Markle Associates Video

Jim Edgar in 1958This image shows Jim Edgar, Markle's founder, in 1958. At the time he was obviously thinking about the on-going introduction of BUT railcars, the amalgamation of the GNR(B) into the Ulster Transport Authority and the possibility of having chips with his tea. The photograph was taken by Elizabeth Edgar, Jim's mother and the person he clearly inherited his photographic ability from. These days it is Sue Edgar who keeps him in on the rails.

Markle Associates Video really owes its existence to Jonathan Allen's decision to sell his 8 mm cine camera and projector to Jim Edgar in 1974. It was certainly good value, but the cost of such things at a time when earnings were low was a real strain. The swingeing price, £10.00, and the extraordinary cost of film (£3.00 per minute, or £4.00 for sound at a time when Jim earned £20.00 per week) meant that little use could be made of the new medium. Although basically a stills photographer, Jim took the odd film with various cameras, moving into sound cine in 1987 and video in 1989. The step into video was not quite as dramatic as it might have seemed, as video cameras had been trialled several times between 1986 and 1989, but it was only the arrival of CCD cameras and 8 mm video tape that the new medium really became practical. By 1995 Markle was using Hi8 tape, and we went digital as soon as 3CCD cameras appeared in the shops in 1999. Now we use high definition widescreen cameras with CMOS imaging chips.

Written material and still photographs began to emerge from Jim Edgar's publishing powerhouse at Markle, East Lothian in 1993.  The idea of producing Markle videos for the public emerged during a meeting between Jim Edgar, Norman Wallace and John McCracken. The meeting, held in 1996 in the bar at the Hilden Brewery, near Lisburn, County Antrim, did not arrive at any conclusion that can be remembered by those attending, but it was a positive start. The headquarters of Markle having moved from East Lothian to Belfast and then to Worksop, it was from the Nottinghamshire town that the first video appeared, only 4 brief years after that momentous meeting, in January 2000.

That first video, "Irish Sugar Beet Archive" had taken 9 months to edit, whereas more recent productions take about 3 months. This is due to greater familiarity with the editing computer, which has recently been upgraded again to allow for DVD production and in-house duplication.

Thanks are due to the many contributors to Markle Videos including, Jonathan Allen, David Craig, Paul Davis, Linda Edgar, John Farrell, Sydney Glover, Colin Holliday, Mark Kelly, Macha Film Studios, S. C. Somerville, Dan Steely and Richard Wall.

At the end of 2007, Markle moved back to Scotland. The new base at Ayton in Berwickshire is only a few miles from the Markle level crossing on the East Coast Main Line.

Pictured above is Jim Edgar creating another masterpiece, ably assisted by companion Katy, who is helping by sitting on all the keys on the keyboard at once.


MARKLE Q&A - Answers by Jim Edgar

 

Q. Why does my computer ask me to choose a mail application when I try to order a DVD?

A. Because you have not set up a mail application to work with website links. Either you can choose an application now or just simply send us an email to marklejim {at] aol.com, replacing out the {at] bit with @, and making sure there are no spaces. In your email please indicate which DVD(s) you are interested in.

 

Q. Why is it called Markle?

A. Markle is the name of an AHB level crossing on the East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh and Berwick-on-Tweed. The business originated in a house beside that level crossing.

 

Q. Do you make your own music?

A. Yes. Initially we bought the rights to music, but now we make it ourselves using Acid Music software.

 

Q. Why do the DVDs cost so much?

A. The business has not been able to make a profit yet (after 7 years!). Irish and French Railway videos sell in very small quantities, which makes the cost of each one very high in relation to British or US ones.

 

Q. Why do you not do cab ride videos?

A. Someone else does those. To make a cab ride video you can stay in the dry, there is no wind noise, and you can do it in a few days. Ours take weeks, and we get wet, but we see things you could never see from a cab.

 

Q. I am planning a trip to Ireland, do you have any tips as to where to stay?

A. No. But some of the places we have stayed and the number of times we have stayed are:-

Belfast - Chimney Corner Hotel (not near a station but on a bus route) 11 times,

Cork - Ibis Hotel (not near a station, but fairly close to North Esk and Little Island) twice (sadly currently closed), - lately we used the Commons on the Old Mallow Road twice, good but not near a station (yet!)

Dublin - Ibis Hotel (beside Red Cow tramstop serving Connolly and Heuston) 9 times,

Templemore - Templemore Arms Hotel (stiff walk from station, not many trains stop) 12 times

Limerick Junction - The Bit and Bridle once

Mayo - Forestview B&B Balla (near a closed station!) twice.

Plus several other places we will not mention (e.g. a certain guest house at Kings Cross).

 

Q. Can we have a video on Sulzers/ the Harlandic locos/ magnesite trains to Ballinacourty/ the Ardee branch etc.?

A. Sadly no. We do not have the material. OK, we saw them, but we took stills of them and not moving pictures. Film and video of these things exist, but the owners would need to let me use them. Please ask anyone who has material to let somebody have it as otherwise it tends to get dumped.

 

Q. Are you Jack Scott?

A. No.

 

Q. Are you Jonathan Allen?

A. No.

 

Q. Are you Aubrey Dale?

A. Certainly not.

 

Q. Are you the Jim Edgar who was the squash champion?

A. No.

 

Q. Are you the Jim Edgar who was a two-term Governor of Illinois?

A. No

 

Q. Are you the Jim Edgar who writes the books about cats?

A. No.

 

Q. Did you really take that photo in the book "Rail Runabout - NIR" on 9 September 1967?

A. Yes. Your point is what???

 

Q. Can we have videos in high definition TV?

A. Not at present. Markle videos are now shot in widescreen high definition, but we have no way of burning it on disc. We will need to wait until these systems become widely available.

 

Q. I sometimes get starburst effects when the driver of a train has the lights on - can I get rid of this?

A. Unfortunately this is an artefact created by the chips used by the camera maker (Mr Sony please note). The latest high-intensity lights now used on Irish railways make this more noticeable - though if you look back it has been happening for years with all sorts of Sony equipment. We now have a CMOS chip camera and we are trying to set things up to reduce the starburst effect. It is less noticeable on sunny days - but how often do we get those in Knockcroghery?

 

Q. Why is your web site so cranky?

A. Because we make videos, not web pages. If we made any money we might buy a better one, but we don't, so we just have to muddle along. There are no frames to allow it to be read on PDAs, and also we cannot work out how to do them. Each page is laboriously uploaded one at a time as we use AOL and we are not willing to pay more to somebody else to host it. If you have got as far as this page it cannot be too bad (man in the B&B in Boyle please note).

 

Q. Can we follow you on Twitter or Facebook?

A. No. However, you can write, email or telephone.

 

Q. Can Markle Videos be played on US/ Canada/ Japan/ Mexico DVD players.

A. We do not guarantee it, but usually they can. Markle videos are not region coded, so you do not need a multi-region player to play them. You need a DVD player that plays PAL standard DVDs. Check on the set up screen of your DVD. If all else fails, consult the handbook. There may be some jumping of the image which is unavoidable. We can usually supply VHS tapes for these markets.

 

Q. Why do you not do books as well?

A. Good question.

 

Q. Why don't you take credit card orders over the telephone.

A. We used to, but we were forced to change to a different credit card provider who does not offer this service. Sorry.

 

Q. How can I reach you to ask a different question?

A. Write or phone using the details below or send an e-mail using the link on the home page.

 

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Click the page you wish to see from the table below.

Markle Home Page

Irish Railway Review Nos 9 to 11

 Irish Rail Archive Vols. 5 to 8 

  Irish Railway Review Nos 5 to 8

Irish Rail Archive Vols 1 to 4

Order Form and Other Sellers

Irish Railway Review Nos 1 to 4

Northern Ireland Railways DVDs

Products

 French Railway DVDs

British Railway DVD

About us, Q&A

London Underground Book

Problems with videos? Tech stuff 


If you wish to contact Markle Associates Video:

Send us an email to the address on the Markle Home Page, making it clear please in the message title that you are responding from this web page, or write to:

Markle Associates,
7 Welltower Park,
Ayton,
Berwickshire, Scotland,
TD14 5RR
Telephone: 0189 07 81991