Monday, February 16, 2015

Robin Adams

Robin Adams, who was a mainstay of BBC TV News engineering, has died aged 69. He joined when news was still running out of Alexandra Palace, and became part of the project team equipping new studios in "The Spur" of Television Centre, ahead of a move which took place one night in 1969. One colleague recalls his early enthusiasm "I remember once having to persuade him not to take perfectly serviceable equipment apart just for the fun of it !".

Contacts he made during that move led to more innovation and trials. He worked on improving"Chromakey" or Colour Separation Overlay - the "green screen" technology used then to put entertaining backgrounds behind newsreaders, and the mainstay of many film techniques to this day. The first generation set-up delivered rather unsteady edges, which gave much of the game away, as hairlines flickered; by moving to a system which recognised "excess hue" (i.e. the green) and then hue suppression, it worked much better - as long as newsreaders avoided green ties, etc.

Robin left the BBC in 1990, and went on to work for the newsroom computer system, Basys, and Drake Electronics, which specialist in the intercoms that kept tv news on the air.


  1. Back in the 70s Robin was not working on "green screen technology" as the only colour choice then was blue - or yellow if you inverted the keying signal. So everywhere you mention green, read blue!


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