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Posts from the ‘ABC’ Category

ABV2 Film Department – A Centre of Excellence 1958

While researching articles for this website, I read an account, on the internet, of the early period at the ABC at Ripponlea. The article was written by an Australian film maker, John B. Murray.  In his article The Naked Bunyip Essay about Australian filmmaking he refers to the early 1960s and making the tv series Alcheringa with Frank and Betty Few, in 1962.   In the article he states, “There was no film department as such at Ripponlea, except that which facilitated the gathering of news”. Read more

The Sound of Silence

Until 1959, ABV2 at Ripponlea did not have a complete Dubbing Theatre.  Major Productions emanating from Melbourne would have to be taken to Sydney for re-recording.

Eventually, the fully fitted theatre was installed.  It had all we wanted.  Rock and Roll magnetic film recording with multiple tracks.  It was the latest thing. Read more

Colleagues: John Davies – Movietone

John Davies was a British Movietone News cameraman from 1955 to 1960.  He was born in Deri, South Wales in 1915.

His family later moved to London. His first job, in 1930, was with the G.P.O. as a telegram delivery boy. He later joined Kay Film Laboratories in the negative developing and film drying room. In those days, Kays shared the building at 22, Soho Square with British Movietone News.

Read more

A Message To Garcia

I have described before our daily morning meetings at the studios at Ripponlea with ABV2 (click here for the article). The committee consisted of heads of films departments with Chairman John Cameron, Studio Manager, in charge.

On this day, the panel consisted of Kip Porteous, Head of Film, Les Hendy, Chief cameraman, Ewart Wade, Librarian, a Graphics Artist whose name I have forgotten and myself. Read more

Programme Distribution in Australia: 1960

I was approached by the Head of Presentation at the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Ron White, he said that the prospect of sending copies of programmes to all the States was going to prove a real problem.  At that time, programmes broadcast live were telerecorded and the only other interested party was either Melbourne or Sydney, depending where the original recording was made.  The other States had not yet started broadcasting.

The problem would arise when Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, the BAPH states, came on the scene.  It would mean that the last station in the line could wait six weeks for a programme. Read more

Ceres – Mount Elephant ABV2

I got more and more involved in Film Directing at the Australian Broadcasting Commission.  For the Rural Department, I made a film on a converted aircraft.  It was called “Ceres” after the Greek God of Harvest.  The aircraft was to be used as a crop duster.  Once again Frank Few was the cameraman.

We went off to the works that were working on the machine.  It was, naturally next to an airfield. Read more

Cameraman tales: Peter Purvis: Coca Cola

Like a number of film cameramen who made a name for themselves in Australian Television, Peter Purvis started off as a press photographer.  He worked for the “Herald-Sun” group.

He told me the story of how he would go on location, shoot his pictures and then take them back to the office.  There he would go into the dark room where he would develop his negative and then print out his “proofs”. Read more

“Malting Grains” ABV2

In the late 1950s the Rural Department of the Australian Broadcasting Commission were famous for “acquiring” subjects that other departments might be considered more suitable to handle. Unfortunately, the other departments did not even think of the subjects.  In order to make sure that the Rural Department made the programme, they would introduce an agricultural aspect to the subject.  Hence, when they wanted to make a film about the distillation of Whisky and Gin, they called the programme “Malting Grains”.  Now who could argue with that ? Read more

The Animated Bird ABV2

One day at ABV2, I was looking at some rushes of a film that Russell Hurley had directed with a man from the Bristol-based B.B.C. Wild Life Unit.  He had come to make a film about Australian birds.

It was obvious that the cameraman would be former Disney man Frank Few (click on the link for my article on Frank).  Frank had developed a method of shooting birds without scaring them off.  He would find his bird, start shooting and then with the camera “on” switch locked into position, he would attempt to retire away from the bird so as not to scare it. Read more

On to directing at ABV2 1958

On arrival at the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Ripponlea, as Acting Senior Film Editor, I found that the editors at ABV2. were not required to participate in the planning of any filming that they would have to edit.  They complained to me that they were having to “rescue” too much material.  One producer had belonged to a 8-mm cine club while most of the others had been radio producers. Read more