Sianel Pedwar Cymru - Channel Four Wales. S4C is the Welsh 'Channel 4' and were the only channel to produce a local equivilent of the schools programmes. Responsible for this service was Aled Wyn Phillips - Presentation Controller at S4C. He said: "The production criteria for the imagery was to remain within the Channel 4/ITV brand wherever possible (imagery/music etc...), but to clearly show that the service was broadcast on S4C." Aled was involved in the commissioning of the animation.

Two variants of the animation were created for the 14th September 1987 launch. The first was the main "ITV" sequence and the second was the "S4C" sequence. The first was for English language networked programmes and the second was used for S4C opt-outs of network and into local programming.

Images 1 - 4: ITV Schools 3D Holding Device and clock with S4C logo bottom right of caption bar during English language Channel Four networked programmes.



Images 1 - 4: S4C Schools 3D Holding Device and clock without S4C logo bottom right of caption bar during Welsh language regional opt-out programmes.



S4C made modifications to the master ITV Schools on Channel 4 "3D Holding Device" to remove the reference to Channel 4 (the "4" logo). Due to the fact that the "4" logo was part of the 3D scene, S4C used the ITV Schools on Channel 4 animation but masked the "4" logo. To achieve this they adopted to overlay the S4C logo.

Aled Wyn Phillips - Presentation Controller, comments: "We took the 1 inch masters (Sony 'C' format) to a Cardiff based facility company called Stylus. They adapted the work and produced new S4C versions." Stylus did not create the animations. They did what is known in the industry as Rotoscoping - computer frame painting - to modify the Channel 4 version. Bare in mind that this would have been a fairly expensive process due to the memory requirements of a PAL video frame versus actual system memory! The rotoscoping was done for time/cost. Rendering a seperate version with the S4C logo within the caption bar was time expensive.

Images 1 - 4: ITV Schools on Channel 4 original "rotomotion" animation.



Images 1 & 4: ITV Schools on S4C standard look
Images 2 - 3: Bottom right by S4C logo is a faint transition line where the S4C logo masked the Channel 4 logo. This would have been "painted" on during post-production.



Image 1: S4C Logo Mask
Image 2: Channel 4 logo just visible under the mask. The mask slightly covers the white chamfered segment tube.
Image 3: Notice part of the mask obscuring the white chamfered segment tube.
Image 4: Slightly neater as the "4" logo has been passed over.



Images 1 - 4: ITV Schools on Channel 4 original clock animation.



Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: Electric Image/Stylus and music by James Aldenham
Sequences: 1x 1 minute opening loop, 1x 6 minute (max) holding loop, 1x 1 minute countdown clock and 1x 10 second to 4 minute closing loop.
Running: September 1987 - June 1993

S4C's main schools schedule has always consisted of Channel 4 programmes. S4C did not have an automated transmission system like Channel 4 had. Instead, all VTRs were run manually according to the instruction of the Shift Presentation Controller who would follow a detailed running order. To create the running order required S4C's Planning Department to liaise with Channel 4 for advanced scheduling information. Decisions on where the local opt-out programmes should be broadcast were then made.

The usual criteria was to broadcast these programmes when Channel 4 would be repeating some of their programmes. The Presentation Department, which Aled Wyn Phillips was responsible for during this period, would then calculate how many minutes and seconds of the holding device would be needed between each programme (up to six minutes).

The tape, which had the rotating 3D logo/leading to the clock, would then be back-timed to ensure it ended in the exactly the same position every time. Appropriate programmes captions were keyed on live from S4C's Control Room/MCR. However, Channel 4 could often make amendments on the day to their schedules, "We could see this via a system called Line 21 which was basically a device which allowed us to see their detailed schedules on-line," said Aled.

Images 1 - 4: The typical S4C opt-out running order - Credits/End caption > 3D Holding Device > 3D Clock > Production logo.



Images 1 - 4: The typical Channel 4 (on S4C) opt-in running order (as above).



The brand properties include Dragons, Logo, Colours, Typography and Musical Signature. Research has illustrated the success of the on-air brand properties originally devised by Lambie-Nairn @ The Brand Union and introduced in 1993 as part of a long-term branding proposition, based on the traditional symbol of Wales.

The identity takes the red dragon seen on the Welsh National Flag and transforms it to communicate the values of a modern, vibrant channel - one that is proud to proclaim its distinctively Welsh character. Everyday inanimate objects are brought to life on-screen "though the magic of television" to create a living, breathing, contemporary symbol that excites, surprises and entertains. The dragon now embodies the energy and personality of S4C and has been a valued investment to the mission "Welsh with passion".

They have been designed to enhance S4C's relationship with its audience; supporting the programme schedule strategy through emphasis of its inclusiveness to all ages, class and region, Welsh and English speakers alike. The S4C logo typeface from the station's start-up (in 1982) until 1995 is Bodoni EF Bold Condensed.

Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: Splash (Cardiff-based facility house) and music by Neil White
Sequences: 1x 10 minute (max) ball sequence & 1x 15 seconds closing junction (either Welsh or English)
Running: September 1993 - June 1999


The bouncing balls would enter from different sides of the screen to form a clock number position. The last few seconds would see the Nesa text fade and clock mechanism wind into a red dragon.

Welsh Clock Junction (1993)
Images 1 - 4: Nesa (Next) variant with Welsh programme title.



Welsh Clock Junction (1995)
Images 1 - 4: Nesa (Next) variant without programme title and new S4C logo.



English Clock Junction (1993)
Images 1 - 4: Next variant with English programme title.



English Clock Junction (1995)
Images 1 - 4: Next variant without programme title and new S4C logo.



S4C Schools followed the exact sequence as Channel 4 Schools. Remember, S4C is the Welsh Channel 4. This meant that S4C could opt in and out of Channel 4's continuity. During schools TV broadcasts S4C would apply their own branding between regional and networked progammes. It didn't include teachers' notes slides.

The images below show a networked Channel 4 programme slide (i.e. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) followed by S4C opting in to show regional content. Often these opt-ins could be quite abrupt.

Opt-In Sequence (1993)
Image 1: Channel 4 Schools English-speaking teachers' information slide
Images 2 - 3: S4C Welsh programme opt-in dragon countdown clock
Image 4: BBC Cymru for S4C (The BBC produced many of S4C's schools programmes)



Opt-In Sequence (1993)
Image 1: Channel 4 Schools English-speaking teachers' information slide
Image 2: S4C English programme opt-in dragon countdown clock
Image 3: Slightly out of sync with Channel 4 reveals a few frames of the fading out Channel 4 Schools countdown
Image 4: Programme starts (no pre-programme information slide)



Close Down (1995)
Images 1 - 3: Close downs at 12:00. These are from the Welsh version of the close down sequence. This would be used if the last programme was Welsh.
Images 4 - 6: English variant of the above except that the last programme was in English.



With the advent of widescreen television and a need to update the idenity, a 3D tiled imagery over a carousel of Welsh imagery was introduced. Like the "bouncing ball" idenity, the sequence is designed to loop for up to ten minutes according to individual junction requirements.

Programme titles are keyed onto the bottom left (next to the S4C logo) where the screen is tinted slightly. The last few frames (before cutting to actual programmes) reveals a Welsh Dragon which forms part of the S4C brand idenity. Also within the ident is the inclusion of the S4C website - www.s4c.co.uk.

Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: Ocean Digital (Cardiff-based facility house) and music by John Rea (www.johnreamusic.co.uk)
Sequences: 1x 10 minute (max) looped sequence
Running: September 1999 - 2007




S4C underwent a corporate revamp in 2007. At the same time their schools TV ident - the dragon - was also laid to rest. The schools TV dragon ident served viewers from 1993 to 2007. It was replaced with a simple yet hypnotising sequence featuring lines.

The five lines followed the ebb and flow of the musical accompaniment. The loop occurs every 70 seconds. Programme titles were keyed onto a white box that also displayed both Welsh and English text (Nesa, Next). Although Channel 4 retired their schools TV service, S4C kept the service going and still do to this day. Long may that continue. Gives all us oldies a bit of schools TV nostalgia.

Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: Proud Creative and music by Simon Pyke @ Freefarm (www.freefarm.co.uk)
Sequences: 1x 10 minute (max) looped sequence
Running: 2007 - Present



Clean images without S4C branding