Back in the old days of television and video production, before the days of graphic generators and non-linear editing systems, caption cards were used to create any on-screen text.

These caption cards were produced using Letraset, which was a sheet of numbers, letters and symbols  in a single type font in upper and lower case and different sizes. It worked in the same way as a transfer and anyone brave enough with a level eye would rub the characters onto card. There was a choice between black lettering on white card or white lettering on black card. Once keyed onto the television picture electronically, the caption could be coloured into a primitive range of colours.

Producing the caption cards for programmes was a nightmare for so many reasons. There was absolutely no conformity so whilst a pencil line might help get the letters straight horizontally, the spacing between the letters was a complete lottery! It wouldn’t take long for the sheets to run short of letters needed to make up a title, so missing letters would have to be created by butchering others. Also, as the sheets got old, the letters would start to wear and crack causing bits to disappear and yet more creative reconstruction.

Now, we just type!

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