Peter Owen – one of the first employees of Quantel and for many years Chairman of IBC Council
gives this year's Lecture "Pixels I have known" covering his career and the wisdom he acquired
In memory of Bill Lovell who tirelessly championed new technologies,
demystifying the science and providing practical understanding to countless people in our industries .
Growing up through the 50s offered so many opportunities to develop engineering skills and with
very little encouragement we would build, invent and learn, leading almost intuitively to a chosen career.
Back then getting a job was relatively easy, prospective employers came looking
but it was also an age of pragmatism and risk taking which created a culture of entrepreneurial engineers
who in later decades were ready to take advantage of the growing demands and expanding markets
in broadcast and all the related industries.
Being one of those would be inventors, and definitely a risk taker who most famously
accepting an invitationto move from an organisation of thousands
to join a small start-up called “Quantel” on its first day,
and it was just when mortgage interest was heading for 15%.
It did raise a few eyebrows not to mention hair – for those who still have it.
Early products solved engineering problems but then as now it was all about the content
where the creative community frustrated by the age of celluloid and glue,
demanded more and more flexible tools to realise their creative ambitions or as many of us thought,
delay making the final decision about the programme!
So at the time that Bill Lovell was guiding the transition from the classic film camera
to digital camera acquisition,at Quantel we were learning the qualities of film
in order to develop a digital film scanner and film recorder.
As the media industries blossomed in a parallel world, events were being created to market the products
to a new and then prosperous industry.
NAB, Montreux and IBC most famously led the way, but through new standards, wider choice,
improvement of communication technology and the unrelenting march of Moores law,
the winds of change blew stronger leading to a democratization the first casualty
of which could be said to be the Montreux television symposium.
The new millennium signalled a time for personal change so moving from being a customer of IBC’s
to being part of the event itself seemed natural.
Talking openly to past competitors was a revelation and being part of an agile organisation,
sometimes risk taking, was fun.
As it approaches its 50th anniversary IBC remains fresh,
and abiding by its mantra of By the Industry for the Industry,
continues to sustain SMPTE and the other partner organisations
of which many of we long time ago inventors, experimenters and entrepreneurs are now Members.
SMPTE UK Section established a lecture in honour of the late Bill Lovell,
recognising his dedication and his enthusiasm for the industry.
Throughout many years of work at the BBC and then at ARRI Media,
Bill tirelessly championed new technologies, demystifying the science
and providing practical understanding to countless camera professionals.
His passion for sharing knowledge and experience was reflected in his being among the first to attend SMPTE UK meetings when it was founded.
With his sudden death in March 2013 we all lost a good friend and good teacher.
Following graduation in 1967 and early experience at EMI Electronics
and the Independent Broadcasting Authority Peter jioned Quantel in 1973.
At Quantel Peter occupied several formal positions involving product design, development,
manufacturing,customer support, and interfacing with the creative and technical communities.
After stepping down from Quantel Peter produced and presented the UK DTI/DCMS sponsored
e-cinema group project“Celluloid or Silicon”
From 2000 until 2015 he chaired the IBC Exhibition and IBC Council an international group
of expert industry practitioners who act as a guiding hand and sounding board for IBC.
Other external activities included supporting industry groups such as the SMPTE, EBU,
UK DTI committees, IEE, Royal Television Society and the BKSTS.
The nearest Tube stations are Covent Garden (Piccadilly line) turn Right on exiting
and walk down the hill through the Market Buildings and then straight into Southampton Street
– cross The Stranddown the stairs and to Savoy Place – Turn left past the Savoy Hotel
(step free – Turn left along The Strand and turn right down Savoy St.)
Embankment (Circle District Northern and Bakerloo lines lines) turn Right as you exit the gate line
to exit on The Embankment – Turn Left and walk along the embankment to Waterloo Bridge
- the IET is on your left.
Holborn Station Central line has limited exit and no entrances until 2017. -
Coming from East change to Piccadilly line one stop to Covent Garden
Coming from West change to Jubilee line (south) at Bond Street
then at Westminster change to District and Circle line one stop to Embankment
Waterloo National Rail and Tube station (Jubilee, Northern and Bakerloo lines)
is just across Waterloo Bridge.At the North end of the bridge there are steps
which take you to The Embankment– Turn right and look right and you will see Savoy Place.
Alternatively walk to the Aldwych and turn Left into Strand and left again into Savoy Street
–which takes you to Savoy Place
There is very limited parking - in Surrey Street to the East of Somerset House / Kings College London.