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Cameraman tales: Anon – Salisbury

Our anonymous cameraman was first of all a freelance cameraman based in the west country and working for UPIN.  When UDI was declared in Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe) in November 1965, he was taken on staff and posted to Salisbury (now Harare) with an Auricon Sound camera and an Arriflex “silent” camera.

He was set up there with accommodation and a car.  When needed, he was to find his own sound man locally where there was a sizeable film unit.

He was assigned to travel north to Lusaka, capital of Zambia, to do an interview with President Kenneth Kaunda.

He flew north, shot the interview and then shipped it to London from Lusaka.

The film was viewed before editing back at Denham.  There was a problem with some fogging on the film and I was asked if I could explain it.  This was to be able to tell the cameraman what the trouble might be so that he could get it fixed.

I screened the film with some of the editors.  After a while, a fogging occurred, it was in the shape of a semi circle encroaching from the left and remaining and then, suddenly, disappearing.

We realised that he was filming with the sun behind him and at a high angle.  Then the penny dropped.

The cameraman was taking his eye away from the viewfinder allowing the bright light to go back down the viewfinder and reflecting on to the film.

Why was he taking his eye away from the viewfinder ?

The cynical group viewing the material started to put forward ideas as to why he should be doing so.

One suggested that something was crawling up his left leg.

Another that he had got cramp in his neck.

The third man put forward the notion that he was checking on the sound equipment to see that he was still getting a good signal.   If so, why was he doing that, what was the soundman doing ?

Altogether: He did not have a soundman !!!.

Later, it was found that he had claimed on his expenses for a fee, an air fare, hotel accommodation and food for a soundman.

Dick Clark subsequently sent him a message “The fogging is due to you removing your eye from the viewfinder with the sun breathing down your neck”.

The fogging problem was never seen again.

© Terence Gallacher and, 2013.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For more articles in the Cameraman tales series click here.

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