel more unstable than ever. But was there ever a ‘stable’ moment in media history? *Inventing Cinema* proposes to approach this question through an archaeology and epistemology of media machines. The archaeology analyses them as archives of users’ gestures, as well as of modes of perception. The epistemology reconstructs the problems that the machines’ designers and users have strived to solve, and the network of concepts they have elaborated to understand these problems. Drawing on the philosophy of technology and anthropology, *Inventing Cinema* argues that networks of gestures, problems, perception and concepts are inscribed in vision machines, from the camera obscura to the stereoscope, the Cinématographe, and digital cinema. The invention of cinema is ultimately seen as an ongoing process irreducible to a single moment in history.
Professor Russell Burns attempts to offer a balanced biography of one of the twentieth century's outstanding inventors, published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Baird's first public demonstration of a rudimentary television system. The author's meticulous treatment is based on primary source documents although many personal recollections are included to add humour, colour and context. A great deal of material regarding Baird's business partnerships in the early 1920s has only recently become available to researchers and is covered here for the first time.
Baird is credited in Britain and elsewhere as the inventor of television, realising a quest which for fifty years had engaged the attention of inventors, scientists and engineers. When he started work he had no regular income, no research experience and no laboratory or workshop, his work had no funding or commercial sponsorship, and initially he had no expert help. Having demonstrated a rudimentary system in early 1926 he then developed many other aspects of television and aspired to launch a low-definition television broadcasting service. To raise capital he entered various business partnerships. Holding many patents, he could have retired wealthy but he chose instead to develop his ideas further, focusing on cinema, colour and stereoscopic television, so that when he died he left only £7000.
The book illuminates Baird's life and work in many interesting ways. For example, how did Baird's technical strategy and development compare with the work undertaken in industrial laboratories? How did his development policy compare with the development of wireless by Marconi? Was his 'invention' in 1925 really outstanding?
In the past twenty years, we have seen the rise of digital effects cinema in which the human performer is entangled with animation, collaged with other performers, or inserted into perilous or fantastic situations and scenery. Making Believe sheds new light on these developments by historicizing screen performance within the context of visual and special effects cinema and technological change in Hollywood filmmaking, through the silent, early sound, and current digital eras.
Making Believe incorporates North American film reviews and editorials, actor and crew interviews, trade and fan magazine commentary, actor training manuals, and film production publicity materials to discuss the shifts in screen acting practice and philosophy around transfiguring makeup, doubles, motion capture, and acting to absent places or characters. Along the way it considers how performers and visual and special effects crew work together, and struggle with the industry, critics, and each other to define the aesthetic value of their work, in an industrial system of technological reproduction. Bode opens our eyes to the performing illusions we love and the tensions we experience in wanting to believe in spite of our knowledge that it is all make believe in the end.
Television audiences and its industry alike have been confused by the emergence of new ways to watch television. On one hand, the programs seem every bit like the television we’ve long known, while the way we can watch, what we can watch, and the business models supporting them differ significantly.
Portals: A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television pushes understandings of the business of television to keep pace with the considerable technological change of the last decade. It explains why shows such as Orange is the New Black or Transparent are indeed television despite coming to screens over internet connection and in exchange for a monthly fee. It explores how internet-distributed television is able to do new things – particularly, allow different people to watch different shows chosen from a library of possibilities. This technological ability allows new audience behaviors and new norms in making television.
Portals are the “channels” of internet-distributed television, and Portals identifies how the task of curating a library of shows differs from channels’ task of building a schedule. It explores the business model—subscriber funding—that supports many portals, and identifies the key differences from advertiser or direct purchase. Portals considers what we know about the future of television, even though we remain early in a process of transformative change.
Imagine a common movie scene: a hero confronts a villain. Captioning such a moment would at first glance seem as basic as transcribing the dialogue. But consider the choices involved: How do you convey the sarcasm in a comeback? Do you include a henchman’s muttering in the background? Does the villain emit a scream, a grunt, or a howl as he goes down? And how do you note a gunshot without spoiling the scene?
These are the choices closed captioners face every day. Captioners must decide whether and how to describe background noises, accents, laughter, musical cues, and even silences. When captioners describe a sound—or choose to ignore it—they are applying their own subjective interpretations to otherwise objective noises, creating meaning that does not necessarily exist in the soundtrack or the script.
Reading Sounds looks at closed-captioning as a potent source of meaning in rhetorical analysis. Through nine engrossing chapters, Sean Zdenek demonstrates how the choices captioners make affect the way deaf and hard of hearing viewers experience media. He draws on hundreds of real-life examples, as well as interviews with both professional captioners and regular viewers of closed captioning. Zdenek’s analysis is an engrossing look at how we make the audible visible, one that proves that better standards for closed captioning create a better entertainment experience for all viewers.
Restoring Baird's Image
Donald F. McLean The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2000 Library of Congress TK6635.B3M36 2000 | Dewey Decimal 621.38800941
John Logie Baird, Britain's foremost television pioneer, experimented with video recording onto gramophone discs in the late 1920s. Though unsuccessful at the time, his experiments resulted in several videodiscs, some 25 years before the videotape recorder became practical. These videodiscs - called Phonovision - remained neglected over the decades, considered by experts as unplayable.
In the early 1980s, the author sought out and restored the surviving Phonovision discs. Using computer-based techniques in an investigation reminiscent of an archaeological dig, the author has not only revealed the images on the discs but also uncovered details of how the recordings were made. The Phonovision discs have now become recognised as one of Baird's most important legacies.
In 1996 and 1998, amateur 'off-air' recordings of the BBC's 30-line Television Service (1932-35) were found, giving us our first view of what viewers were then watching. The author's restoration overturns established views on mechanically scanned television, providing us today with a true measure of Britain's heritage of television programme-making before electronic television.
As well as helping to explain a poorly understood and complex period in television's history, this unique book, heavily illustrated with previously unpublished or rarely-seen historic photographs restored by the author, sheds light on the achievements of Baird, the development of video recording and the definition and invention of television itself.
Wireless Morse code began a new age of communications, magically sending invisible waves through the ether received at some distant place. Among the first universities to experiment in this unknown world was The Ohio State University, which became one of the first educational broadcast stations and a think tank for the future of public service radio—pioneering radio audience research and serving as an innovative school of the air. Sparks Flew is a rich story of creative, tenacious men and women working in a new medium that commercial enterprises soon dominated. At any moment in time, educational broadcasting could have failed if not for a few land-grant institutions like The Ohio State University and prominent stations like WOSU that supported the medium. Sparks Flew is the untold story, a century in the making, of one institution and one educational station that represent the roots of today’s public broadcasting system.
The Struggle for Unity: Colour television, the formative years traces the evolution of colour television from 1928, when rudimentary colour television was demonstrated for the first time, to c.1966, when the NTSC system and its variants, the PAL and SECAM systems, became widely available for the entertainment, education and enlightenment of society. Among the many topics discussed in the book, mention is made of the following: compatibility and non-compatibility; mechanical and all-electronic systems; field, line and dot sequential scanning; bandwidth constraints and band-sharing techniques; the CBS-RCA conflict; the relative merits of the different systems; the attempt to achieve unity of purpose in Europe; standards; and the development of colour cameras and display tubes. The book, which is based predominantly on written primary source material, does not simply provide a chronicle of dates and descriptions of events, devices and systems. Rather, it discusses the essential factors of colour television history from a general, technical and political viewpoint. Great care has been taken to ensure that an unbiased, accurate and balanced history has been written. Numerous references are given at the end of each chapter and the book is profusely illustrated.
From the first notions of 'seeing by electricity' in 1878, through the period of the first demonstration of rudimentary television in 1926 and up to 1940, when war brought the advance of the technology to a temporary halt, the development of television gathered about it a tremendous history. Following the discovery of the photo-conductive effect, numerous schemes for television were suggested but it was in the wake of Baird's early demonstrations that real industrial interest developed and the pace of progress increased. Much research and development work was undertaken in the UK, the US, Germany and France. By 1936 television technology had advanced to the point where high definition broadcasting was realistic.
This meticulous and deeply researched book presents a balanced and thorough international history of television from 1878 to 1940, considering the factors - technical, commercial and social - that influenced and led to the establishment of public services in many countries. Highly illustrated throughout, this is a major book in the study of history of science, technology and media.
Defines, examines, and elevates home video to its rightful place.
From its recording of family events to its influence on filmmaking, home video defies easy categorization and demands serious consideration. In There's No Place Like Home Video, James Moran takes on this neglected aspect of popular culture. Moran offers a cultural history of amateur home video, exploring its technological and ideological predecessors, the development of event videography, and home video's symbiotic relationship with television and film. He also investigates the broader field of video, taking on the question of medium specificity: the attempt to define its unique identity, to capture what constitutes its pure practice.
In Moran's discussion of video, he argues that previous scholars have not sufficiently dealt with its nature as hybrid, varied, and mutable. He argues that such a medium shouldn't be conceived as pure in and of itself; it is neither autonomous from other media nor entirely dependent on any other, but instead has a chameleonlike interface with films, television, computers, telephones, and even architecture. Rather than look for a grand narrative to define its specificity, Moran places video and home video at the intersections of multiple forms of communication.
James M. Moran is adjunct professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College in Los Angeles.
*Visions of Electric Media* is an historical examination into the early history of television, as it was understood during the Victorian and Machine ages. How did the television that we use today develop into a functional technology? What did Victorians expect it to become? How did the 'vision' of television change once viewers could actually see pictures on a screen? We will journey through the history of 'television': from the first indications of live communications in technology and culture in the late nineteenth century, to the development of electronic televisual systems in the early twentieth century. Along the way, we will investigate the philosophy, folklore, engineering practices, and satires that went into making television a useful medium.