Since its inception nearly 16 years ago, the Time Tailor has kept up with the ever changing world of broadcast television, and continues to be the only solution for both off line editing and real-time video time reduction.

Content creators use the Time Tailor to reduce program run times to fit syndication requirements and to generate additional revenue by creating additional ad spots. Advertising agencies use it to trim down commercials that are too long to fit prescribed ad breaks.

The story of the Time Tailor begins with the Audio/Video Delay, a product that Prime Image originally created for censoring offensive program material in other countries. The Audio/Video Delay was designed with a front panel knob that actively controlled the amount of delay in frames. As the knob was rotated clockwise, the delay would increase one frame at-a-time and the video through the delay would appear to slow down as frames were being repeated. As the knob was rotated counter-clockwise, the delay would decrease and video would appear to speed up as frames were being dropped.

While giving a product demo in 1995 at NAB, Prime Image's founder took notice of this phenomenon and had an idea. Upon return from the show, the engineering team discussed building a variable delay system to speed up a video program, effectively shortening its duration thus creating extra time for a new advertising spot.

The Time Machine In The News

ABC News



CNN News

Patents
By June 1995, the first Time Machine was produced. In 2002 it was rebranded as the Time Tailor.

This first version was quite crude by today's standards, but over the following months the ideas and methods were refined to produce Prime Image's "intelligent micro-editing" process which has since been awarded five US patents.  

Time Reduction Process
To describe the process in its simplest terms; the Time Tailor analyzes both the video and audio programs and drops segments of video and audio which contain identical or "like" information to that of the neighboring segment. This method is unlike anything available in the market today.  By design, this process does not affect the pitch of the audio.  

Other methods of time reduction work by playing a pre-recorded program from a tape machine faster than normal speed. That method has the adverse effect of altering the audio's pitch and requires pitch-correction technology to prevent people from sounding like chipmunks. The innovative approach to using a variable delay to process the video and audio in real-time, made the Time Tailor the first product in history to allow time reduction on live programs.



Closed Captioning
One issue that the early Time Tailor addressed, that other methods of time reduction ignored, was closed-captions. In the United States, the captions were transmitted by inserting two characters into each video frame. If the time reduction process drops a frame having caption information, then the received caption will be missing two characters. Prime Image solved this problem by time shifting the characters around any frames that are dropped. This made "the Time Machine" the first complete solution that maintains the integrity of closed-captions during time reduction.

HDTV
After the success of the Time Tailor, in 1998 the engineering team set out to design a new digital version of the Time Tailor. This new version was designed to support the upcoming HDTV formats and all of the various ancillary data that would emerge. The digital version of the Time Tailor was released in late 1999 along with an audio-only version for radio broadcasters.  It initially supported standard definition audio/video in both digital and analog formats.  Since its release, it has been updated to support HD-1080i, HD-720p, CEA-708 digital closed-captions, 16 channels of embedded audio, and numerous other features.

Blue Chip Customer List
The Time Tailor has a blue chip list of customers including leading post production houses, independent television station groups, major broadcast networks and cable networks.  

Content creators use the Time Tailor to reduce program run times to fit syndication requirements and to generate additional revenue by creating additional ad spots. Advertising agencies use it to trim down commercials that are too long to fit prescribed ad breaks.


Chris Gifford
Designer of the Time Tailor and Audio/Video Delay
Chief Hardware Architect
Prime Image Inc.