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  #1  
Old 12-05-2016, 04:04 PM
April S. April S. is offline
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Automated camera equipment

In the late 1980's while traveling I came across a local TV station (Wichita Falls, Texas) that had a dedicated channel where they had a motorized camera that would scan the faces of several weather gauges (temperature, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure). Of course there was cheesy lounge styled music playing in the background.

I was wondering if this type of setup was something the station would put together or was it something they could purchase as a package. I would appreciate any infomation.
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:22 PM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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I know one or two former station chief engineers. It's very likely they would have cooked this up themselves, even if available commercially. Basic weather instruments would be no problem, and a scan-back-and-forth pivoted camera is an easy-as-pie linkage.

Cheesy lounge styled music, on the other hand...

Chip
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:23 PM
April S. April S. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
I know one or two former station chief engineers. It's very likely they would have cooked this up themselves, even if available commercially. Basic weather instruments would be no problem, and a scan-back-and-forth pivoted camera is an easy-as-pie linkage.

Cheesy lounge styled music, on the other hand...

Chip
Specifically what kind of equipment (1980's era) would I need to recreate this type of setup?
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:29 AM
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dr.ido dr.ido is offline
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A pan tilt mount for a surveillance camera? While they've gotten cheaper and smaller in recent years I remember seeing old ones carrying tube cameras in the 80s and they looked old then.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:23 AM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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If you mean 'brand name with catalog number' I can't help you there. You'd need 70's catalogs, and a hope and prayer of actually finding the item.

If you mean mechanisms, then check out #92 at 507movements.com:

http://507movements.com/mm_092.html

(Do this with a full cup of coffee, because it's an interesting site.)

On #92, imagine the wheel connected to a low-speed electric motor (perhaps variable) and the positioning arm of the camera head attached to the green sliding box. (Note that you don't need the channel the green box slides in. Just the arm between the wheel and the camera handle.) We're assuming the camera is mounted on a standard pan/tilt tripod head, with tilt locked off as needed for framing, and pan not locked off, allowing the camera to pan left/right as driven by the arm.

The hardest part will be sourcing the motor. It seems that two or three RPM would be about right. Maybe a Lego motor with a gearbox. The whole thing could be made by a 7th grader with a Lego Mindstorms kit... without even using the computer part.

There are many, many Google hits for pan/tilt mechanisms, most of which are oriented towards today's miniature, light-weight cameras, or surveillance/videoconference PTZ setups. None of that will likely hold up if you're using a vintage, 40 pound camera.

I have a vintage-looking heavy duty PTZ head set aside in the attic for some forgotten use. To use that, one would have to design a limit-switch setup to constrain the pan arc, and it would be noisier (due to gearmotors) and would wear just in the arc used. The mechanism cited above is a better approach. You could probably throw one together on one trip thru the hardware store, except for the motor.

Keep in mind that the mechanism won't be seen on-camera, just the camera-panning result.

Chip
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:51 PM
WISCOJIM WISCOJIM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by April S. View Post
In the late 1980's while traveling I came across a local TV station (Wichita Falls, Texas) that had a dedicated channel where they had a motorized camera that would scan the faces of several weather gauges (temperature, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure).
There were a lot of motels/hotels I stayed in back in the 1960's-early 1970's that had those setups for their MATV distributions. On either end of the rotation they could insert cards for local advertising and even letterboards for area events.

.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:22 AM
April S. April S. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WISCOJIM View Post
There were a lot of motels/hotels I stayed in back in the 1960's-early 1970's that had those setups for their MATV distributions. On either end of the rotation they could insert cards for local advertising and even letterboards for area events.

.
IIRC in this case it was the local Cable TV company that operated the channel.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:41 AM
April S. April S. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
If you mean 'brand name with catalog number' I can't help you there. You'd need 70's catalogs, and a hope and prayer of actually finding the item.

If you mean mechanisms, then check out #92 at 507movements.com:

http://507movements.com/mm_092.html

(Do this with a full cup of coffee, because it's an interesting site.)

On #92, imagine the wheel connected to a low-speed electric motor (perhaps variable) and the positioning arm of the camera head attached to the green sliding box. (Note that you don't need the channel the green box slides in. Just the arm between the wheel and the camera handle.) We're assuming the camera is mounted on a standard pan/tilt tripod head, with tilt locked off as needed for framing, and pan not locked off, allowing the camera to pan left/right as driven by the arm.

The hardest part will be sourcing the motor. It seems that two or three RPM would be about right. Maybe a Lego motor with a gearbox. The whole thing could be made by a 7th grader with a Lego Mindstorms kit... without even using the computer part.

There are many, many Google hits for pan/tilt mechanisms, most of which are oriented towards today's miniature, light-weight cameras, or surveillance/videoconference PTZ setups. None of that will likely hold up if you're using a vintage, 40 pound camera.

I have a vintage-looking heavy duty PTZ head set aside in the attic for some forgotten use. To use that, one would have to design a limit-switch setup to constrain the pan arc, and it would be noisier (due to gearmotors) and would wear just in the arc used. The mechanism cited above is a better approach. You could probably throw one together on one trip thru the hardware store, except for the motor.

Keep in mind that the mechanism won't be seen on-camera, just the camera-panning result.

Chip
I cannot recall if the channel was broadcast in color or black and white but considering the use would either be a less "fancy" broadcast TV camera?

Any ideas what kind of camera they would use in the late 1980's?

Last edited by April S.; 12-07-2016 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:33 AM
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Our old cable system had the same thing...but it was in the 60's...by late 70's they had modernized to other things.
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  #10  
Old 12-07-2016, 09:42 AM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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They would use the cheapest or oldest one that produced an acceptable signal, and would keep running. Probably an ENG camera that was put out to pasture by the new Ikegami HL-79. The list of things they didn't care about would be huge: don't need viewfinder or remote focus/iris, lens option is negotiable by tweaking setup, image lag would be imperceptible due to slow panning speed and no subject movement (except for the second hand). Lighting could be anything needed for acceptable image. Even a good-for-the-times surveillance camera could do it.

What are you trying to do? If you're trying to replicate the functionality, you can use any camera you deem acceptable. If you're making a museum installation that works, throw a budget out and state what you have available to get started. If you want it to look old, but work with modern signal quality and reliability, you can hack in a current camera to an already-empty shell. (Don't empty out a shell of a working classic camera just for this, though.)

If there was a pre-engineered system for cable TV or motel video distribution systems, then you might fish around wherever old motel owners hang out. Chances of finding a complete unit would be pretty slim, I would think. But you would have your answers, then.

Chip
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2016, 01:39 PM
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Telecruiser Telecruiser is offline
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The ones I remember were on CATV systems. They used a 1" vidicon CCTV camera, usually the cheapest thing they could find. Shibaden comes to mind, but similar cameras were available from Concord, JVC, Panasonic and many others. I saw one that used a $99.95 camera from Olson Electronics. One town I used to visit had such a system, and also a big cockroach problem. Kids used to watch it to see the roaches run around over the weather dials.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2016, 11:40 AM
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I remember seeing the round wheel with cards with a B/W camera on my local access channels in the early 1980's.
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2016, 07:56 PM
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NowhereMan 1966 NowhereMan 1966 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celt View Post
Our old cable system had the same thing...but it was in the 60's...by late 70's they had modernized to other things.
I remember our local cable company had a similar weather setup in the early 1970's and it was in black and white.
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  #14  
Old 12-13-2016, 09:18 PM
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I bought two old TV and Communications [CATV industry] magazines from DRBruin, March and November 1965, and guess what I found in them? Ads from Telemation for their automated weather channel gear!
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File Type: pdf Telemation Weather Channel ads May+Nov 65 .pdf (811.1 KB, 9 views)
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  #15  
Old 12-14-2016, 08:34 AM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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And the inevitable, obligatory facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Texas-Elect...5467375156251/

So it's probably possible to find one and buy it.

Chip
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