We do all those awkward jobs that no-one else wants to do, knows how to do, or has the equipment to do.

156 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001

Tel:- 021 423 7927    Fax:- 086 505 2854   Cel:- 083 708 7387   email:-

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                             Cnr Kloof and Hof Streets, Gardens.
                              G P S  11o 55" 54' S    18o 24" 16' E

TIM ATKINSON - A Lifetime of Innovation.

(The following has been taken from an article that appeared in Screen Africa during 2011)
As someone who has worked since 1965 in the fields of audio, video, lighting, projection, production and servicing the electronic needs of production companies, Tim Atkinson says he got into the audio-visual (AV) industry by accident. “At school I had tinkered with electronics, at the University of Cape Town [while completing a BSc Electrical Engineering (Light Current) Degree] I did stage sound for concerts and recorded artists (Folk Records), so I just went on from one thing to another.”
“In those days there were recording studios that made ads and programmes for SABC Radio; and there were 35mm and 16mm film makers, but there was no structured AV industry as such “.

Atkinson’s introduction to South Africa in the 1970s of the Electrosonic multi-screen and multi-projector slide-tape system was revolutionary. “It brought what the French called 'Audio-Visuelle' to South Africa.
The concept of two slide projectors with automated dissolve and change triggered by silent control pulses on the associated soundtrack meant that slide shows now had the fluidity of 16mm movies, without the associated production costs and delays. This opened up a whole new dimension in business to business (B2B) communication at that time.
“Electrosonic multi-screen technology advanced the concept by combining many
pairs of slide projectors to form giant images on large screens, and controlling
all of them by silent signals on an associated, (often multi-channel) sound track.
This was the start of true multimedia presentations.
In association with Johann Kruger and Multivisio, we launched almost every new car in that decade.”

In 1978 Atkinson launched the first commercial colour TV studio in Cape Town.
“We got into TV/video because while slide/tape shows were doing a great job of assisting our clients to communicate B2B, it was time-consuming to make copies, and expensive to mount repeat shows. Ideally, if the slide/tape show could be converted to videotape, we could make lots of copies quickly and easily and our clients could show their presentations using video cassette recorders and TV sets. Once we had acquired TV production equipment we realised that we could do much, much more.”

There is a whole section of history missing here.

Together with Alan Joy (now contributing editor for Screen Africa), Selwyn Pogrund and others, we started the Cape Town Chapter of the ITVA and an annual videotape competition for non-broadcast producers. The video tape competition and awards ceremony later became the Artes Awards
“Our TV facilities were expanded to include video tape duplication, and a mobile multi-camera capture and edit system. Quanta Graphics and Text was added, and when BetacamSP became available we were the first facility in Cape Town to install a full 3-machine component edit suite. Not long after that we installed the first ADO in Cape Town and also the first Ultimatte4.
A high point was the 1989 production of Atkinson’s company show reel Much ADO about nothing. It won several NTVA awards and was picked up by two of his international suppliers as an example of what could be done with their technology.
 Another highlight was providing editing facilities to the European Broadcasting Union TV stations at the time of Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990.

A few years later Atkinson sold his broadcast TV facility and ended up with a number of U-Matic shuttle-search recorders and monitors that had been off-line edit suites. “I discovered that the film industry used these machines for video-take-off, whereby a tiny video camera was placed in the film camera's viewfinder, and what the camera saw was recorded on the U-matic tape for instant playback. It wasn’t long before we had several systems running. The film industry was in an explosive growth phase at that time in Cape Town. We developed better, lighter and faster VTO systems and also diversified into location sound recording equipment.”

There is a  whole bit of history missing here.
The Audio/Video/Digital revolution. CD/DVD/Websites. Telestream and “The Picture Moving Company”

Formally recognised as an expert in the AV field, Atkinson has been called on to testify in a number of high profile court cases in South Africa, where he has had to examine audio and video tape recordings to find inconsistencies ,or to verify their authenticity and originality. “My mother always said I should have been a .lawyer and perhaps she was right,” he says.

Commenting on the evolution of technology since the 1960s, Atkinson says: “It is more than just a technological analogue/digital change. The power has moved from the engineers in white coats, to the new kid on the block with a crazy new concept like YouTube.”

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