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post #31 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 09:59 AM
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On screen branding and promotions are probably going to get worse. Besides frequency they also appear to be growing in size. It wouldn't surprise me to see advertising done in a similar manner during shows. Baseball already has the virtual billboard behind the batter. Between the PVRs and the overall loss of viewers, stations and networks will be under pressure to create more revenue.


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post #32 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Bars&Tone View Post

Still, my suspicion is that (pesky) consultants play a big role in these decisions, and news directors and other higher-ups just eat up all of their advice, regardless of how foolish it may look on air.

Ahh consultants, my station would occasionally bring these people in and it became obvious that they would just say to change a bunch of stuff for the sake of change (e.g. have medium close up shots be more zoomed in, next year they would say zoom out more and not so close, change graphics look, etc.). I guess if they just said everything looks good, no changes necessary, GMs wouldn't think they were getting their money's worth. Whenever you go to a meeting with consultants, you know you're going to come out with a lot of busy work assigned to you...
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post #33 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Bars&Tone View Post

Having read through some of the recent threads here in the HDTV Programming sub-forum, it looks like in this sub-forum alone, there are a number of users who work in the television broadcasting industry. That said, if anyone else around here works in television and doesn't mind sharing, I think it would be interesting to hear a bit about your specific line of work in the broadcasting industry.

I have been posting on the Forum for many years. I am Director of Operations and Engineering for KOVR and KMAX, in Sacramento. Both CBS owned stations. Prior to that, I was active in the Boston OTA forum. Same position and same company when I was in Boston.

- Bob
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post #34 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Hess View Post

I have been posting on the Forum for many years. I am Director of Operations and Engineering for KOVR and KMAX, in Sacramento. Both CBS owned stations. Prior to that, I was active in the Boston OTA forum. Same position and same company when I was in Boston.

- Bob

Bob,

Great to see you on here again it was you who pointed me to this website many years ago and for that I thank you. I was the one having reception problems in Walpole if you can remember.

To all others thanks for the response to my question I find this thread very interesting so I hope you all keep posting and educating us out here HDTV land.
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post #35 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by steverobertson View Post

Bob,

Great to see you on here again it was you who pointed me to this website many years ago and for that I thank you. I was the one having reception problems in Walpole if you can remember.

To all others thanks for the response to my question I find this thread very interesting so I hope you all keep posting and educating us out here HDTV land.

Steve, I remember you well! I lived in Hopkinton, a few towns just north of you. You Boston guys are in good hands with Bob Yankowitz from WBZ.

By the way, I see you have been very active on the Forum. Well ahead of me!

- Bob
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post #36 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Hess View Post

Steve, I remember you well! I lived in Hopkinton, a few towns just north of you. You Boston guys are in good hands with Bob Yankowitz from WBZ.

By the way, I see you have been very active on the Forum. Well ahead of me!

- Bob

Good to see you on here again and yes I have been active on here it is such a great site to keep up with HD. Bob is taking good care of us here in Boston but not as good as you did LOL. I wonder why no other Boston station ever come onto this site. I am sure you know channel 5 just went HD with their newscasts I wish 4 would do the same but I guess it is a work in process and will happen hopefully not to far down the road.

How do you like it out there?
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post #37 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by steverobertson View Post

Good to see you on here again and yes I have been active on here it is such a great site to keep up with HD. Bob is taking good care of us here in Boston but not as good as you did LOL. I wonder why no other Boston station ever come onto this site. I am sure you know channel 5 just went HD with their newscasts I wish 4 would do the same but I guess it is a work in process and will happen hopefully not to far down the road.

How do you like it out there?

All of the CBS owned stations are in the process of HD conversion, some farther ahead than others. I guarantee you that all of the Boston stations guys monitor the Forum but most are stealth, generally because of their company policies.

Since I was born and raised as a Cali guy, I do like it out here!. Miss that food in the North End, however.
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post #38 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Hess View Post

All of the CBS owned stations are in the process of HD conversion, some farther ahead than others. I guarantee you that all of the Boston stations guys monitor the Forum but most are stealth, generally because of their company policies.

Since I was born and raised as a Cali guy, I do like it out here!. Miss that food in the North End, however.

I read that all CBS owned stations were in the process a while back it will be great when it does happen. Interesting on the other stations monitoring this site but not being able to comment on their situations.

I bet you miss the North End I was just in there about a month ago and the area was just packed with people especially now that the big dig is almost completed and you can walk over through all the new green spaces they created.

Well I am sure others are bored with this conversation and just want to wish you the best out there and hope you can get back to the North End someday.
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post #39 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 12:57 PM
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I'm Director of Engineering for a small southeastern group of 6 stations headquartered in Charlotte at WCCB. I Started in TV as an MCO-Engineer back in the early 80's..I was the one who always put the super ID up just as the putt happened in the golf match Working on the design and buildout of Tv station #9 in my history.

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post #40 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bars&Tone View Post

Very true. Granted, my job is fairly detached from the news department, so I'm by no means an insider on how our news department makes decisions. Still, my suspicion is that (pesky) consultants play a big role in these decisions, and news directors and other higher-ups just eat up all of their advice, regardless of how foolish it may look on air. Ever notice how so many news stories are touted as "breaking news" these days? Ever notice how newscasts, both national and local, are now "theming" big stories with lame titles and full-screen intro graphics (like "Bridge Collapse" for the tragedy in Minnesota, or "Katrina: Two Years Later")? I could be wrong, but my guess is that news consultants played some sort of role in prompting stations to start this kind of nonsense.

I guess it's a good thing that I work in engineering / operations, as I don't think my controversial views on this issue would go over too well in the news department

There is also quite a strong element of fashion in some of these decisions, as well as an element of "keeping up with the Jones" (does that translate into American English ? Neighbours fighting to outdo each other irrespective of the outcome and not actually desiring the result, just wanting to beat each other)

Over here Sky News and News 24 revamp quite regularly, and they always seem to copy each other - so one goes from big text to small text, then the other one goes from small text to big text etc. One goes for everything at the bottom of the screen, then the rival moves things into all 4 corners.

At the moment Sky looks just like News 24 did, and News 24 looks just like Sky did!
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post #41 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

There is also quite a strong element of fashion in some of these decisions, as well as an element of "keeping up with the Jones" (does that translate into American English ? Neighbours fighting to outdo each other irrespective of the outcome and not actually desiring the result, just wanting to beat each other)

Yes, except in America, it's the Joneses - not just a single man living alone (and of course, here, there's no "u" in neighbors).

The phrase comes from an American comic strip, but we're happy to share with our more refined neighbors across the pond.
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post #42 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 02:01 PM
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I was the one who always put the super ID up just as the putt happened in the golf match

So that was YOU!

My story is a little different from everyone else -- I've been working at the same station for 33 years! Started there in 1974 doing studio production work (camera, audio, etc), then went on to become a commercial director. Started TD'ing news in 1980, and still do that to this day (though I've only got a few more shows to do, and then the big switcher is being retired in favor of an integrated "news automation" system). Moved into Engineering around the same time, and mostly did master control work -- I still keep my hands in that, mostly because we have a very lean staff, but I sort of evolved into the guy who knows how it all works. Automation problems? Video server problems? VTR problems? Switcher problems? Audio problems? Whatever it is, I've seen it, and can probably make it work. That's why I am, the "videojanitor" -- I mop up everyone else's mess.
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post #43 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 02:29 PM
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I've been in TV so many years, I can remember when consultants told people NOT to wear white on-camera, because it looked bad.

Now, they tell them TO wear white on-camera. It still looks bad, but "everybody does it". So, they all copy it.

Ken English, Sr. Engineer, KSL-TV.
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post #44 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 02:49 PM
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I've been developing software for the TV News business since the '80s. I co-founded NewsMaker Systems, one of the major Newsroom computer system vendors until it became a non-viable commercial business (thanks AP!) and designed all their machine control and automation systems. The system still runs some of Time-Warner's 24-hour local news channels.

Bob Hess was actually one of our early adopters if I recall.
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post #45 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 03:04 PM
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I create HD programming
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post #46 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

Yes, except in America, it's the Joneses - not just a single man living alone (and of course, here, there's no "u" in neighbors).

The phrase comes from an American comic strip, but we're happy to share with our more refined neighbors across the pond.

More than happy to be corrected! Jones was a typo - as I think you guessed! But I'll keep my "u" in neighbours - now if only Microsoft would sell a UK version of Media CentRE...

(Totally off-topic - but is the English English vs American English spelling issue North American wide - or just US-specific? Does Canada spell colour or color, neighbour or neighbor, centre or center etc.?)

As for the original thread - I work in the industry in the UK. Was originally a broadcast R&D Engineer with a major UK broadcast equipment manufacturer (there aren't many of them left - particularly with names beginning with Q) - but now only indirectly use my engineering skills, as I work in a more "creative" role (not my description - engineering can be VERY creative!) for a UK broadcaster (with a name beginning with B).
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post #47 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony Chick View Post

I've been developing software for the TV News business since the '80s. I co-founded NewsMaker Systems, one of the major Newsroom computer system vendors until it became a non-viable commercial business (thanks AP!) and designed all their machine control and automation systems. The system still runs some of Time-Warner's 24-hour local news channels.

Bob Hess was actually one of our early adopters if I recall.

Careful, Tony, you're making it sound like I am a real old guy! Yes, we were a Newsmaker user early on.

- Bob
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post #48 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

More than happy to be corrected! Jones was a typo - as I think you guessed! But I'll keep my "u" in neighbours - now if only Microsoft would sell a UK version of Media CentRE...

(Totally off-topic - but is the English English vs American English spelling issue North American wide - or just US-specific? Does Canada spell colour or color, neighbour or neighbor, centre or center etc.?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America...ng_differences
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post #49 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 06:30 PM
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Many of us couldn't possibly post here as we run engineering departments for large multi-channel programmers and need to remain anonymous for various reasons. ;>) Rest assured we pay attention to the postings on this forum. If we did post here we'd say we were interested in your feedback on our HD offerings.

Picture quality is a tough one because you can't see what the cable/sat company is doing to our original signals, but what about audio? Some of us are simulating surround sound from stereo--can you tell the difference? And what about aspect ratios? Clearly the non-linear stretch is not a favorite with forum members, but what would you rather see for upconverted content? Yes, we will need to live with upconverts for the foreseeable future, until there is more HD content produced for our libraries. As time passes, there will be more and more true HD content. How about upconverted SD letterbox? There's no aspect distortion on HD. Can you always tell the difference between this and content produced in HD?
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post #50 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 07:38 PM
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And what about aspect ratios? Clearly the non-linear stretch is not a favorite with forum members, but what would you rather see for upconverted content? Yes, we will need to live with upconverts for the foreseeable future, until there is more HD content produced for our libraries. As time passes, there will be more and more true HD content. How about upconverted SD letterbox? There's no aspect distortion on HD. Can you always tell the difference between this and content produced in HD?

Not to take this off topic - but the consensus answer is very easy to relay. Pass through the material in its proper aspect ratio utilizing pillar bars when necessary - no stretching, especially a non-linear stretch. Zoom 4:3 letterboxed to full 16:9. Don't advertise, or label, a program as "HD" if it is an upconvert. Try to get the HD versions of any reruns you carry - and most importantly, if you do have an HD copy of programming, always show that version everytime it airs on the HD channel instead of switching between the HD version and an upconverted SD version.

We prefer a simulcast channel so the original programming offered airs first run along with the SD channel. Even though that means a lot more upconverts, with the wave of HD channels coming online, there's no need to hide the fact that each one is not 100% HD. We'll get a handful of HD original programming on many different channels. It is no different than the fact that we've come to expect many reruns on all the cablenets, but greatly appreciate the influx of quality original programming that were now getting. F/X doesn't loop only their originals 24/7 - there's no point in a 100% HD loop of material.
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post #51 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

(Totally off-topic - but is the English English vs American English spelling issue North American wide - or just US-specific? Does Canada spell colour or color, neighbour or neighbor, centre or center etc.?)

Well the bank I walked past yesterday (I'm currently in Canada for a conference) had a sign mentioning cheques and I'm pretty certain I've seen the correct spelling of colour and similar. There money also has the Queen on it.

Still don't drive on the right side of the road though...

Steven
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post #52 of 67 Old 08-29-2007, 11:13 PM
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My bosses dream job! He keeps saying his final years before retirement, he wants a nice QUIET MCO job!

Yeah, right... nice, quiet, MCO job!?! Where?

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post #53 of 67 Old 08-30-2007, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Shari View Post

And what about aspect ratios? Clearly the non-linear stretch is not a favorite with forum members, but what would you rather see for upconverted content? Yes, we will need to live with upconverts for the foreseeable future, until there is more HD content produced for our libraries. As time passes, there will be more and more true HD content. How about upconverted SD letterbox? There's no aspect distortion on HD. Can you always tell the difference between this and content produced in HD?

4:3 SD should be presented un-distorted - so pillarboxed within an HD 16:9 frame.

16:9 full-height SD should be presented up-converted to an HD 16:9 full-frame. (But should not be called "HD" really.)

16:9 material letterboxed within a 4:3 SD frame is a more interesting one. Should this be converted to HD 16:9 full-frame (scaling the 360 active lines to 720/1080 lines?) or should it be treated as 4:3 SD and appear window-boxed / postage-stamped with pillarbox and letterbox bars all the way round? My gut feeling is that the scaling is preferable - as zooming may not be an option for some display owners.

Another question is to why material originated in 16:9 would be delivered letterboxed in 4:3 - unless the post production path introduced the letterbox and no 16:9 full-height master were available, I'd wish the letterbox transfer to be ditched in preference to a full-height master...

I would wish any form of stretch (linear or non-linear) to be avoided at all costs - circles should always be circles. I am not a huge fan of cropping active material to allow a zoom - though for 4:3 material edited into a 16:9 show a 14:9 pillarbox (as opposed to a 12:9 pillarbox) can make the 4:3 material integrate slightly better with 16:9 stuff (at the expense of some resolution and the loss of some picture top and bottom)
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post #54 of 67 Old 08-30-2007, 04:42 AM
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(Totally off-topic - but is the English English vs American English spelling issue North American wide - or just US-specific? Does Canada spell colour or color, neighbour or neighbor, centre or center etc.?)

Canada retains the UK spellings. As a matter of fact, other than the American sounding accents except for some differences where the US English we use short O for words like PROCESSOR and they use long O's like the UK and words with "ou" like 'about' that sounds more like "a boat" where the US says "a bowt", someone from the UK would think they were still in the UK, except for driving on the right side of the road and using the Canadian dollar instead of the pound note. The Queen and things related to monarchy are still very much in evidence in Canada today.

Many things are "the Royal" this or that and there are roadways with monarchy names like the major roadway around Lake Ontario is called "The Queens Expressway" or the QEW.

Canada uses Metric where the US is still using Imperial.

Most Americans away from the Canadian border can't really tell the difference in accents between US and Canadian English except for the couple of examples I sighted above. I spent several weeks in Canadian 2 years ago and it is different than the US in many ways, but again the same. Someone ask me how were the Canadians and I said, "like us, just different." After a day or two there, I got used to the Metric system and now notice just how much Metric is being included in shows made here in the US and we are now getting lots of Canadian programming on the cable channels like Science Channel and Discovery channel and it is all Metric. That and the words like PROCESSOR and ABOUT are dead giveaways they are Canadian products. Most Americans don't notice it though. And if they do, they never mention it. LOTS of American television coming across the border from US stations and on the Canadian stations to Canada. The CBC was a little hard to get a grasp on but it too was interesting, in a PBS gone mad kind of way. Someone asked me to explain the CBC and the best way I could was to imagine NBC and PBS merging where you had the news resources and some commercial programming of NBC and the cultural programming of PBS with a heavy dose of the "government line" and that was the CBC. The big thing that got me was the bilingualness of Canada. English and French are BOTH the official language so anything associated with the government, buildings, road signs, etc, had to carry both English and French. There are even English only and French only radio and TV stations. (the French stations seem to be doing things completely different from the English stations with their own programming and I don't remember seeing any dubbed English to French shows on the French stations either.) That took a little while to get use to, but we are seeing more and more of that here in the US with English and Spanish but of course the US doesn't have an "official" language. English is still very much the language you see here in most of the US.

I think most former British colonies in the Western Hemisphere maintain the UK spellings and customs.The US split away over 225 years ago so have not had much to any direct British influence during that time but have amassed many customs from many countries over the last 200 and some years to become what we are, a great world melting pot, where many of the other former British Colonies only became independent in the late 19th or 20th Century and those British-isms are more embedded so they remain.

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post #55 of 67 Old 08-30-2007, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry Kenney View Post

Yeah, right... nice, quiet, MCO job!?! Where?

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After running a department, a MCO job WOULD be quiet!!

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post #56 of 67 Old 08-30-2007, 02:00 PM
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Canada uses Metric where the US is still using Imperial.

We're with you on that - we're still officially imperial for road distances and speeds (miles and miles per hour) and still buy beer in pints. However we have some European infuences and have to buy petrol in litres (though everyone talks in gallons - UK gallons not US gallons - and talks of fuel consumption in miles per galon not litres per kilometre) I buy food in kg but think in pounds. I buy furniture with dimensions in milimetres but think in inches - educates in metric, brought up with imperial!

The accent is interesting - "about" is a classic differentiator. In English English I would say "a-bowt" (because I have a neutral southern accent) - though upper class people might say "a-bite". Canadians are always stereotyped as saying "a-boot" - further away from English English than American English.

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The big thing that got me was the bilingualness of Canada. English and French are BOTH the official language so anything associated with the government, buildings, road signs, etc, had to carry both English and French. There are even English only and French only radio and TV stations. (the French stations seem to be doing things completely different from the English stations with their own programming and I don't remember seeing any dubbed English to French shows on the French stations either.) That took a little while to get use to, but we are seeing more and more of that here in the US with English and Spanish but of course the US doesn't have an "official" language. English is still very much the language you see here in most of the US.

The UK is similar. In Wales all official signage is bilingual - with English and Welsh. The 4th terrestrial TV station in Wales is S4C - not Channel 4 - and carries significant Welsh language programming - including soap, national news, music etc. (There is often dual subtitling - with both Welsh subtitles for the hard-of-hearing and English subtitles for translation purposes)

There are both national Welsh language and English language radio stations. Northern Ireland and Scotland also have separate language services - though Welsh is more widespread and better served.
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post #57 of 67 Old 08-30-2007, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

The accent is interesting - "about" is a classic differentiator. In English English I would say "a-bowt" (because I have a neutral southern accent) - though upper class people might say "a-bite". Canadians are always stereotyped as saying "a-boot" - further away from English English than American English.

To be honest, I had never noticed it until I went to Canada and then our new tower was erected shortly after I returned by a Canadian crew so I got many months of Canadian English! Now I seem to be able to spot a Canadian program fairly quickly by the accents but my wife says she can't tell the difference until I point it out.

And until I was around Canadians for awhile, I noticed that I had heard many of the same accents my whole life and didn't realize it. The "outer banks people" of eastern North Carolina who lived on the wind swept barrier islands off of North Carolnia has a variation on "about" that would make people think they were from Canada. Of course that evolved due to them being isolated for almost 200 years out on the coast and they developed a slightly different English that we call "High Tider" (pronounced "hauy tiwd-er" that is closer to the "Queen's English" than Canadian English. They are very pronounced. Many of these people are decendants of the English colonization of the new world in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Beyond that, these people had very little interaction with the mainland until the early 20th Century when bridges were built from the mainland to the islands.

The "High Tiders" were the people who helped the Wright Brothers in the attempts to fly from 1900 to 1908 when they were on the North Carolina Outer Banks. It was a "High Tider" who took the famous first flight picture in 1903. It was the first time he had ever seen a camera much less it being the only picture he ever took!

Interesting stuff!

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post #58 of 67 Old 08-31-2007, 08:37 AM
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I've been in this racket since Junior High when a brand new school opened up with a TV studio... My first day there I wound up behind a camera staring into the control room. Next week I was in there switching and a couple of weeks later I talked the Media Director into letting me direct the news show. Fast Forward thru some years at the local cable production department, the Synapse Visiting Video Artist Center and other assorted TV production jobs at Syracuse University, a couple of post production facility jobs in NYC and into CBS. I've spent 25 years here editing everything from soaps to promos of all sorts, and morning and evening news shows. I worked as the Senior Inside Edtor (defacto, but not official title) for CBS Sports for way to many years and then migrated over to News, editing several prime time magazine shows, and many long form documentaries. I'm now safely ensconced as one of the Post Production Editors on 60 MINUTES.
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post #59 of 67 Old 09-01-2007, 06:12 PM
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Dang, I wish I could be part of this thread. Wait, I can. I worked at Westinghouse in the 90's when times there were bleak. Instead of selling KDKA, they bought CBS, then changed their name as well. Goodbye WX, hello CBS. It took them a few more months to jettison my division, so I did work for CBS for a time. Does that count?
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post #60 of 67 Old 09-02-2007, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Occasional AVS threads aside, does anyone know of any message boards out there geared specifically toward television broadcast engineering and/or the operations/MC side of the business?


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