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Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?

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Jeff Markgraf
Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 3:37:04 am

I just know there are a bunch of old-timers lurking here who can answer this.

I'm trying to remember the name of what could best be described as a 2.5-D graphics system from the early/mid 90s. It combined paint box functions with compositing and limited motion graphics. Definitely not Hal or Henry, definitely not SGI, but in the same general class (only cheaper). Custom keyboard and joystick controller, along with a pen and tablet. Not Mac/PC-based like a Toaster or software-based like After Effects. Tell-A-Vision Post (aka TVPost) in Hollywood had one. Maybe three people in Hollywood at that time knew how to use it.

It's driving me crazy. Anyone?

Jeff M.
Old Fart Who Loves My FCP-X But Sometimes Misses Linear Editing


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 3:55:14 am

Quantel Paintbox?



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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 5:54:08 am

Nope. It did a lot more than a Paintbox. I think it had a three letter name, like DPS, but obviously not DPS. Any other takers?


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Mike Smith
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 1:58:27 pm

Maybe something from the ADO line - though they were quite high end ...? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_video_effect







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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 3:26:22 pm

You don't mean the Dubner system, do you? It was the grandfather of TypeDeko, and the other Pinnacle boxes/software, and had paint, motion graphics, a live sequencer, and a basic 3D wireframe system (but the shading was pitifully poor - kind of like Phong shading). For its time, it was an amazing box. I moved up to that from a Quantel Paintbox, and was thrilled with the fact that the Dubner had K Language, which would allow you to convert graphic designs to text, which could then be programmed to take CG input from our CG operators. It was a system I could "monkey proof", in that all the operators had to input was the data, and the correct fonts, colors, and sizes were hard wired into the macro. It save time and mistakes, and kept me sane, since most of the new CG ops seemed to have a great love for the Hobo typeface...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:31:31 am

Hi Joseph. Nope, not Dubner. I remember the Dubner 20k fondly. Lots of advanced features and easy integration with a GVG edit system. Even us old online guys could do pretty decent graphics and compositing work with it. An loved (not really) that Bernoulli tape drive storage.

Ha! Hobo. Almost as bad as Comic Sans.


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Bernard Newnham
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 11:35:34 am

"Old Fart Who Loves My FCP-X But Sometimes Misses Linear Editing"

One thing I've never ever missed is linear editing.

Though at various IBCs I've walked down the corridor and heard a very familiar ancient sound in the distance which did evoke a bit of nostalgia -







Bernie


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Chris Harlan
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 20, 2014 at 8:24:11 am

Ever see one of those suckers fly across the room on rewind after somebody forgot to lock the capstan? It could take a head off. Well, not really, but would have hurt a whole lot.


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:41:26 am

Chris, you're quite right. I had a friend who managed to spin a 1" reel off the machine and through the window separating the edit bay from the machine room. It was a VPR 6, if I recall, and they could get up quite a head of steam in full fast forward or rewind. He forgot to tighten the supply reel clamp before rewinding. It was a post house in Dallas, located oddly enough, at Love Field. Nobody hurt, but a lot of damage.


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Paul Neumann
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 2:10:56 am

Video Post & Transfer.


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 4:36:32 am

Yes indeed. That rings a bell.

Since we're all so OT here, I'm curious how many on this forum are from an online background? By which I mean old school, linear editing using Beta/1"/D2/DigiBeta/D3/HDCam, etc. Switchers, ADOs, TBCs, knowing how to set SC/H phase, and all the other stuff. How do you think it has influenced how you approach non-linear editing?

Maybe a different thread would be in order? Or does no one actually care?


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Scott Thomas
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 6:58:48 am

My editors, in order:

Sony RM-440
Sony Betacam (Front Panel)
CMX Edge
Sony BVE-900
GVG VPE-241
Avid MC-1000
Immix VideoCube
Apple Final Cut Pro
.
.
.
There's some JVC and Panasonic stuff near the beginning, but the RM-440 was the first and probably my favorite.

I don't include the Accom Affinity. It was a tragic waste of time.


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Joseph Owens
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on May 13, 2014 at 7:58:20 pm

Started out at an RCA-equipped television station. TR-1, TR-4, 2xTR-60, TR70-C (no time code on any of them) -- edited machine-to-machine -- producer punched a "start all" button in the control room, and did all the switching and fader bar transitions. Big deal when the BVU-200s arrived with their 2 machine controller, whatever BVE it was. Then three VPR-1s arrived, which were replaced by VPR-2s. I moved to a post house that could gang 3 time-code enabled AVR-3's together, optimize record current everyday, set ScH for every edit session -- at least it was good for in-frame match edits so we didn't need to do A-B rolls. The engineering department there pioneered an Apple II-based "film conform" system that converted a foot+frames EDL paper list to a paper EDL that we could enter into the Ampex (pre ACE) machine controller. DVE was a Vital Industries "Squeezoom"... four channels of SD video! Tumble turns! Learned how to operate a 3M D8800 character generator.

Moved to SONY. Then on to an AV department where I encountered M-Format ("Recam")... and a lovely BVH-2000 that was a real workhorse. Grass Valley system -- GVG-100/ DPM-100 and whatever controller was integrated. Over 20 years ago. Then started working as a colorist and went over to daVinci Renaissance although I was trained on an 8:8:8, which didn't arrive at the facility I was hired at until 5 years later. Rank-Cintel URSA, eventually with MetaSpeed and a TLC-II controller (best multi-machine multi-format controller I have ever seen), and now, you know, a bunch of Macs and software.

I have to stop and dab an eye when I think about the millions of dollars of scrap metal out there, and the blood, sweat and tears shed over media that will never be seen again. Was it all just wasted time? Thanks, Don Henley.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:36:08 am

Yes, Bernard. Great memories. That looks like a newer RCA quad machine. It's pretty quiet, and the guy ion the video comments on the fast lock-up time. The older Ampex decks took longer and were noisy as hell. I was still rolling news opens and bumper backgrounds on those decks as late as 1986.


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jerry wise
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 5:06:05 pm

Ampex AVA ?


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Michael Sanders
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 8:40:01 pm

In the late 80's I working for a Swedish TV co based in London. We had a graphics system there which I think was called Matisse.. If I remember rightly it was PC based but with its own hardware board.

Fairly sure its what the ITV weather team used for a number of years as well.

Michael Sanders
London Based DP/Editor


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John Kaley
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 20, 2014 at 11:54:25 pm
Last Edited By John Kaley on Apr 20, 2014 at 11:56:22 pm

Probably DFX Composium. Used it at Grace & Wild (RIP) in the Detroit area in the mid-90's. Great system until I got my hands on After Effects in 1995.



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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:27:16 am

And the prize goes to John Kaley!

DFX Composium it is - er, was. You have no idea how this has been driving me crazy for weeks. Interesting box with a weird, in-between feature set. So much more than a switcher/ADO/CG, yet so much less than a Henry/Hal or the like. Killed by the transition from hardware to software.

Wow. Grace and Wild. There's a revered name from the past.

Thanks for the ID.


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Scott Thomas
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 6:49:27 am

I was going to guess DFX/Composium, based on your first post. I worked with an AD that wanted to buy a used one in 1998. By that time, After Effects had pretty much supplanted it, and I became a pariah for suggesting that.

I did see one in operation in Chicago in the early 1990's.

I also ran a Colorgraphics DP/MAX and DP/4:2:2. Weird stuff from Madison WI that did some of the same stuff as the DFX.


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Bernard Newnham
Re: Laughably OT: Can you ID an old graphics system?
on Apr 21, 2014 at 12:07:51 pm
Last Edited By Bernard Newnham on Apr 21, 2014 at 12:10:20 pm

"Yes, Bernard. Great memories. That looks like a newer RCA quad machine."

Apologies for going so far off topic, but you did put it in your sig.

That's a Ampex AVR2. The BBC was full of them, and all of ours had the footbrake that he mentions. I was never an editor, but I spent a lot of my youth in editing areas at the BBC as a producer making promotions -







Though that was probably 1" or D3, 2" was the environment where I learned to make quick decisions, owing to the fact that changing tapes often took more time than editing the clips. I only started editing myself when non-linear came along, first on Eidos Optima, then on all flavours of FCP up to 7. Then Edius and PPro.

Bernie


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