Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do you remember the 60's? I do.

Over at The Standard' there is a thread about a dam fool article by Deborah Coddington suggesting the DPB should be scraped becuase back before we had it, and just had child support being paid to mothers so they were not penniless when hubby spent his wages on booze ... it was still six o'clock closing then.

I remember the sixties as when my live made a giant step forward and I exchanged my nice but rather hum drum job in a government department for that of joining the newish television. Everything was pretty privative and we made do with what we had to produce what we knew, in my case from around twelve years of being an amateur filmer, should be presented on the single channel. Interesting for myself, I was recently offered my personal file covering those days to save it being sent to the tip two decades after I was made redundant, I noted the comments when I was one of two staff to get a double increment in one year, almost unheard of in the public service. the other guy was senior management and I was down near the bottom.

They were happy days for a single person who could devote his entire time apart from sleep to film and TV. Having camera gear of my own I was able to shoot material as well as edit. When I joined, six weeks after President Kennedy was assasinated TVNZ only had one cameraman, Cyril Townsend, and relied upon a collection of 'stringers' around the country to shoot material. The 'stringer' in Wellington was of course the National Film Unit and I was pleased that my work was mistaken for theirs as they were the top outfit in the country in those days. Funny that becuase they rejected me when I applied for a job there some years earlier ... on reflection of my character and capabilities I'm glad I didn't get the job becuase they would have trained me up in their style rather than how I developed as an amateur paying for my own experience, and then what I quickly learnt editing the work of good, average and poor cameramen from around the world who worked for BCINA ... British Commonwealth I[?] Mews Agency.

Cyril Townsend had been out shooting a story about the Waikato river chain of dams ... The Silver Chain ... was to be the title and I was given the job of stringing it together. Not that much real editing involved becuase film was tight and expensive and not to be wasted the way cameramen did in later years when they start with a 400ft [10min 40 second, roll of film. We started with 100ft rolls :-)
But I do remember organising one rather nice cut ... a tree being felled and falling, CUT, to logs on truck going in the same direction [ Thank you Cyril for that :-) ]. After it ws show the Dominion TV critic praised the editing ... good for a youngster starting out in the business :-) I also had the fun of suggesting and shooting an animated sequence to show the chain of dams. Indeed they were great times for this little lad.

More reflections maybe later ... its my 79th birthday today and I must get ready for lunch with my better half.

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