B & R VIDEO PRODUCTIONS have been successfully marketing an ever increasing range of quality video films for several years. Progress in technical ability and equipment has brought tremendous improvements in the quality of our films, particularly those produced since Volume 11. So much so that we have withdrawn several of our earlier volumes from general sale. .
Colour film in the 8mm format generally came on the market in 1957 albeit Kodachrome 1 at 8ASA! With the advent of Kodachrome 25 in the early 1960’s quality improved considerably and this gave amateur cameramen 11 years to cover the end of British Railways steam. With good cameras such as Bolex, Eumig and Bell & Howell a satisfactory result could be obtained of the passing scene and our policy has been to use the best we can find to bring to you the history of the steam railway from those years. We have been able to locate earlier scenes on black & white film and some of our productions have also used 16mm format with an even better quality of re-production. All this said, to-day’s quality of video cameras was not around in the glorious days of the steam railway and the majority of cine film of this subject was taken by enthusiasts who wished to record the passing of the steam scene. Without them, so many long forgotten branches and types of locomotive, unusual workings etc., would have been lost forever in the moving image.
Our policy in making a video programme is simple. We must have enough film material for a one hour programme on the subject of the title. Obvious?? Well it is not always as simple as that. The question we ask is, do we have sufficient good or reasonable film for the project, for we will not willingly use dark film as some producers do. Recent critics of some videos, (not ours!), have remarked on this facet of those films. Having selected our film for the programme we master each view individually for colour correction (where film has faded when not Kodak !) even when not quite correctly exposed originally. This allows us to produce a programme without those annoying splices or orange flashes or manufacturers code holes, another point some producers seem not to worry about. Another fact about using archive film is that dust and small scratches can be on the original material. We do clean the film before mastering and scratches on the sides of film are removed in most cases. We have seen videos made with all these above faults included complete with “hairs” sticking in the projector gate. We do try our best to avoid these mistakes.
The films in this catalogue are usually one hour long of pure archive material, no padding out with modern day scenes, to give you the scenes of yesteryear. Once transported back in time we leave you there for an hour! The film often includes a few views of the passing scene on the railway, railwaymen at work, station architecture, loco close-ups and servicing to add to your enjoyment and ‘‘feel’’ for that period of time.
The sound track is added as authentically as possible, in a lot of cases recorded at the same time as the film was shot, Volume 30 for instance shows how this was done in one view! We endeavour to get details correct, station announcements, cylinder cocks, whistles, safety valves, slipping engines, to name a few of the sounds we include on our sound tracks. Much better than the sound of a cine-projector! Or even original sounds not dubbed anywhere near accurate. The commentaries are, we hope, informative but not intrusive on the main sound track and have been researched in depth for correctness of fact and maybe to also give ‘‘food for thought’’. Our videos of mainly BR steam are a joy to watch and we sincerely hope you enjoy our products and that there is a video of your interests herein. If not, there probably will be later, keep watching the adverts! and the reviews.