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FR80 Microfilm Recorder
10 January 1975
User Note 1
ACL will take delivery of an Information International Inc FR80 microfilm recorder in the Spring of 1975. The existing SD4020 microfilm recorder at the Laboratory will gradually be phased out during1975 with the current plotting load being transferred to the FR80. It is expected that this will be completed no later than the end of 1975 and preferably earlier.
The exact delivery date of the FR80 is uncertain at the moment. It is unlikely to arrive before the end of February 1975, but should arrive before 1 April, although it is possible that one or two major peripherals will not be delivered until May.
There are some essential software changes that need to be made before any service can be offered. The current aim is to start a guaranteed service some time in the second quarter of 1975.
The FR80 is the most powerful recorder currently available. There should be a considerable improvement in the quality of output and there will he a number of additional facilities which should be of great value to the majority of our users.
This User Note describes the hardware of the FR80. Full details of the software that can be used will be given as it becomes available.
The FR80 machine has been in operational use since 1969. However, a considerable number of enhancements have been added in the last few years and a number of options that will be available on the ACL model will be relatively untried. In particular, only two sites other than ACL, have the colour recording capability.
Basically, the FR80 consists of a high-speed computer that accepts aud buffers digital graphical information provided on magnetic tape. This data is processed and displayed as either vectors or alphanumeric characters on a high-precision cathode ray tube. An interchangeable camera system allows the information displayed on the tube to be recorded on a variety of different cameras. The configuration available at ACL will be:
- III15 Computer with 16K words of 18-bit memory
- Hodel 8013 250K word fixed-head disc
- ASR33 teletype
- Model 1017/7 7-track magnetic tape drive, 37.5 ins/sec capable of reading and writing at 556 and 800 bpi
- Model 1019/9 9-track magnetic tape drive, 60K char/sec (37.5 ins/sec) capable of reading and writing at 1600 bpi.
- Precision Light Source cathode ray tube with 'white' phosphor for colour recording
- Vector generator
- Character generator
- Model 8017 dual character generator feature
- Model 90]4 high-speed page print feature
- Model 8051 256-intensity level recording feature
- CRT monitor display
- Model 8020 combined 16/35 mm pin-registered camera with Model 8029 colour-recording feature
- Model 8021 16 mm pin-registered black-and-white camera
- Model 8060 hardcopy camera (
- Model 8032 105 mm microfiche camera
- Film Processor
- Model 5010 film processor for negative or full reversal process1ng of 16 mm, 35 mm and microfiche
The model numbers given above are from III's standard catalogue. The microfiche camera is being loaned to ACL for a year. At the end of that period, the aim is to purchase the camera if sufficient demand for microfiche has arisen to warrant its retention.
The III15 cmnputer is derived from the DEC PDPI5 to which it has a strong resemblance. Apart from the IOT (Input-Output Transfer) instructions, its order code is almost identical. In fact, earlier FR80's used PDP15 computers. The core store of the III15 can be used to store background information to be output to a number of frames. This is equivalent to a software 'forms flash'. As the background information is being produced by the same process as the other information, accurate registration between the two will be obtained.
The disc on the III15 will be used mainly for storing the set of programs and fonts required to drive the various cameras.
3. DISPLAY CHARACTERISTICS
3.1 Precision Light Source
The FR80 uses a precision cathode ray tube which is optically flat and has a 3.3 in square plotting area. This is divided into a raster of 16384 points in each direction. The basic drawing commands are:
- Vector drawing: lines can be drawn between any two raster positions on the plotting area at anyone of eight line widths. Four different vector drawing rates are available with the slowest giving the greatest precision.
- Point plotting: points can be plotted at any raster position.
- Character drawing: characters can be displayed at any raster position. Instead of a hard-wired character set, the character forms are stored in the III15 core store in a compact form. The standard character generator cycle steals the compacted character representation from core, interprets and displays the character. Up to 256 characters are available at anyone time and these can be displayed at 64 different character sizes. For the standard fonts, which are defined on a 10 #215; 14 grid, the height varies from 12 to 277 raster positions.
The form of the output can be varied by the following parameters:
- Spot size: one of eight spot sizes can be defined for subsequent point, character and vector drawing. The maximum spot size is about 20 raster positions.
- Intensity: one of eight different intensities can be defined for all subsequent points, characters and vectors. This is the standard FR80 option (ACL will have an optional feature allowing 256 different intensities). The actual intensities are relative to a base value which can be set up by the operator.
- Rotation: characters can be rotated by multiples of 45 degrees.
3.2 Dual Character Generator
The standard hardware for character drawing requires the character to be made up of lines in a limited number of directions. Horizontal and vertical lines can be used together with lines at three different angles between the vertical and 45 degrees. The dual character generator changes the set of possible directions to allow better quality character fonts to be used.
3.3 High-Speed Page Print Facility
The standard FR80 character generator draws characters one at a time. The High-Speed Page Print Facility allows a complete string of characters to be drawn by the character generator before interrupting the III15. Using this feature, it is possible to draw characters at a rate of 40,000 per sec. If this facility is used, the characters are drawn equally-spaced (sometimes called mono-spaced). If proportionately-spaced characters are required, these must be drawn one at a time.
This feature also provides the variable vector drawing speed. Full screen vectors can be specified as taking 1, 2, 4 or 8 millisecs. By using a small spot size and the slowest drawing speed, high quality textual output can be produced.
3.4 256-Intensity Levels
This option allows lines, points and characters to be drawn at one of 256 different intensities. The difference between each intensity level and its neighbour is not linear. However, it is possible to choose 64 intensity levels (out of the 256) which have equal intervals between them. Fuller details will be given after the FR80 has been installed and tests have been made.
Unlike the SD4020, only one camera can be used at a time on the FR80. To ensure accurate mounting, when the camera is in position it is securely bolted to the cathode ray tube. For this reason and because of the physical size of some of the cameras, the aim will be to keep camera-changing to a minimum.
One big advantage of the FR80 is that accurate abutting of frames will be possible on 16 mm, 35 mm and hardcopy.
4.2 Combined 16/35 Camera
The Model 8020 is a 35 mm camera with a sprocketed pin-registered movement. It is possible to replace the standard film movement with a 16 mm one. However, as the lens is not changed, the frame area for the 16 mm is a much smaller part of the plotting area on the tube face.
The FR80 to be installed at ACL will have the colour recording facility. Instead of the standard blue phosphor (P11) tube, the machine will be equipped with a white phosphor (P24) tube, which has a larger spectral range. Black-and-white output can still be produced but with a slight degradation in resolution (about 10%). Colour output is produced using a filter system which is incorporated into the combined 16/35 camera. This consists of three filters (CYAN, MAGENTA and YELLOW) which can be inserted in the light path from the tube to the film. The filter system is built into the camera itself. The user can specify that more than one filter appears in the light path. Consequently, the primary colours can be generated by the combination of two filters.
By defining different intensities and line overstrikes, it is possible to produce a large range of different colours.
Pin-registered 16mm Camera
As well as the combined camera, the FR80 will have a pin-registered 16 mm camera for high quality output. The frame area on this camera is equivalent to a larger part of the plotting area than is available on the combined camera. Consequently, higher resolution output can be produced using this camera.
4.4 Hardcopy Camera
The hardcopy camera on the FR80 is capable of taking roll paper up to 12 ins wide. A vacuum inside the camera positions the paper accurately so that abutting of consecutive frames is possible. It is likely that all lines will have to be drawn at least twice to obtain a good image on the paper. Consequently, it is likely that hardcopy will take longer to produce on the FR80 than the alternative forms of output.
4.5 Microfiche Camera
The 105 mm microfiche camera normally records in columns. However, the row format can be used but this will increase the recording time and decrease the positioning accuracy. Output is generated at either 42X or 48X. It is possible to produce over 400 frames on a single microfiche. It is likely that special programs will be available on both the 360/ 195, and 1906A for outputting large quantities of textual information to microfiche.
5. FILM PROCESSING
The III Model 5010 film processor produces good quality negative or full reversal processed film (16, 35 and 105 mm). The standard film magazines for the FR80 cameras fit directly on to the processor so that there is a minimum amount of delay before processing can start. The speed of processing is about 15 feet per min.
Hardcopy will be processed using our existing Bell and Howell processor.
A small colour film processor is being purchased to allow single frame and short film sequences to be processed locally. Large quantities of output will be processed externally.