Magic in the Air, produced in the 1950’s, takes a deeper look at the process of television transmission including the technique and technology that still informs broadcasting in the 21st century.
As the sold out, big game is about to begin, you think to yourself, “If I only had a ticket.”
Thanks to the miracle of technology, those days are over.
You can now recline in your favorite chair at home and let the game come to you.
From large, steel encased video cameras on the sideline of the football field, through cables stretching out to the mobile unit, the signal is relayed to the main television transmitter.
Back in the studio, broadcast production involves heavy lighting, multiple cameras, and a director standing by to pick which shot to use when.
Of course, footage filmed in advance might be directly inserted into the broadcast, projected into the television camera to give continuity while performers may be preparing for their next live scene.
The television director’s job is to maintain the visual fluidity of the narrative, selecting the most effective angle at any moment.
Like film, a television picture is made up a singular images that flash before the eye so quickly it creates the illusion of motion.
Each television camera housed a unique bulb called an iconoscope with plate, called a mosaic, built within it.
Made of mica, thousand of microscopic cells absorb the image that shines through the camera lens, creating an arrangement of dark and light charges corresponding to the contrasts of the image.
Scanned alternately in odd then even rows at a rate of about 30 frames per second, each image transmits as a pulse which antenna spread out across the region pickup and send to the home television’s receiver.
The television’s kinescope controls the stream of electrons, reproducing alternating rows of light in rapid fire to recreate the original image.
The promise of television is its power to bring us the best of radio, cinema, and stage while allowing the viewer to stay home and drink himself into oblivion while being comprehensively amused.
That is until the wife gets home.