Offline Editing
As usual click on the picture for an enlargement and more information, click on the enlargement to return
ECS1B
It all began in what used to be the central island of 'management offices' of the spacious Film Recording Area (later called VT Area 2). Large, cumbersome U-Matic machines enabled the first of the linear offline systems to be realised as they were relatively cheap and could be remotely controlled. Later, of course, the improved performance of the VHS machines meant that they could be used in place of the U-Matics.
Although this U-Matic off-line suite in its various guises was in use for several years, it never progressed beyond its initial 'thrown together' state of engineering installation and could hardly have been more inconvenient to use.
The first suite had a Convergence ECS1b edit controller which looked after two U-Matics - edit decisions were written down on paper and the resulting programme 'conformed' in an edit suite, although the title 'conforming' was to come later on. The U-Matics were slow to use, with tape winding in particular somewhat pedestrian; they were mechanically unreliable and the resultant rough-cut invariably contained a number of "It'll be alright on the night" sequences.  Nevertheless, to editors who normally used two inch, the ability to see a still frame and to inch forward and backward to find precise edit points, it was rather revolutionary and it proved the point that off-line editing was not only useful but an essential programme making tool.
ECS103
Technology advanced and we bought a Convergence ECS103 "Superstick" controller which, allegedly, could synchronise the two U-Matics..... The layout of the various bits and pieces changed from the original setup and a Vortexion sound mixer was added.
ECS103
The biggest problem was conforming the final edit. The only way to produce an edit decision list was to write down the 'in' and 'out' of every single sequence, along with copious notes to help jog the editor's memory. The sheet below is one page from an insert to Sportsnight in 1979 - the photograph above was, I seem to remember, taken during the edit. Mike Moss, the AP, was most likely getting the teas at the time!
Offline notes