Skip to content


British Movietone
Cutting Copy
Dope Sheet
Music Cue Sheet


The Australian Broadcasting Commission was an arm of the Australian Government, responsible for the operation of a Radio network and in the mid 1950s a television network.  The first two stations to open were ABV2 in Melbourne in and ABN2 in Sydney in 1956.
Link: ABC

For Terry Gallacher’s articles on the ABC click here.

British Movietone News

British Movietonews was part of a world-wide newsreel organisation founded by Twentieth Century Fox Film Co. in America.  In other countries the newsreel was known as Fox-Movietonews.  In the United Kingdom, the company was owned jointly by Twentieth Century Fox and The Daily Mail newspaper.  They started producing the sound newsreel in 1929.
Link: Movietone

For Terry Gallacher’s articles on British Movietone News click here.

Cutting Copy

Before computer editing, it was necessary when editing a picture to obtain a cutting copy or a work print from the original negative.  Because of the excessive handling of the film, it was not possible to edit the original negative.  (or course there were exceptions where a production might have to edit the negative e.g. the newsreels).

The negative would enter the laboratory for developing.  Immediately afterwards, a print would be made.  This could be a “one-light” print. That is to say, the grading of the whole reel of negative would be for a single printing exposure throughout the roll.  If a director was unsure about some of the exposures, they could order a graded print in which by grading each scene, the best quality print would emerge.  Sometimes, to save money, a director could order a graded scene within a roll of negative.

Upon completion of the production, after the picture is agreed and all the re-recording had been completed, the cut version, consisting of the edited cutting copy is handed back to the laboratory where skilled workers “match” the scenes in the cutting copy with the original negative.  This is achieved by matching the “edge numbers” which have been printed onto the cutting copy (and all subsequent prints) enabling each scenes to be matched exactly.
Link: Cutting copy

Dope Sheet

In feature film production, a complete record of each shot and its length is made during production.  This would be a form of camera sheet.  It would show which takes had been printed and, of course, record the amount of stock used.

A feature film, of course, is shot from an existing script and continuity sheet, so that the shots are already described before shooting.

In the case of news and documentary, there is a different situation and different requirements.

News dope sheets record takes in the order in which they are shot.  The big difference is that they are rarely written up during shooting.  The cameraman is too busy shooting to worry about a written record, but he would have to complete one as soon as possible after shooting.  This would be to inform the editorial and editing departments what they had to work with.  The news dope sheet would record the date and location of the shooting.
If he had a journalist with him, he could leave it to them.

Documentary camera sheets are more detailed and, usually, written up immediately after each shot is taken.  It would record the footage showing at the back of the camera, so that the change of shot would be shown at a point on the counter measured from the start.  Re-takes would be entered in the same way.  A few words would describe each shot.  Some documentary makers would only print certain scenes for working on, but I always printed everything.

With video shooting, there is still a requirement to record the running length of scenes, it still makes it easier to find them when editing.


GTV9 is the station identification of the television station in Melbourne originated by General Television Corporation.  This station commenced broadcasting for the 1956 Olympics which started in November of that year.  Subsequently they commenced regular daily broadcasts on January 19th, 1957.
Link: GTV

For Terry Gallacher’s articles on GTV9 click here.


The Moviola is one of the oldest pieces of editing equipment and one that is still being used.  It was invented by Mark Serrurier in 1924.  It was adapted from a home movie machine that he had made in 1917.

It is a vertical machine and was preferred by many Hollywood editors even after the introduction of flat-bed varieties of editing machines. Moviolas had reel to reel for both sound and picture.  It was also possible to use the machine, for picture editing, with a small reel of film held in the hand, in line with the path of the film, which entered a film bin after passing through the gate.

Any damage that might be caused to the film by operating this way was unimportant since the editor would have been using a cutting copy or work print.
Link: Moviola

Music Cue Sheet

When a film is completed, it is necessary to record, on paper, details of all the music used, that is, unless the music has been especially scored for that film. (In which case, the author may require details to be forwarded to the Performing Rights Society)

When the music has come from a variety of sources, the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society require to know the following details:

  • The name of the piece of music.
    The name of the Author.
    The name of the Publishing company
    The length of the music used
    The outlet for the film, i.e. Cinema, Television, Commercial Advertising or Public Relations,  and Education etc.
    The territories in which the film is to be shown.

The MCPS represent authors who have registered their music with them

This information is recorded on a Music Cue Sheet which, if necessary, the production company can design and print for themselves.

Producers are strongly advised to seek information concerning charges for music used before attempting to complete a film. In fact, consult a competent music director.

From information provided, the MCPS will set a price for the usage of the music.

The MCPS is an organisation set up with a view to making a profit from their activities.
Link: Mechanical Copyright Protection Society and Performing Rights Society


Newsreels were to be seen in the cinemas of the world from 1910 until 1979. However, even at the turn of the century, individual units, sometimes consisting of only one person, were producing moving pictures in their local area and showing them, edited, on the local cinema.  Some showed the pictures in a make-shift cinema, like a local hall, and charged the audience a few pence who hoped that they might see themselves.  After 1929 there were regular showing of the newsreels, usually twice a week, There was News of the Day, Movietonews, Gaumont British News, Universal, Pathe and Paramount.   Movietonews was both the first sound newsreel and the last . The heyday of the newsreels lasted from the mid 1930s, when specialist newsreel theatres emerged, until the early sixties when television news made them less important for the cinemagoer.
Link: Newsreels

For Terry Gallacher’s articles on Newsreels click here.


The Steenbeck editing machine was favoured by many editors for a variety of reasons.   It was available in both 16mm and 35mm gauges.  It was a flat-bed machine with the basic model having a picture path and one sound path.  Later, a model with a second sound path could be obtained allowing editing of two tracks together.  The film was loaded on to a plate which revolved clockwise and anti-clockwise depending on whether the film was being shown forwards or backwards.

The machine was very kind to original film in that the hard plastic guide rollers caused little or no wear, while the picture gate consisted of a revolving prism. Most other machines were using a picture gate with a claw pull-down which had the potential of damaging the film.

The other advantage was that you could also edit sitting down.
Link: Steenbeck


A company formed by the participation of United Press International and Independent Television News.  UPITN was a global newsgathering organisation providing newsfilm to broadcasters around the world.  The company was formed in June 1967.  At that time, both parties had been working at providing news services for some twelve years.  In time UPI withdrew from the arrangement and, later, the company changed its name to World-Wide Television News (WTN) in 1984.  Subsequently, the company was sold to Associated Press.
Link: UPITN and AP Archive

For Terry Gallacher’s articles on UPITN click here.

%d bloggers like this: