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  #1  
Old 06-23-2010, 08:34 AM
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Questions about General Electric PE-15 & PE-25 IO colour cameras

G'day all.

As we know from the 1950s to the mid 1960s the RCA TK-41 camera was the main colour camera used in colour television studios. However General Electric made their own TK-41 type IO colour cameras, the first one being the PE-15 and the later model the PE-25. A couple of pictures of the PE-15 used at WRGB-TV can be viewed here:
http://www.nolaneveritt.com/broadcasting101.ws/ge5.jpg
http://www.nolaneveritt.com/broadcas.../gecamera5.jpg

I am very curious about these cameras as I am hard pushed to find any pics and info on them.

I was wondering if any of you know how many of these cameras were made, how many still exist, how many other TV stations used these cameras besides WRGB-TV and which shows used these cameras?

Apparently a PE-15 is reported to have survived according this camera survey http://www.eyesofageneration.com/Survey.php and is in the hands of collector Martin Perry.

Anyways any info on these cameras would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:13 AM
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It does seem strange that GE would have their own camera line when they were affiliated with RCA and shared the same building ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GE_Building#History

But in the fifties there was little foreign competition so domestic manufacturers had broad product lines.

I just found some Fifties GE metal logos on some boilers in a the basement of a building that was to be demolished. Thought "must save those brand logos from the Art Deco metal covers while I'm here"
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File Type: jpg GE 002.jpg (105.6 KB, 26 views)
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:43 PM
W.B. W.B. is offline
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Let's also not forget, GE up to the early 1980's owned WRGB. So yes, GE equipment would rule. (I presume PE-27 monochrome and PE-24A/B color film chains in the period up to the mid-'60's, along with PE-250/350/400 studio and PE-240/245 film cameras afterwards, would have also been seen at WRGB's studios in those days.)
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.B. View Post
(I presume PE-27 monochrome and PE-24A/B color film chains in the period up to the mid-'60's, along with PE-250/350/400 studio and PE-240/245 film cameras afterwards, would have also been seen at WRGB's studios in those days.)
Very little sales for these [resulting in large losses] unless they were merely transmogrified RCA products ?

Reminds me of when RCA, GE, Honeywell took a shot at making computers !
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewVista View Post
It does seem strange that GE would have their own camera line when they were affiliated with RCA and shared the same building ?
GE was not "affiliated with" RCA. RCA was formed to take on the radio patents from a number of other companies including GE. David Sarnoff and the US government arranged this in such a way that the parent companies no longer had any control over the operation of RCA. This is why there was some irony in GE eventually buying RCA (or parts of it).
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_tv_nut View Post
This is why there was some irony in GE eventually buying RCA (or parts of it).
An ironic convoluted plot.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:37 PM
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I believe I read on another forum sometime back the informed opinion that the PE-15 may have had thermal issues and required a lot of tweaking to keep it lined up. That would make sense if that high placement of the lens turret on the front reflects mounting of the IO's high in the camera, perhaps over sweep or preamp electronics.

It seems that very few of them were sold, in spite of a potential market with CBS, ABC and their O&O stations. Instead, those nets delayed and rolled out color in a big way with plumbicon cameras like the Norelco PC60.

There were TK-40/41 clones from Japan (NHK) to the UK to Soviet Russia, and that's fascinating. I've been checking Eyes of a Generation's site to see if they'll post pix of Martin Perry's PE-15, but so far, nothing.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:01 PM
John Hafer John Hafer is offline
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It was interesting was that I grew up in Syracuse New York back in the 1950s' and 1960's and our TV Guide also had listings for WRGB-TV. If they had GE color cameras, they must not have used them! They never posted any local color programs during the 50's and early 60's. Only Syracuse and Binghamton stations appeared to have local color film cameras and would broadcast local color film programs. No central NY station appeared to have live color cameras back then. Stations listed in the TV-Guide included all upstate NY stations.

Attached is some infromation on the GE live color cameras (pre-PE-250). The GE ad with the WRGB camera is from May 1958, the other ad for the PE-25 and PE-24 is from April 1965. The ad for KRLD is from Nov 1968 but it shows GE PE-15 or PE-25 cameras. Finally, the technical information on the GE Studio Color Camera PE-15A is from a book "TV and Film Production Data Book by Ernest M. Pittaro c. 1959.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg GE Color Camera001.jpg (119.5 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg GE Color Camera002.jpg (31.5 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg GE Color Camera003.jpg (96.3 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg GE Color Camera004.jpg (94.1 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg GE Color Camera005.jpg (34.1 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg GE Color Camera006.jpg (82.4 KB, 36 views)
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2010, 06:05 PM
John Hafer John Hafer is offline
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One more picture that goes with the technical information pictures above
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File Type: jpg GE Color Camera007.jpg (32.4 KB, 30 views)
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2010, 06:31 PM
W.B. W.B. is offline
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I meant to ask: Didn't GE also have a 3-vidicon color film chain camera/slide scanner in the late '50's (as a competitor to RCA's TK-26) that preceded the 4-vidicon PE-24-A/B of 1963-64, and if so what would have been the name/number? Ed Reitan's site seemed to suggest that CBS Television City in Hollywood had a 3-V GE film chain after they started going full color in the mid-'60's. Unless this was a typo on Reitan's part.

In addition, I read some literature that suggests that GE's 1966 PE-240 chain was likewise designated as PE-240-A/B; which variation would've had the round edges on the camera head, and which would've had the straight edges?
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:49 PM
John Hafer John Hafer is offline
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Hey W.B. your above questions have bugged me for years and I never could find the exact answers.

I have attached GE ads of:
PE-24A from 1964
PE-240 early model (Round edges)
PE-240 later model (square edges)
PE-245 (Harris replacement for GE)
TF-100 (Harris last color film camera generation)

Finally a GE PF-7A color film scanner (1958)

As far as I can tell from looking at all my ads, it seems that GE started with the square edge PE-24 and PE-24A, then went to the round edges with the introduction of the PE-240, but then later switched back to square edges for later model PE-240 and then Harris PE-245 cameras.

I also have pictures of the CBS broadcast center in NYC showing GE color film cameras with the round edges and I suspect CBS bought these for their fall 1965 color broadcast startup. I am thinking these were PE-240 cameras.

Finally regarding an early GE 3V camera, my info only shows that GE made a color film scanner (starting in 1958) instead of a color film camera (see attached photo). I am thinking there was no 3V camera.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg GE Old.jpg (97.1 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg GE PE-24A.jpg (92.8 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg GE PE-240(1).jpg (72.4 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg GE PE-240(2).jpg (68.4 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Harris PE-245.jpg (79.8 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg Harris TF-100.jpg (99.9 KB, 31 views)
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2010, 08:27 PM
W.B. W.B. is offline
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That makes both of us bothered by this unanswered question.

As for the PE-245: It was actually the last film chain/slide scanner developed and manufactured by GE, in 1970-71, and - like the live PE-400 color studio camera - carried over to the changeover in 1972-73 to Harris/Gates.

But I also noticed, in the 1958 setup, a PF-8-B slide scanner, a PF-9-C film scanner pickup - and a PE-12-C "color scanner channel." Which sounds more byzantine, frankly, than the PE-24-A/B and all that came after.

It would seem, therefore, that Reitan's reference to GE 3V chains at CBS Television City post-1965 ("CBS Television City used GE Film Chains [3V] during this era") was a typo and that he probably meant 4V. Unless they actually had the 1958 PF-7-A/PF-8-B/PF-9-C/PE-12-C setup. Yet at CBS Broadcast Center in New York, yes, it would be early PE-240. Because of the way the doors were arranged at the bottom part of the PE-240 vs. on the PE-24.

I've also seen GE ads (likewise in Broadcasting and Broadcast Engineering) that suggest that ABC's New York studios (and an outpost in Union City, NJ where some film showings originated to get around taxes on film showings in New York) used the PE-24's starting 1964.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:14 PM
John Hafer John Hafer is offline
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W.B. - somewhere I have a GE ad for their PE-240 color film camera that says (in the ad) that this is the only color film camera "used by 3 of the 4 US television networks". I assume they are referring to ABC, CBS, and PBS, (then known as NET). For obvious reason, NBC did not use the camera.

As far as CBS ever using that GE PF-7 color film scanner system, I wonder is GE ever sold or even made any of them! I never heard of any ever being used. I have an old GE ad from the late 1950's that shows Syracuse television station WSYR-TV ch. 3. using just about everything GE made, B&W cameras, monitors, film islands, etc, in otherwords, a total GE station. Yet, they ended up getting a RCA TK-26 color film camera around that time or in the early 60's. Go figure!
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hafer View Post
Finally a GE PF-7A color film scanner (1958)

Finally regarding an early GE 3V camera, my info only shows that GE made a color film scanner (starting in 1958) instead of a color film camera (see attached photo). I am thinking there was no 3V camera.
Wow, all this technical innovation and yet a failure to capitalize on it with any market penetration/leadership.

The PF-7A is a stunning example-(was it left to RankCintel -UK -to cash in on this superior telecine technology?)

General Electric: Too big/diverse for their own good
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:11 AM
John Hafer John Hafer is offline
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GE - "Too big/diverse for their own good"

I suspect that back in 1958, there was still little demand for color broadcast equipment, and that the PF-7A color scanner system was simply too complex and costly for it to be sucessful, being that it was both (I assume) an electronic and mechanical system.
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