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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 ore_terra » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:17 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
The Elf wrote:I love material like this. It gives me a sense of how much of the world I have yet to understand! :beamup:

Well, if you liked that, you'll probably like this too. From 1955:

https://www.bbceng.info/Books/Studio%20Engineering%20For%20Sound%20Broadcasting.pdf

I love books like these, because although obviously dated, they illustrate the core principles very well and show where the things we so often take for granted originally came from, as well as revealing the reasons why things are still done in a particular way today.

H
I suspect chapter 3 of that one (1955 mic placing) will be a great great reading.

thanks for this, Hugh :thumbup:
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby MOF » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:32 pm

The accommodation (which was greatly developed over the years) has now been demolished and replaced with a retirement village.
I’d been working on “Doctors” based at Pebble Mill some years ago and a few months later took my parents to see it - fond memories of Pebble Mill at One before I got into TV.
I thought I’d got the wrong road until I spotted signs infront of what used to be the studios saying it was going to be a science park. And this was just after they’d upgraded the studios to HD.
I heard later that the Post Box where they relocated to wasn’t fit for purpose. Very sad to see what happened to Television Centre too, such a great atmosphere there.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby MOF » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:48 pm

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.

It reminds me of the time I went for a trainee Studio Manager job in radio. I had a five plus panel of interviewers asking me questions in turn, but not one glimmer of a facial expression from any of them to give me a clue as to how it was going. Intimidating or what?
One of the Studio managers there did tell me to re-apply if I didn’t get the job, which I didn’t, to show that I was keen and would most likely get the job the next time.
I got to see You and yours on R2 and a R3 classical programme being made, the latter was funny in that the producer called through to the announcer that he’d be on soon, he put his pipe and newspaper to one side, the record ended and after what seemed like an eternity he announced what the next track would be. On R1 they’d have slotted in a whole jingle in that time. :D
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:04 pm

MOF wrote:I’d been working on “Doctors” based at Pebble Mill some years ago and a few months later took my parents to see it - fond memories of Pebble Mill at One before I got into TV. I thought I’d got the wrong road until I spotted signs infront of what used to be the studios saying it was going to be a science park.

Yes, sad destruction of a well-designed broadcast centre with a great history, and the loss of a lot of talent, skills, and regional resources.

I heard later that the Post Box where they relocated to wasn’t fit for purpose.

It's the Mailbox... but yes, I believe there were (and still are) some 'issues'. Inevitable given the design priorities...
https://www.mailboxlife.com/brand/bbc-shop-public-space/

Very sad to see what happened to Television Centre too, such a great atmosphere there.

It's all part of the (secret) grand plan to reduce the BBC to little more than a commissioning house... The job is almost done. :frown:

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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:30 pm

CS70 wrote:
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!
Yep, I found calculus was ok as long as I could visualise what I was trying to calculate, but once it started getting to third or fourth order (the rate of change of the rate of change of the rate of, sorry where were we?) I lost the mental models and was simply calculating by rote. Which worked as long as you got your technique right but made spotting errors much more difficult.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:31 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
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. :?
If you're not already familiar with it, read up on Zero-Based-Budgeting for a truly scary way to drive out any kind of long-term planning from an organisation. :(
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:16 pm

We're seeing much the same sort of thing in the construction industry.

Accountant: someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. :protest:
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby MOF » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:38 pm

read up on Zero-Based-Budgeting for a truly scary way to drive out any kind of long-term planning from an organisation. :(

Just had a quick look on Wikipedia, more cons than pros it seemed.
It still boils down to a focused management inspiring the work force to do a good job efficiently and reviewing each area of operations over time to make sure it is efficient, but equally, suitably resourced.
At Central TV studios where I worked, after it became a profit centre within Central TV, a camera mount was rented for a series that, if it had been bought, would almost have covered its rental cost. A second series was commissioned and so it almost cost double and Central TV didn’t have the ongoing use for free or the ability to sell it if there was no future need for it. That’s the lack of managerial common sense coupled with accountancy practices that I despair about.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:45 pm

To be fair ZBB is fine in theory, if applied correctly. The problem is, as you and Hugh have both mentioned, when the tail starts wagging the dog.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:20 pm

MOF wrote:At Central TV studios where I worked, after it became a profit centre within Central TV, a camera mount was rented for a series that, if it had been bought, would almost have covered its rental cost.

Yes, I've come across that kind of thing a lot. Again, it's short-termist bottom-line thinking. By hiring the ped (in this case) the rental can be charged directly to the production and thus doesn't impact the profit centre's budgets at all. Whereas buying the ped would involve a capital purchase outlay without any overt capability to recover the cost within a defined time-frame.

This kind of thinking is both very inefficient and craft-limiting when viewed as a whole, but inevitable once someone in suit is persuaded to create profit centres and start inter-departmental charging for resources, or working with external production companies.

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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby paul tha other » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:39 pm

love books like this....shows that a differant breed sat behind mixing desks in them days...i got to page 8 before i started scratching my head ..wish i payed attention at school... :headbang: :headbang:
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby CS70 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:40 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:This kind of thinking is both very inefficient and craft-limiting when viewed as a whole, but inevitable once someone in suit is persuaded to create profit centres and start inter-departmental charging for resources, or working with external production companies.

To be fair, it's not like the someones in suit are idiots hell bent on sabotaging all good practices and results. (disclaimer: I was once one)

The reason to splitting in cost centres and doing inter-charging is, usually, to manage complexity. When an organization starts to grow a little large, it becomes impossible to manage (which includes monitor and control) all costs, earnings and expenses in one single place. Even if everyone was perfectly well meaning (and well, it's not a wise manager who assumes so when large amounts of money are involved), having a single accounting structure would make impossible to detect errors, inconsistencies and so on.

A large, public corporate has legal reporting responsibilities which are squarely on the suits' shoulders (and with serious consequences in case they are not met), and even a private one normally wants/must report certified accounts to the shareholders and the idea of splitting things up has come up as one way to make the keep the whole thing manageable.

Everybody is pretty clear on the inefficiencies! But these inefficiencies are considered a fair price for achieving the control which is required. Once the decision is made, the inefficiency is accepted and nobody keeps crying over it - it's a cost of doing business like any other.

Size adds complexity, as anyone dealing with a 100+ tracks Protools session knows. :D

In the non-suited public there's usually a general idea that you can take a method or idea that works well in the small and keep using it in the large. That almost never is the case..

Of course it can also be herd thinking and there can be better solutions out there, but I'm pretty sure that if someone comes with a workable one which reduces inefficiencies and hence makes more money everything else being equal, all suits would soon jump ship. :)
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Ariosto » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:01 pm

MOF wrote:
The accommodation (which was greatly developed over the years) has now been demolished and replaced with a retirement village.
I’d been working on “Doctors” based at Pebble Mill some years ago and a few months later took my parents to see it - fond memories of Pebble Mill at One before I got into TV.
I thought I’d got the wrong road until I spotted signs infront of what used to be the studios saying it was going to be a science park. And this was just after they’d upgraded the studios to HD.
I heard later that the Post Box where they relocated to wasn’t fit for purpose. Very sad to see what happened to Television Centre too, such a great atmosphere there.

Pebble Mill was a tragedy. I worked at the old studios in Carpenter Road, in the BBC Midland Light Orchestra (MLO) and left the MLO just before Pebble Mill was opened and the orchestra moved in there. It became the Midland Radio Orchestra (MRO) (Under Norrie Paramor) and I worked with it as an deputy at Pebble Mill and then for a short while I joined up again. Pebble Mill was state of the art at that time and I think it remained so until it was closed and demolished.

So the BBC Midlands moved from a collection of studios to the new centre in about 1972. It had state of the art TV studios etc., and the two large sound studios we worked in were pretty good. I think next door there were the "Archers" studios and plenty of people in the band had good contact and relations with them.

It was after about 1979 that the orchestra was disbanded (Norrie having died suddenly) but I had left by this time, although I still got called in quite often. I then joined an opera orchestra and lost contact mostly with Birmingham, the beeb and most members of the orchestra.

Sad that such an organisation can fall to such a low level as we find it in today.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Ariosto » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:08 pm

CS70 wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:This kind of thinking is both very inefficient and craft-limiting when viewed as a whole, but inevitable once someone in suit is persuaded to create profit centres and start inter-departmental charging for resources, or working with external production companies.

To be fair, it's not like the someones in suit are idiots hell bent on sabotaging all good practices and results. (disclaimer: I was once one)

The reason to splitting in cost centres and doing inter-charging is, usually, to manage complexity. When an organization starts to grow a little large, it becomes impossible to manage (which includes monitor and control) all costs, earnings and expenses in one single place. Even if everyone was perfectly well meaning (and well, it's not a wise manager who assumes so when large amounts of money are involved), having a single accounting structure would make impossible to detect errors, inconsistencies and so on.

A large, public corporate has legal reporting responsibilities which are squarely on the suits' shoulders (and with serious consequences in case they are not met), and even a private one normally wants/must report certified accounts to the shareholders and the idea of splitting things up has come up as one way to make the keep the whole thing manageable.

Everybody is pretty clear on the inefficiencies! But these inefficiencies are considered a fair price for achieving the control which is required. Once the decision is made, the inefficiency is accepted and nobody keeps crying over it - it's a cost of doing business like any other.

Size adds complexity, as anyone dealing with a 100+ tracks Protools session knows. :D

In the non-suited public there's usually a general idea that you can take a method or idea that works well in the small and keep using it in the large. That almost never is the case..

Of course it can also be herd thinking and there can be better solutions out there, but I'm pretty sure that if someone comes with a workable one which reduces inefficiencies and hence makes more money everything else being equal, all suits would soon jump ship. :)
Yes, but once the system of management totally ruins the once excellent product (i.e. public broadcasting) and reduces it to the lowest common denominator, then it becomes a tragedy, in my opinion.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby CS70 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:13 pm

Ariosto wrote:Yes, but once the system of management totally ruins the once excellent product (i.e. public broadcasting) and reduces it to the lowest common denominator, then it becomes a tragedy, in my opinion.

Sure, but you'll find both organizations making excellent products and others making terrible ones, which must accept these inefficiencies to function. The two things are not particularly correlated. Inefficiencies come from size.

Then of course another malady of large organizations is that it's much harder to keep the focus that is needed to keep making brilliant products, but that's another issue altogether.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:18 pm

CS70 wrote:To be fair...

Yes, of course, I get the principles and reasoned arguments for the accounting/control benefits... but I've also experienced the counterproductive and downright damaging nonsense that these approaches also typically impose. It is often a case of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater.

Everybody is pretty clear on the inefficiencies! But these inefficiencies are considered a fair price for achieving the control which is required.

:-) I think that might depend on which side of the desk you're sitting!

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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby The Elf » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:16 pm

I managed to buy a few choice pieces of gear from the Pebble Mill close-down, including an RMI ElectraPiano that had seen many famous fingers...
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby MOF » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:14 pm

Yes, of course, I get the principles and reasoned arguments for the accounting/control benefits... but I've also experienced the counterproductive and downright damaging nonsense that these approaches also typically impose. It is often a case of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater.

The BBC now rents back half of TVC that it previously owned and rents all of the Salford site plus periodic renting of sound stages at Elstree (film) studios and Shepperton, Pinewood etc.
If ever there was a case of the accountants ruling the roost then that has to be it, unless it’s political interference, as with the pensioners free licences.
To reiterate I’m not bashing accountants here, I started out on that path but left after six months and I have a high proportion of them in my family.
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Re: BBC Engineering Training Manual -- Microphones

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:39 pm

MOF wrote:To reiterate I’m not bashing accountants here, I started out on that path but left after six months and I have a high proportion of them in my family.
I'm married to one! :D
Well, an ex-one... ;)
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