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National Museum of Photography, Film and Television visit

April 17, 2011

The visit to the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, started off with a curator lead tour of the museum this took me into areas that are not normally accessible to the public. This tour was given by John Logie Baird’s grandson. It was very informative and interesting, I got to see some very old and valuable photos in the print archive which also had some old 3D photos taken in the early 1900’s.

Next the tour was taken in to the large media archive this contained the first TV ever built and sold by Baird. The picture one could see was only very small the size of an iPhone 4 display, lacking in colour and it flickered a lot. There was also lots of old broadcast equipment, cameras from the second world war, a piano that played sound affects, B format 1″, Sony HD real to real tape machine, the Frost Digital Neeve sound desk. There was also the helicopter camera used for the Charles and Diana Royal Wedding in 1981.

In the small archive room there was a Sega mega drive, BBC micro computer, Nintendo Gameboy and surprisingly these are all object that I had when I was a child (now I feel old).

In the main exhibition I saw a 2” quad machine, VHS player (that my parents had), old OB cameras, BSB squarial, VHS and betamax machines. There was a good example of the transmission process, showing dsat, dcable, dtt and the Internet. There were lots of kids enjoying playing in the green screen studio, production gallery, drama and news studio.

BBC local radio Leeds have a Bradford office where they do some shows and inserts from.

There was a video showing key broadcast media events
• Man landing on the moon
• Charles and Diana wedding
• Live aid
• The Queens Coronation
• Brighton siege
• Hillsborough disaster
• Twin towers coming down
• Princess Diana funeral

One event that wasn’t in there was J F Kennedy’s assassination.

In the TV section there is a small exhibition, on 3D TV, containing a demo of sky 3D using passive glasses. The room has been designed in anaglyph. It explained the difference between passive, active, no glasses and anaglyph viewing technology, plus the 3D achievements by the inventor of television John Logie Baird.

They have an exhibition about 3D cinema showing the history and also the projection room for the 3d IMAX cinema. You could see some old 70mm IMAX film stock (not digital) which is much larger that normal 35mm cinema film because of the IMAX screen size.

The museum is well laid out, interactive and the staff very helpful. I would like to have seen more of the old broadcast equipment (not cameras) like VTR’s (tape machines), film editing and old OB equipment.

Overall I had a lovely day and I got a real sense of broadcast history. it’s a shame I only found out about this museum a few months ago.

Bradford has a reputation for not being nice, but I was surprised, it was clean and tidy. There were nice spring flowers and the city centre old buildings have been cleaned. The people were friendly and helpful, it also helped that it was a pleasant sunny day.

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