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  • Terminology questions – What are these elements called?

  • Ernest Rosado

    December 24, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve been trying to learn the official names of all these graphic elements used in broadcast. The word “chyron” was a revelation to me, still not sure why it’s called that, or why half of people call it a “lower third” instead (I get WHY it’s called a lower third but why do some people use one word vs another?). “Crawl” seemed fairly obvious.

    But the question I have for this post… Is there a name for these elements on the left of the screen?

    First, the “picture in picture” next to the talent’s head. It’s a graphic related to the story they’re talking about. It changes often and provides context for the story. Is there an actual name for this graphic?

    Second, the white bar on the left. It seems to be used to change the aspect ratio of the a-roll in order to facilitate a more pleasing composition between the talent and the aforementioned graphic, almost like a one-sided letterbox. What’s that called?

    Thanks to everyone, hope you have a great holiday.

  • Tim Wilson

    December 25, 2020 at 12:01 am

    “Chyron” is the original name of a company that makes broadcast graphics gear. Among the things produced with such gear is lower thirds, but a lot more besides. Crawls, maps, virtual sets, all that kind of thing.

    Their name is now ChyronHego, and they’ve apparently let the domain lapse, which is insane. But in fact, the name is in wide enough disuse as a corporate service mark that there may be no recovery. I was surprised that a quick Google search for “chyron” returned ONLY the generic name (the synonym for lower third).

    Ironically, I suspect that the people who use “lower third” are old enough to remember a time before Chyron was one of the companies who helped put lower thirds on the air, or at least Chyron being one alternative among many… whereas the people who have no recollection of Chyron as a company are much more apt to use it instead of lower third!

    That’s the one I know most about, partly because it’s ancient history 🤣 so I’ll leave my reply at that. Hopefully some other folks more in tune with the current state of the art can help with the rest!

  • Ernest Rosado

    December 25, 2020 at 2:23 am

    Thank you for the detailed reply! That’s incredibly interesting!

    Incidentally, since my original post this morning I learned the first graphic is called an “Over The Shoulder” or OTS.

    Still didn’t find out what the bar on the edge is called though.

  • Glenn Sakatch

    December 25, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    I grew up with a “Dubner” …about 7 years before I used my first Chyron, so i’ve never actually called the process a Chyron. I’ve always referred to it as a “super” “Super in….Super out” was what I called for when I used to direct the news in the early 90’s.

    The pic in pic …we used to call that a DVE box, also named after the company that branded the device we used to create the effect. DVE has also become a bit of a generic term, but i’m positive the control panel we used, was actually labeled with DVE right on it.

    I’ve heard dve referred to as Digital Video Effect, but it might have been a company name at one point.

    The bar on the side…not sure i’ve ever seen that as a common tool. Sure, double pillarboxes were pretty common when HD first came out, and we had to place SD material into the screen, but that obviously isn’t what is happening here. I have a feeling, it is simply a design element the’ve come up with. Perhaps intended to put a list down the side of the screen.

  • Rich Rubasch

    December 26, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Also Super stands for superimposed…so it is a graphic or other element that is put over another shot. Lower third typically means a name title and is also sometimes called Name Super to be more specific. Could also be called a Keyable Graphic.

  • Tony West

    December 26, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    OMG, Glenn. You are taking me down memory lane with “Dubner”. Hadn’t heard that in years. I used to fly Grass Valley’s DPM 700 “DVE” back in my TD days. As far as that side panel graphic, not sure. Seems to me that “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN popularized it years ago. We have large vertical studio side panels on set that we can put video or graphics into, on the side of the talent. That looks like a more economical version of that set-up to me.

  • Oliver Peters

    December 27, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    I could be mistaken, but I think DVE was always a generic term for “digital video effects.” At first there was the Quantel DPE and the Vital SqueeZoom. These were 2D effects devices. 3D DVE effects came later – like the Ampex ADO, Abekas A53, and GVG Kaleidoscope.

  • Mark Suszko

    December 28, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    There were three main brands of electronic graphics back in the beforetime, but Chyron was the most popular. My experience of it was the Chryron VP-2: Two fonts (they came on eprom chips and had to be installed), six sizes, and eight colors, yee-ha! It had a few tricks you learned over time: those eight colors could be “animated” by sequencing them rapidly – I could create an animated marquee light effect with that, or a tripped-out pulsing color effect.

    Before electronic type on screen, back in my college days, and in the early eighties at my first TV job, they still often used “Title cards”; White letting on black cardboard, or white cards with black lettering, shot with a dedicated camera and luminance- keyed into the video. Our art department would make the art cards for us using hot press type or “Zip-a-tone” rub-on transfer lettering. If you wanted a fancier font than Times New Roman or Arial from the VP-2, and color and other effects, the women in the art department had to hand-make each graphic. Some time later, they got this very expensive machine (at the time) that could electronically make color slides, imagine that!

  • Rich Rubasch

    December 31, 2020 at 1:27 am

    Since we are reminiscing, I need to add that in the early 1990s I ran a Digital FX Composium which competed with the Quantel Paintbox but had a killer DVE built in as well. Paired with a couple of Abekas DDR’s (why they were only 24 seconds is beyond me) we could layer for days with no loss. What an experience. And I edited on one of the very first Avid’s ever sold…serial number 11!

    I still have my AfterEffects 3.5 inch floppy installers for version 2.0.

    Ok, got that off my chest.

    Because my company, Tilt Media, turns 20 years on January 1, 2021. Yup, started Tilt Media in Madison, Wisconsin on January 1, 2001.

    And the Cow has been there every step of the way!

  • Oliver Peters

    December 31, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Woohoo – old timer posts! 😀 Title – cards. Man, I remember those well. The first post house I worked at took this up a notch by creating retail disclaimers on 35mm slides. These were projected into a camera using an aerial image technique. This resulted in nice-looking, small text.

    One of the important things about the Chyron design and font/size options was that they were designed to look good (and readable) in the world of SD interlaced video. For example, roll/crawl speeds were engineered to be smooth at NTSC and PAL rates. No infinite speed choice nor font sizes. Limited serif options. Earlier systems, like 3M’s, produced very DOS-like text (ugly). British developer Aston also made a very nice system. Much nicer font options than Chyron, but less popular in the US.

    Seconded on the DFX! One of its strengths was internal 4:4:4 progressive processing, which resulted in the best blow-ups of that the era. Ahead of its time and a technique briefly adopted by the short-lived Media 100 844X.

    All the best for 2021!

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