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BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby The Elf » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:34 pm

I have a copy of that one. I was always in awe of the maths in there - totally beyond me, though I usually appreciate the principles involved.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:36 pm

Love this thread, and, as a result, have just downloaded "Calculus for Dummies". Calculus always eluded me at school and I regret not getting back to it. I suppose it's never too late :clap:
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:53 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I despaired over it all and threw in the towel in 1997... and now I help train a broader range of people through the pages of Sound On Sound and its forums (and elsewhere).

Well, it's an ill wind, as they say, that blows no-one any good. I've learned an awful lot through your work in the magazine and the forum.

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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:55 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Do I remember correctly that it had a two A-levels in appropriate subjects requirement as well as practical experience of electronics and/or sound - eg making your own gizmos or recording with the available gear for amateurs?

When I went for a Technical Operator interview in 1980 the minimum qualifications were O Levels in maths and physics together with a demonstrable interest in the subject. As I was just finishing my A levels the interviewer decided I was over qualified for a TO and put me forward for a Technical Assistant role. Unfortunately they took so long to get back to me that I took a job in oceanography and the rest is history.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:22 pm

MOF wrote:Unfortunately it’s the same generally in industry, we don’t train and pay the next generation to develop their skills.

I blame the rise of the corporate CFO -- accountants with power. Their only interest is in improving the short-term P&L figures to make themselves look good to the board, and cutting out the training budget boosts the bottom line with zero immediate impact on the business. So they look good at their job, and can move on to their next promotion in a different company with great references. Meanwhile those left behind will struggle in the future with the impending chaos they've left behind when the senior staff retire and the younger ones aren't properly trained. :?

I was told that new BBC recruits would rotate through the various roles on mock productions during training at Wood Norton so that they would understand the problems that other departments encounter, which I thought was a good idea.

Absolutely. Standard practice. Nothing like standing in someone else's metaphorical shoes to appreciate what other professionals bring to the party, and how doing your own job well helps them to do theirs better too.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:23 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:... just downloaded "Calculus for Dummies". Calculus always eluded me at school and I regret not getting back to it. I suppose it's never too late :clap:

No, it's definitely never too late. Good on you. That's made my day! :D
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:25 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I despaired over it all and threw in the towel in 1997...

You do realise that wasn't a good idea in Galactic Hitch hiking terms? :D
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:26 pm

At least he knew where it was :smirk:
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:27 pm

For a bit.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:29 pm

I've got a new towel.

And some salted peanuts.

H
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Brian M Rose » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:31 pm

Well, the most frightening thing for me was when I worked at OpTex as Technical Manager, we often supplied HD cameras to BBC R&D for Production Training. I was generally invited to join in.
I was once introduced as 'The BBC's expert on lenses and optics.' Not only did I not work directly at least for the BBC, but.... 'Well,' I was told no one knows more about optics at the BBC than you do.' OK in one way a compliment, on 'tother rather worrying.....
I have to say that R&D when it was at Kingswood Warren was amazing. Not least they understood what made good pictures and sound, in addition to the engineering requirements.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby MOF » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:35 pm

I blame the rise of the corporate CFO -- accountants with power. Their only interest is in improving the short-term P&L figures to make themselves look good to the board, and cutting out the training budget boosts the bottom line with zero immediate impact on the business. So they look good at their job, and can move on to their next promotion in a different company with great references. Meanwhile those left behind will struggle in the future with the impending chaos they've left behind when the senior staff retire and the younger ones aren't properly trained. :?

I agree absolutely. The problem is that accountants and accounting practices are dictating company policy now, not managers with vision and common sense.
Accountants are there to advise on financial matters, they shouldn't be the tail that wags the dog.
I seem to remember that after a major accident some years ago it was revealed that Railtrack didn't have an engineer on the board.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:44 pm

I used to go sailing with a chap who said that when he was working for The Treasury (some time ago now), he was only one of two qualified accountants working there. I fear that number may have dropped somewhat.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby desmond » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:56 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
I was told that new BBC recruits would rotate through the various roles on mock productions during training at Wood Norton so that they would understand the problems that other departments encounter, which I thought was a good idea.

Absolutely. Standard practice. Nothing like standing in someone else's metaphorical shoes to appreciate what other professionals bring to the party, and how doing your own job well helps them to do theirs better too.

Yes! :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Logarhythm » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:43 pm

Thanks for the links Hugh, really interesting stuff - downloaded for later reading :thumbup:

Sam Spoons wrote:... just downloaded "Calculus for Dummies". Calculus always eluded me at school and I regret not getting back to it. I suppose it's never too late :clap:

If Calculus for Dummies doesn't gel with you then don't give up - having sat through many many hours of calculus (A-level maths, A-level further maths, undergrad/postgrad physics with every optional maths module available) it became really clear that people see it in very different ways. IMO its one of the few things that poses the same degree of elegance and beauty as music, but that only makes sense when someone starts explaining it in the right way for a given individual's brain to understand. Worth it though ;)
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby wireman » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:39 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I love books like these, because although obviously dated,
H

I had forgotten about those cgs units.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby wireman » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:58 pm

There is also a goldmine at the BBC R&D publications page.

Search for microphone for example.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby wireman » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The Beeb really did provide a world-class technical education back then that was on a par with the very best technical colleges of the day. That's why BBC staff of that generation (and those that followed) were so very, very good -- arguably the best in the world; because they genuinely understood the technicalities behind their craft skills and could apply them intelligently.

It was much the same when I joined the beeb in the 80s, .

You might find this report interesting.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:11 pm

Logarhythm wrote:only makes sense when someone starts explaining it in the right way for a given individual's brain to understand. Worth it though ;)

Very true.. that's really the case for most science, if you're lucky and you find a teacher that matches your way of seeing things, it's all easy from there.. if not, it's a struggle!
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:56 pm

wireman wrote:You might find this report interesting.

Ah yes. I remember that monograph. Much of that same core training structure was still in place right through to this century. At its peak in the late 70s through to the early 90s there were around 75 lecturers working there. But by 1997 it had been reduced to around 25 -- the same as in that 1954 monograph!

Over half of the original Wood Norton site was sold off by the early 2000s. The Hall is now a country house hotel that seems to specialise in wedding ceremonies. The accommodation (which was greatly developed over the years) has now been demolished and replaced with a retirement village. What remains of the site still contains a couple of TV studios and post-production suites, as well as a number of radio studios, some engineering training labs, and a variety of technical support services for the Beebs data network infrastructure.

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