Productions was started as a marketing tool by Telemation Inc. in the
early 1970s. It started as a single office located in Glenview Illinois,
a suburb of Chicago. In 1978 a second office was opened in Denver
Colorado. Also in 1978, the television equipment manufacturing operation
was sold to Bell & Howell. At that time, Telemation Inc. owned only
the two production facilities and the manufacturing building in Salt
Lake City which was leased to Bell & Howell. In 1979 Telemation
acquired a production facility in Seattle and re-named it Telemation
Productions. In the early 1980s telemation acquired a facility in
Phoenix, AZ also re-naming it Telemation Productions. Also in the early
1980s Telemation Productions added a Distribution Division located in
Chicago which provided duplication and shipping services to advertising
agencies and a mobile division equipped with a television remote truck.
Telemation Productions ownership changed in 1987 and again in 1990 with
the Home Shopping Network buying the company. The Phoenix office and
distribution division were sold in 1989 prior to the acquision by the
Home Shopping Network. The remote truck was sold in 1990. The Seattle
office was closed in 1991, the Chicago office was closed in 1993, and
the Denver office the following year."
Ed Sharpe, Archivist for SMECC
I was the 13th employee hired at Telemation Productions. The Production arm started as an industrial video company/equipment demo studio with a couple of Ampex 7800's and some IVC 1"'s. We also had IVC cameras (guess what company Telemation
distributed) My boss, Scott Kane, talked the company into buying 2 Ampex 1200 and that started the expansion.
At the time, most commercial work was done at WGN and a few other stations. They tended to do 30 second commercials in 30 seconds with 3 cameras. Telemation (along with another company, Editel) did single camera shoots with a lot of editing. We quickly overtook WGN in the videotape production business. I started in the evening shift making 2" dubs and adding local tags to commercials... both of which became extremely profitable.
When we moved from a 15 hz control track and a magic marker to an RA 4000 we thought we were in the big time. By the time I moved to LA in '79 they had added the Seattle and Denver offices, 5 1200's, a VPR 1 and some PC 70's from Western Video.
My recollection is that the Phoenix office was converted from a film facility. They ended up getting a windfall there when the city decided to expand the street in front. The city fathers visited the office to discuss the buyout of the property. They were shocked when they realized the expanded lane will run right through the equipment room, instead of some half-empty warehouse. The company got a lot of money and a new addition on the side street.
Sorry for the long-winded answer. I learned a lot about Capstan and Drum servos there.
Telemation had a number of interesting products. The black and white cameras that they made were very prolific in the cable and educational market. I thought that they did a beautiful job with their design. I remember the simple unit that had a built in sync generator that you could option up to RS-170. The viewfinder was about 5 inches and was an add on to the basic design. The case was different so that you had to buy it as OEM. The little camera cable used about a one inch diameter connector that was unique to Telemation. But it worked and you could make a studio real cheap and compact.
I did not know that they sold the IVC cameras. They were a unique design that did work and were also a pain in the but. We started with two of the 500A's at GTN in Detroit. They had a special red tube and did great on reds.
I do remember Lyle Keyes. Did he start Utah Scientific? He was a great sales person for them. I almost bought a router from him.
Lyle Keyes started Telemation, sometime before Nov of 1965 when I got
into this TV business.
They designed, built, and distributed equipment to the very new cable
TV business. They also were distributors for Ampex 1" pre A VTR's.
As I understand Lyle had worked at GE and had worked with their camera
Utah Scientific was the next business.
Robert Bacon was also involved with business.
The Sheraton Park Hotel was a major venue for TV trade shows, and I can
remember in about 1969 @ a NAEB show standing in the Lobby with Lyle &
Bob and a six pac of Bud (this was emergency rations, in case the
elevators got stuck again)
ChromaIII was his own color camera mainly aimed at GE and IVC to show
he could build a better camera.
In those days as a VTR design engineer, I said "That if it didn't
move Tape, it shouldn't make pictures", so I was not so much into
Bye for now, Bill