Saturday, June 11, 2011

Test Card F Prototype

One of my favourite websites is Mikey Bennett’s Vintage Technology page. I love looking at all the vintage television sets Mikey has lovingly restored back to full working order. If your old Bush has lost its colour or your horizontal hold is ruining your enjoyment of your Rank then Mikey’s your man.

Mikey on an experimental 1969 3-D television

A few years back Rory Clark created a very entertaining DVD to demonstrate all the sets in the South West England Vintage Television Museum collection that Mikey curates. The DVD featured a range of test cards and tuning signals from the very old up to the present day accompanied by a selection of tones and music. Although it has given sterling service since then, Rory wanted to create an updated and expanded DVD for Mikey.

One of the cards Rory wanted to include this time was a prototype Test Card F featuring a rather different picture in place of Carol Hersee. Here’s the original:

String vests have never photographed better

Unfortunately the surviving scan of the card wouldn’t really show off Mikey's television sets to best effect as it has faded quite considerably – the grey linearity squares had a distinctly reddish cast and the green castellations in the reference generator area had almost gone black. Therefore Rory asked me if I could recreate the card.

To do this, I used Inkscape as I only draw items in Flash now if it’s completely unavoidable. This is what I came up with in Inkscape:

She’s gone. Was it something I said?

The hardest job when recreating the card was doing the hand lettering on the caption. I did experiment to see if I could get away with using Benguiat Condensed, but it simply didn’t look close enough. In the end, the lettering took as long as the whole of the rest of the card.

It’s interesting to see the differences between this card and Test Card F. A good place to go to find out what's missing is Alan Pemberton’s Pembers’ Ponderings website. He has two clickable Test Card Fs which will tell you exactly what each part of the card does.

I can't wait to see how Rory “distresses” the my Inkscape drawing to make it look like a real transparency on the finished DVD.

2 comments:

PJ said...

Goes to show how over the years little improvements have been made to the final version (and later versions) of this card. We all remember Carole and her clown with a noughts and crosses board against a subtle blue background.

I agree there are many forums and sites describing what each part of the card is and its purpose. Much nicer to look at than boring SMPTE colour bars!

Long live the memories of TCF.

Dave Jeffery said...

@PJ I think I should have made it clearer in the blog post that the prototypes of Test Card F, of which this was one, were never broadcast.

Anyway, thanks for commenting PJ!