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Broomstick Editing

KPBS Producer Ron Stein (left) with colleagues during TV production.
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Above: KPBS Producer Ron Stein (left) with colleagues during TV production.

The early days of television editing were nothing like it is today. There were no computers to control the tape machines and digital media wasn’t even a dream. All the video was recorded on 2-inch tape equipment that we called Quads. They were huge machines that used air pressure to guide the tape and hissed all the time.

My favorite memory of those days was working with editor, Marc Charon. To perform an edit you would have to place a silent tone on the record machine tape, zero the counter then rewind the tape 5 seconds. Then you would go to the play machine zero it at the edit point then rewind that tape 5 seconds also. The catch is that the machines were not close enough to sync up. So to make the edit, Marc would stand between the two machines and hit play on one and use a broomstick to push the button on the other. If the edit was within a half of second of the intended place you were doing well.

Needless to say editing is much more user friendly today and thankfully results in beautiful, seamless productions for the viewer.

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