15 Mar 2019

1970s sports coverage: familiar but horrifyingly old fashioned

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Vintage Match of the day Live TV coverage Vintage Match of the day Live TV coverage BBC

It's easy to poke fun at technology from 45 years ago, but you can't help admiring the people who worked in live outside broadcasts back then

 Imagine a world where there's no digital video. There's no NLEs, no digtial storage, no high speed data links and absolutely no computers capable of doing anything but reading punched cards. 

And yet, despite the absolute absence of any digital technology, it was still possible to watch outside broadcasts of football (soccer) matches, in colour, complete with slow motion playback. 

From our perspective, editing was an absolute nightmare. The only way to do it was tape machine to enourmous tape machine, punching clips from the source machine. 

To someone as old as me, this is bittersweet. I love modern tech. I get a buzz from using it. Seeing a live production taking place with video arriving from cameras that are plugged into the same network as the switcher, and then being send for global production over a streaming device, is a thing of wonder - especially when you consider that it's probably a thousand times cheaper than back in 1974. But I miss the old stuff, which still seems familiar. (I hasten to add that I was at school in 1974 - not working in broadcast TV!)

Enjoy the video below. Meanwhile, if you're in the South East of England and would like to get hands-on with the very latest in live production and streaming technology, come to RedShark Connect in London on 28th March. (Details in the link) 

How the BBC used to broadcast football matches in 1974

David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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