Mobile VT


Leysin Switzerland 1978
Producer Michael Hurll decided to take the normal crew who did the Seaside Specials over to Leysin in Switzerland to record a Snowtime Special. We were working crazy hours -  about 16 per day and Michael admitted that the local crews refused to do this but he knew that Kendal Avenue wouldn't mind. LMVT1 was my truck here and had but one 2" VR2000, the oldest in OB's and was the sole source of recording. What director would dare to do this today when all cameras are now recorded individually. The almost house band was Boney M who were great fun but the stars of the show were ABBA. After one recording all 4 of them came into LMVT1 for a replay. I fell totally in love with the Blonde one and when she smiled at me it was all I could do to operate the vt. The Dark one had her small child with her. This was not such good news as said child thought the 19" equipment bays would make a super climbing frame. The Blonde one sat on my stool and I would not let anyone else sit on it for many weeks. On the final day we wrapped late and were invited to a midnight feast supplied by the town council in the town hall. I have never seen so many tables groaning under the weight of such superb food and drink and of course we tucked in. Next morning we were waiting for the coach just outside the town hall to take us to the airport when I heard some English voices a bit 'tired and emotional' saying that they really must go to bed as they were driving the trucks back home that day.

Unspecified Location!
I was John Wilson's oppo on LMVT3 fitted with the Ampex VR1200 2" vt machine in the 1970's. We developed a fault where the playback became unstable. Immediately the engineering manager came across talkback to ask how long it would take to fix it. Give us a chance, please. This EM which I will identify only as Bob to spare his blushes had his heart in the right place but was in possession of very little technical knowledge and absolutely none where VT was concerned.
John and I started the investigation by getting all the manuals out and narrowed the fault to the Amtec. Every 5 minutes Bob would be on the phone asking the same question - how long ?  I think I may have upset him a bit by explaining that either I could carry on fault finding or answer the telephone but not both. Bob decided to come over to the truck to sort us out.
By this time we had several boards from the Amtec on extenders and lots of interesting waveforms on the oscilloscope - some of which we almost understood - and the manuals all over the benches. Bob came in and we decided to give him the facts, all of them. As we did so his eyes started to glaze over and at this point John Wilson came out with the killer line. "We seem to have a non specific malfunction in the Time Element Compensator". This did the trick and Bob fled back to the scanner where we heard him say on talkback that vt were across the problem. John was factually correct. He had described what Amtec really was, Ampex Time Element Compensator to straighten the lines out in playback. That it was fairly crude meant that for colour a more precise version was added, the Colortec and another for the final polish of the 2" format, Velocity Compensation.