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- To: telecine internet group <telecine at alegria.com>
- Subject: TLC History
- From: "Rob Lingelbach" <rob at sun.alegria.com>
- Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 15:59:30 -0700
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- Organization: Altruistic Intentions, Hollywood, CA
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- Reply-To: Rob Lingelbach <rob at sun.alegria.com>
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Jim Lindelien has written below an outline of the history of the TLC
which serves as a rebuttal of an article in a current magazine. It is
also interesting in its own right as the timeline of TLC development.
--------forwarded from Jim Lindelien (jim at timelogic.com)----
A friend faxed me a copy of Variety's ON PRODUCTION magazine, in which
appears this statement:
"It was Unitel's engineers, Unitel Video-Hollywood president (and
former VP of operations and engineering) Mark Miller reminisces, who
invented the industry-standard Time Logic Controller (TLC), used
throughout telecine bays nationwide."
Mark Miller is a good friend whom I have known over 15 years, and I
can certainly understand the lattitude one occassionally employs in
marketing hype, but I am compelled to acknowledge those who worked
with me on the creation of the TLC system. Certainly, Unitel Video
deserves credit for the insight that the TLC was needed in
post-production, and they are to be praised for agreeing to fund its
original development and allow access to their telecine bays.
However, at no time have their engineers ever worked on its design.
In 1984, I was approached by Newt Bellis, then President of Unitel's
Hollywood division, to seek my assistance in convincing Jack Callaway
to build a few more AVRS telecine editors for Unitel. Jack was very
reluctant to do so, and encouraged me to propose a new system to
Unitel instead. After some discussion with Mark and Newt, I wrote a
proposal outlining in broad strokes what such a system should
minimally do, and Unitel accepted that proposal. Time Logic (my
company) and Unitel created a joint venture to bring these ideas to
prototype stage, with Time Logic responsible for all engineering, and
Unitel for funding.
While Mr. Miller and Steve Bauxbaum (who also routinely takes full
credit for inventing the TLC) contributed useful ideas, I owe the
priciple functionality of the "original TLC" to concepts invented by
Jack Callaway. These included 3:2 pulldown (field-accurate editing),
and the notion of "sync points" that track the relationship of film
footage to tape timecode at disparate frame rates. The TLC packaged
these into a newer user interface with an eye to minimizing
keystrokes, and presenting information on the screen in the most
usable way (and I would hope to be acknowledged for that part of it).
It also eliminated the need for VTR modifications, and dispensed with
the CMX I-squared interface AVRS required since the newer VTRs could
be uniformly controlled via RS-422.
I say "original TLC" because, over the next eleven years, it is all of
you, the community of Colorists, who really "invented" the TLC. I
just absorbed all your critical feedback and excellent suggestions,
and coded them into the software, balancing them so they'd
interoperate in a consistent way. In this sense Unitel's staff are no
more responsible for the TLC than is any of you. I must single out
John Dowdell in particuler, though I am being unfair to a great many
other colorists and telecine engineers to whom I owe a great debt.
To any new manufactures out there: it is easy to succeed in the
telecine marketplace: just listen to the end user and follow-through
(and quote COD).
To properly acknowledge credit where credit is due:
Joe Wolcott (of CIS) freelanced the design of TLC's Rank Slave
Processor Interface to Time Logic. He spent a *tremendous* number of
hours researching all the various Cintel versions then extant, and
created a single interface design that could control any of them
without extensive mods to the Rank.
Gary Adams (of Adams Engineering) was solely responsible for taking an
embarrassing pile of hand drawn chicken-scratching drawings and notes,
and turning them into AutoCAD design documentation, accurate
production fab drawings and schematics, PCB layouts, parts and vendor
databases, an inventory tracking system, etc. Later he re-wrote and
produced an excellent users manual from my original (and pretty terse)
draft. He also troubleshot the designs, and took up the research
where Joe left off as new Cintel designs appeared.
Paul Chapman (then of Unitel) contributed advice on Rank electronics
and signals, and cheerfully fixed Unitel's Rank each time I blew it
up. He also helped test the product and reported bugs accurately
enough to properly track them down. I give Paul credit for
communicating more suggestions from Unitel than anyone else.
I designed the VTR Slave Interfaces, Genlock card, and other host
computer "glue" logic, and wrote all TLC software from 1984-1994; the
original prototype code taking about 13 months.
In later years, Unitel no longer was willing to consider re-investing
some revenue from TLC joint-venture sales into new R&D, and this
created friction between the two companies. At the time I was very
upset about this, but now see it as their obligation to maximize value
to their shareholders. Time Logic negotiated a buyout of the venture
and agreed to pay royalties to Unitel in exchange for full control
over TLC's future development and product rights. Time Logic then
introduced the FLEx film transfer logging protocol.
While I am proud of the TLC's success, it is the FLEx protocol I am
most proud of, because this was solely my effort and has been so
widely adopted. I was frustrated that the SMPTE was taking far too
long to define a formal Transfer List standard that I knew post houses
were demanding, and so just mailed off my own idea to every post house
I could think of, making clear this was what the TLC would support.
(In contrast to SMPTE, V1.0 FLEx took *one day* at the word
processor.) To my great satisfaction, and without much fuss or
support, it began showing up in other products and was integrated into
many post center's processes. It was "good enough" at the right time,
I guess. I took some heat from SMPTE members about the importance of
"standards", and they took some of mine about the importance of
About that time Gary Adams wrote a DbaseII program to read and process
FLEx logs in various useful ways.
After selling the product line to DaVinci in 1994, I wrote the initial
version of the DOS-based TLC2. DaVinci's engineers ported the design
to the internal 8:8:8 version and have been responsible for all
product development since 1994.
For me the TLC was a wild ride for eleven years. I think its fine for
Unitel to take some credit for the TLC, just not all of it, please.
-----end of forwarded message from jim at timelogic.com----
Rob Lingelbach | 2660 Hollyridge Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90068
rob at alegria.com | "I care not much for a man's religion whose dog or
rob at info.com | cat are not the better for it." --Abraham Lincoln
rob at cloister.org KB6CUN http://www.alegria.com
thanks to Frank Sparano and Don Ver Ploeg for support of the
Telecine Internet Group in 1997
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