Tasmanian ACS E-News, March 2015

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AC Mag Issues 53 ~ 64 Editor, Dick Marks OAM.

Issue 53

~ The Land of Blood and Honey, with Dean Semler AM ACS ASC
~ Review of Shadowcatchers, Jonathon Dawson
~ Crawl, Brian Breheny ACS
~ Attachments on The Great Gatsby, Simon Duggan ACS
~ The Burning Man, Garry Phillips ACS

Issue 54

~ Snow White And The Huntsman, Greig Faser
~ Mark Toia, by Dick Marks
~ The Centenary of the Mawson Expedition, Peter Curtis ACS
~ Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, Roger Lanser ACS
~ Beaconsfield, Toby Oliver ACS

Issue 55

~ Stormsurfers, Rob Morton
~ Joanne Donohue-Beckwith, David Eggby ACS
~ The Windon Boys (Part 1), Ron Windon ACS
~ Siggy Ferstl, David Burr ACS & David Gribble ACS
~ The Raven - Danny Ruhlmann ACS
~ The Zen of Bennet, Dion Beebe ACS ASC
~ Emil Novak HSC
~ The Final Move, Chris McHardy

Issue 56

~ The Morals of Shooting Wars, Famines & Disasters, David Brill
~ Ender's Game, Don McAlpine
~ I Am A Girl, Nicola Daley
~ 2013 Accreditiations
~ The Windon Boys, (Part 2), Ron Windon ACS
~ Postcard from the Hood, Phillip M Cross

Issue 57

~ Sweetwater, Brad Shield
~ Love Patrol, Daniel Maddock
~ Breeding in Captivity, Aron Leong
~ Blood Money, Dan MacCarthur
~ A MAsterclass in Budapest, Laszlo Barayai
~ The Pitch, Nicola Daley
~ Miller Sharp-Shooter, Rupert Dalton

Issue 58

~ DOP Iain MacKenzie
~ Everything You Wanted To Know About UAV's, Glen McGarry
~ Goddess, Damien Wyvill ACS
~ 2013 Cinematographer of the Year - Jo Rossiter ACS
~ THe Last Lab, Dominic Case
~ Mark Bliss

Issue 59

~ Rossy Emery ACS
~ Shooting While Beign Shot At, Rob Brown
~ From Great Heights, Mike Dilon AM
~ Cheating Time, Miles Rowland
~ Funding With Pocket Change, Kirsty Stark
~ Rapid TV, Peter Morris & Trent Miller
~ Sony F55, Pieter de Vries ACS

Issue 60

~ Our Greatest Documentary Turns Sixty, Geoff Burton ACS
~ Filming The Country of Lost Children, Geoff Burton ACS
~ Surviving The Deset on Walkabout, Geoff Burton ACS
~ One Night The Moon, Kim Batterham ACS, by Geoff Burton ACS
~ Making Tracks, Mandy Walker ACS ASC, by Geoff Burton ACS
~ Satelitte Boy, Geoffrey Simpson ACS, by Geoff Burton ACS
~ Journey Along Myster Road, Iven Sen, by Geoff Burton ACS & Brian Hannant
~ Love City Jalalabad, George Gittoes, by Aron Burton
~ Encounter, Mike Molley BSC ACS & Stanley Kubricck, by Geoff Burton

Issue 61

~ Wolf Creek 2, Toby Oliver ACS
~ A Life Exposed, Bonnie Elliot
~ Cave Spiders, Joe Shermesh
~ Jeff Darling
~ Hidden Universe 3D, Malcolm Ludgate ACS
~ The Railway Man, Garry Phillips ACS
~ The Encouncer, Michael Edols ACS & Martin Sharp

Issue 62

~ Mr Pip, John Toon NSCZ ACS (Australian Cinematographer of the Year)
~ Blood Pulls A Gun, Jeremy Rouse
~ DOP Pawel Achtil
~ IMAGO Vienna - Theme Director/Cinematographer Collaboration
~ Lost and Found, Joey Bania
~ Duong Dua, Kieran Fowler, by JoAnne Bouzianis Sellick
~ Bronze to Gold
~ The Art of Fous Pulling, David Elmes 1st AC
~ Kingswood Ohio, Anton Syzonov
~ DOP Profile - Matthew Chuang
~ Preserving The Craft, Tim Wood

Issue 63

~ Predestination, Benn Nott ACS
~ Chasing The Light, Geoff Young
~ The Lego Movie, Pablo Plaisted
~ A Monk In A Floating World, Director Chen Kaige, DOP Geoffrey Simpson ACS
~ Felony, Mark Wareham ACS
~The Art of Focus Puling, Matthew Toll
~ Galore, Stefan Duscio

Issue 64

~ Allan Collins ACS
~ NT Awards for Cinematography
~ The Water Diviner, Andrew Lesnie ACS ASC
~ Soul Mates, Dan Freene ACS
~ Ed Goldner
~ Symphony Of The Earth, Dr Jim Fraizer OAM ACS
~ Ukraine Is Not A Brothel, Director Kitty Green, DOP Michael Latham
~ Ignitedigi, DOP - Tom Waugh, Pilot - Chris Fox
~ What's Wrong With Australian Films?, Jason Kent

FROM THE PRESIDENT

‘The Three Wise Monkeys’ Peter Curtis, Ron Johanson and Mike Sampey on a ‘recce’ at the Grand Chancellor. Photo David Wakely ACS.

Hi ACS Tasmania members and welcome to our first edition of Clips for 2015. It’s been a busy start for yours truly and the ACS Tasmania committee, as we gear up to host the ACS National Awards for Cinematography on May 2nd. We’ve been working closely with National President, Ron Johanson and others to ensure we make the most of this opportunity. Tasmanian members will benefit greatly from a number of events built into the weekend Awards program. Here’s an outline of what’s in store.

Southern Light – Expo

We will run an industry equipment Expo at the Grand Chancellor Friday May 1st Noon - 4pm and Saturday May 2nd 9am – 3pm. Confirmed Exhibitors include Panasonic, SONY, VA Digital Hire, Lemac, Fujinon, Canon, ARRI Australia, Panavision, Miller and Ignite Digi (formerly Aerial Inspections). Entry is free.

Running alongside the Expo at the Grand Chancellor will be a number of special presentations.

Friday 1st May Exhibitor presentations

  • 1:00pm – 1.30pm ARRI Australia
  • 1:30pm – 2.00pm. Panasonic
  • 2:10pm – 2:40pm SONY - Latest F Series camera developments.
  • More to confirm in the weeks ahead.

Saturday 2nd May Exhibitor presentations

  • 10.00 -10.45: Lemac NAB Review. Hot off the press, Lemac present video highlights and talk us through the latest technology displayed at NAB in Las Vegas, just a couple of weeks prior to our Expo.
  • 11.00am -12.30 Ray Martin ‘Retrospective’. Ray has a passion for photography and is a TV cameraman’s dream reporter. Ray will present a selection stunning images he’s shot through a lifetime of world travel. He walks us though his career, passion for photography and happy times spent with crews in amazing places.
  • 1.00pm - 3.00pm Pieter DeVries ACS Workshop - Shooting budget doco's, using DSLR technology. Pieter has won an Emmy for his documentary work, as well as numerous ACS awards etc. and is a great teacher to boot.

Government House Reception

The Awards weekend formalities begin of Friday night with a reception at Government House (6-7pm). Her Excellency is throwing open the doors to us, so don't miss this ‘RSVP only’ function.

The drawing room at Government House where ACS members and their guests will enjoy drinks and canapes. Photo David Wakeley ACS

Special Screening / Q&A

Following the Government House reception on Friday night there will be a screening at the State Cinema with our Awards Guest of Honour (yet to be announced) which includes a Q&A session after the screening. ACS members attending the reception will be taken by bus to the Cinema; others can join in there. This is a free event for ACS members but bookings may be required.

2015 ACS National Awards for Cinematography

The Awards themselves will be at MONA on the Saturday night. Tickets are $160 and include an exclusive ferry trip to and from MONA. Pre-dinner drinks canapés and finger food will be served down in the Void area of the Museum itself and then the Awards Ceremony and formal meal will be in the main Eros and Thanatos reception room. The food and wine are always good at MONA and you know it will be a great opportunity to see a glimpse of the ‘best of the best’ Australian Cinematographers have produced in the last 12 months. There are some local members in with a chance to receive awards, plus Mark Dobbin and David Brill will receive their Accreditation certificates and pins. Come and celebrate with Tassie members and other colleagues from all over the country. There is an after-party at Hadley’s Hotel once the ferry returns to Hobart.

The Void - MONA. Photo David Wakeley ACS

Ticketing and RSVP’s

I need to tell you that the Awards tickets are selling like hot-cakes. Over 75 tickets were sold in the first five days after sales went on-line and there are only 200 all up. Don't leave it too long to book your ticket(s). You will be very disappointed if you miss this chance to attend the National Awards here in your own state. Once those tickets are sold there is NOTHING any of us can do to get you in. With the stage, big screens AV rig and cameras etc. the room limit is 200 max. Here is the link to the awards page which contains a link to the bookings site.

Awards info site »

I require emailed RSVP’s to pcurtis@cinematographer.net.au if you wish to attend the Govt House reception, the Pieter de Vries Doco workshop, or the Sunday morning ACS High-Tea at Hadley’s. The PDV workshop will have limited numbers and is open to anyone, so once again – first in best dressed.

So, where to from here?

Well, we are looking for Tas members who can help us set up and run the Expo or assist with the Awards ceremony set up and pack up at MONA.

Michael Sampey will be managing the Expo at the Grand Chancellor and will need a couple of assistants for Friday (8am - 5pm) and/or Saturday (8.30am – 4pm). If you think you can spare Mike some time on either of those days please contact him and let him know mikesampey@hotmail.com.

The Awards at MONA will be bumped in during the day on the Friday (May 1st) and there will be more setting up, tech-checks and rehearsal on Saturday. Volunteers to help with transport, AV and tech set up, table decorations, room layout, lighting rig etc will be much appreciated. There is also a small stage and AV rig that quickly needs to go into ‘The Void’ in MONA on Saturday afternoon, once the Museum closes after 5.

Scene Change is providing most of the AV facilities and Andrew Harcourt is working through the rest with coverage director, Dan Graetz. The ABC and Southern Cross will also be providing some gear. Graham Gates will be stage-managing the whole show, ably assisted by Ruth Hudspeth.

Other things we might need assistance with include - helping usher people at MONA, providing transport from Hadley’s to the ferry wharf and/or MONA for those unable to walk or unable to take the ferry. We may also need someone at hand on Sunday 3rd at Hadley’s for the ACS National AGM.

If you can help with any of this please email me at pcurtis@cinematographer.net.au

Want to see something you shot appear at the awards?

Mike Sampey is currently pulling together a 2-minute ‘welcome’ video clip that will showcase the work of ACS Tas members. It needs to look good, so Hi Def material will get preferential treatment. That said, any amazing, infamous or historic moments you’ve captured on any format could still make the cut. It doesn't have to be all pretty sunsets and stunning Tassie scenery. It can be shot anywhere on the planet, as long as it’s shot by an ACS Tas member. Some gritty, hand-held dramatic moment will be just as valued as any stunning sunset over Cradle Mountain. Mike may well be swamped by material, so please don't be offended if you don't make the final cut. The best way to be included is to be very selective and just send Mike a handful of ‘best of’ shots. He won’t have the time to wade through hours of footage looking for those magic moments. If you have something in mind email Mike mikesampey@hotmail.com and he can sort out file types and formats with you. This video needs to be completed by the end of March - so soonest is best.

We will be sending regular emails out re the Awards and events in the weeks ahead, but be proactive and check the ACS Awards web-page for yourselves from time to time. It will be updated as a priority.

Finally, a big thank-you to our state-based National ACS Awards partners - Scene Change, Cimagery, Business Events Tasmania, Screen Tasmania and Saffire Resort. These organisations are playing a BIG part in making the Awards weekend a great success.

Hope to see you all at the awards and related events.
Peter Curtis ACS

MARK DOBBIN ACS 'LUCKY'

Last year I was lucky enough to travel to Nepal to shoot a story on an eye doctor who goes to remote parts of the country to help the blind to see again. We flew into Kathmandu and immediately continued on a 7- hour road trip into the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. We stayed a night in a small town then at sunrise the next morning we started a what would be a 9-hour trek to a remote village high in the mountains. With a little help from a local guide, we carried in a Canon C300, 4 lenses, tripod, a couple of radio mics, a genus mini-jib and a gear bag. Because the equipment is lighter and smaller, it made it possible for a small crew like us to produce nice pictures in remote areas. The genus mini-jib weighs just 1.58kgs and simply clicks on to the tripod, its mainly used for DSLR’s but it can handle the C300 with some care.
On the trek I started to get to know Dr Ruit, the eye doctor. He and his team travel all over Nepal visiting villages and treating patients with cataracts. He does this in his own time and does not charge anything for his services. He is one of the nicest men I have ever met. He could not do enough to help us with our doco and did not mind if I asked him to do things over and over again.
I think some times we think we are lucky because we get to travel to great locations and shoot beautiful things but it wasn’t the trek into the mountains that I felt lucky for, or the chance to meet and film a lady suddenly see again after years of blindness, or the fresh air or great Nepalese curries, I felt lucky to meet Dr Ruit. Sometimes it’s the people we meet and get to know, that is the great thing about our job.

PETER HARMSEN

After starting my shooting year off as an OB cameraman at the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne, I returned to Victoria at the end of January with Mike Sampey to cover their state titles for Farr40, ‘One-Design’ racing yachts. One-Design racing is true racing, where (in theory) all yachts are equal. Each yacht has identical hulls, rigs and sails and crews must comply with maximum weights. This means skill, tactics and luck is the only difference between teams. The racing is very tight, with plenty of action and most boats taking a turn at the ‘pointy end’ of the 10 race regatta.

I’ve covered plenty of yachting in the past, on the Derwent River, through the Whitsunday Island’s and even half a dozen Sydney – Hobart’s. However, nothing prepared me for the nasty short, sharp chop of Melbourne’s treacherously shallow Port Philip Bay. The wind blew 20 - 30 knots from the south each and every day, which whipped up liquid potholes as deep as a truck - even Mike couldn’t see out of some of them.

We bounced, bumped and bashed our way around the course in a far too small runabout, trying to not only hold the cameras still, but also keep them as dry as possible - which was not very. The great advantage of my lovely new Sony PMW F5 was opting to shoot at high-speed, even while using a long lens. Slowing the action down really enhanced the violent pasting the yachts got, as they were launched straight in to, over, under or out of solid walls of water.

If I can offer a handy bit of money-saving advice to any prospective salty sea-dog shooters, don’t spend hundreds of dollars on fancy wet weather covers with brand names on them. Go in to Spotlight, buy some heavy duty clear plastic (like the stuff you see on dining tables) and experiment a bit. My technique was to make a loose fitting bag like a cone with gaffer tape around the lens hood. That way you can still focus from outside. Then pre-set things on the camera as much as you can, and let the spray fly. Avoid shooting directly into the wind, carry plenty of lens cloth, alcohol wipes and face towels. Your kit will survive just fine, even though you might get a pasting!

Check out Peters Facebook video post here. »

JOHN YOUNG

North West Tasmania cinematographer, John Young, has been a full member of the ACS since 1978. When he joined the society John recalls the criteria for full membership was to have worked in the industry for at least five years, and have a 60-minute documentary under your belt. John met those criteria when he shot a one-hour documentary called 'Voices of the Rivers', a Logie nominated film, which dealt with the proposed flooding of the Gordon River. I first met John in 1988, when I shifted from Hobart to work for the ABC in Northern Tasmania. John was a legend even then and I always enjoyed his enthusiasm for work, his ability to tell a good yarn and his never-ending energy. I was half his age, yet often struggled to keep up with him on a breaking news story. John’s lifetime of cinematography is quite an inspiration. John has been President of the ACS in Tas in years gone by and here he reflects on a lifetime of cinematography, based on the NW coast of Tasmania. -ED

Back in Scotland in the nineteen-fifties, my father, a doctor, was a very good dog-trainer. I was only fifteen at the time, and I helped him to train our family border-collie, Moray, to be able to perform Lassie-style tricks. The Carmyle Cine-Club heard of us, and they wanted to make a standard 8mm movie film, involving the dog. The film was about sheep-stealing, and the capture of the thieves, etc. My father and myself acted in the film, and we roped in friends and real police to take part, too. It was shot using a Paillard-Bolex triple-turret clockwork camera (no zoom-lenses yet!). A commentary, sound track and musical background was added later. There was no sound-stripe on the side of the film in those days either, so we had to use a special projector with a loop-synchroniser in order to screen the film. The fastest film stock you could get back then was 10 ASA, and we thought all our Christmases had come at once when Kodak introduced a 25 ASA emulsion!

It was great training for me, as these blokes knew their stuff! They knew all about movement across the frame, jump-cuts, reversals, incident light, etc., and I learned such a lot from them. I learned how to tell stories with a movie camera, and got to know 'the rules' very quickly. Importantly, it made a very economical 'shooter' out of me, as you have to think before you press the trigger when you are paying for the film-stock yourself! I still pretend that every shot I take is 'live to air', and this attitude keeps me on my toes.

The upshot of it was that the film, 'Canis Sapiens', won its category in the Scottish Amateur Film Festival in 1959. The Rank Organisation was interested in buying the rights to the dog, but my father fell ill, and was unable to proceed. I still have the film on DVD, and it brings back bitter-sweet memories when I view it. It's a bit scratchy, and has the odd jump-cut in it, but I forgive them for that!

When I came to Tassie in 1972, I bought a 16mm Bolex camera with a 400-foot magazine. I approached John Martin at the ABC in Launceston, and told him I had the camera, and could he do with a stringer on the N.W.Coast? He said he would send me 100 feet of film to see if I was any good, but I wouldn't get paid for it! Two days later he asked me to get some progess vision of the construction of the Reeconian Rowing club in East Devonport. I shot 60 feet of film, and could not find anything else to shoot, so I 'phoned John and told him. He went ballistic on the other end because I had not shot the full 100 feet! I thought, "s--t, I've done it before I start!". I wanted to save the other 40 feet for something else. See! Economical shooting! Anyway, the story went to air that night, and I got paid for it, too!

The rest is history, and I ended up working for Auntie, and then TNT-9, WIN, Sky-Channel, etc. Eventually, I went freelance, and produced industrial training films and videos, weddings, funerals, promotional videos, and even one for The Discovery Channel. My nick-name in the industry was 'the human tripod'. I have produced videos for every major industrial company on the N.W. Coast, and had the best of it, before desktop videos began to be made by the companies themselves. Nevertheless I have survived as a freelancer on the NW coast for some 22 years, and still manage to produce DVD's if required, writing my own scripts.

I joined the ACS in 1978. A documentary called ‘Voices of the Rivers’ helped qualify me to be a full member of the society. I filmed it with Phil Lawrey. We spent five days in the middle of winter up the Gordon River aboard a converted fishing-boat, with some of Phil’s ‘colourful’ friends. You can imagine how cold it was at that time of the year. The sun barely gets seen at all, as the riverbanks are so steep. Once the batteries for the ARRI 16BL ran out I switched to a clockwork, triple-turret 16mm Bolex. The film speed was 400ASA, and I rated it at 1200ASA just to get an image by 'cooking' the film in the processing. I was shooting at full aperture nearly all the time, because there was hardly enough light to get a reading on the Weston exposure meter once I’d stepped ashore on the dense river-banks. The colour-correction filter didn’t help, either. We were making portages with the aluminium dinghy we were in, just to get further up-river. When we finished the shoot and returned to Strahan, I couldn't get into the local pub quickly enough to have a wash and a shave! I felt so filthy after spending five days with no power, or decent toilets.

It worked out alright, although the images were a tad 'warm', but air-worthy none-the-less. Some of the other material for the documentary (interviews etc.) was shot in city offices, and this was done using ¾ inch U-matic video tape, and an RCA TK76 three-tube camera. This didn't match too well with the 16mm film, but back then it was the very beginning of video, and I suppose we were forgiven for that.


Looking back, it really was quite good fun. Some of Phil’s hippy friends were quite a laugh. One of them, a girl, was on about not killing animals, etc., and she was a bit 'flumoxed' when I pointed out to her that she was wearing leather boots! Phil also ‘nailed down’ a Hydro worker about all the power being used by Comalco. The man was just doing his job on the riverbank, leveling the ground for the Hydro camp I think. Later, I said I couldn't get my head round the fact that the very boat we worked in for filming this doco was made from aluminium, as was the outboard-motor! You've probably heard similar stories.

I am a bit lame now, but if I need a cameraman I will hire one and direct and edit, if the budget allows. I dare not rob a bank, as I am recognised wherever I go as "that man with the big camera on his shoulder!". I still do transfers of old 8mm film to DVD, and feel as if the wheel has gone full-circle. What began as a hobby became a career, despite having absolutely no formal training, and I have enjoyed every moment. I want my epitaph to read "It's a Wrap!".

TOM WAUGH 'IGNITE DIGI'

At the end of 2014 Aerial Inspections began the transformation to Ignite Digi, our new business name that better reflects the majority of our work, which is in Film/TV rather than the industrial work we had originally intended to get.

Using the MoVI and Steadicam combo for ‘Death or Liberty’ with DOP Ellery Ryan ACS

So far in 2015 we have been interstate every second week. An American Scifi channel drama series, more ABC series and more filming for the Death or Liberty Irish/Australian docu-drama.

Preparing for night UAV flying with a balloon HMI in the background

Back in Tassie, we had a bunch of interesting shoots ranging from for a Chinese reality TV series shot in Sheffield, to a three camera concert shoot for Roar Film, then an aerials and on-ground shoot at the Port Arthur Historic Site and finally some aerials of The Lady Nelson sailing on the Derwent River.

Chris with some of crew from the Chinese reality show

Chris has started designing and cutting out foam inserts for our Pelican cases with our in-house CNC router. This is one of the latest for our camera and MoVI LiPo batteries.

We are looking forward to meeting more cinematographers at the ACS National Awards and the Expo where we will be showcasing our kit and capabilities.

See you there!

Chris with custom landing pad on the boat, to capture aerials of the Lady Nelson

TASSIE INVENTOR, PAWEL ACHTEL LAUNCHES REVOLUTIONARY UNDERWATER CAMERA IN LA

As we know, ACS Tasmania member, Pawel Achtel has been busy shooting various underwater projects in Australia and elsewhere through 2014. Now with a collection of stunning 3D moving images to share, he is heading to America to officially launch his 3D housing at the Giant Screen Film Expo in LA. Here Pawel has shared his latest press release. Good luck Pawel and we look forward to hearing how it goes. -ED

A revolutionary underwater camera system that could transform the production of 3D IMAX-style films is being launched next week at Los Angeles’ Giant Screen Film Expo by Pawel Achtel, director of the Tasmanian-based company Achtel Pty Ltd that has already built an international reputation as one of Australia’s most innovative small companies in the film industry.

Film-maker and inventor Achtel, whose previous inventions have won international awards and acclaim in competition with such heavyweights as Sony and Canon, will launch a new underwater camera system “DeepX 3D”, radically different from anything else on the market, at the Giant Screen industry’s premier event in Los Angeles on 12 March.

Films about marine life and the oceans remain the most popular of all subjects shown on the largest film screens around the globe, at venues such as Darling Harbour’s IMAX cinema and Melbourne Museum’s IMAX screen, according to the latest industry survey.

But filming underwater presents huge difficulties, especially in the 3D that most venues need these days. Traditional underwater housings reduce image quality and create distortion to such an extent that the images fall far short of what’s required for and possible on today’s giant screens and, in 3D, can actually cause uncomfortable eye strain. Typical cameras weigh more than 120kg and require cranes just to get them in the water too.

DeepX 3D weighs in at less than 30kg and can be handled by a single cameraman, yet produces images that far surpass those of conventional camera systems. Using dedicated and optically matched underwater lenses, and a special formulation of reflective material that’s been specially developed for the the beam splitter mirror that evenly splits the highly polarised ambient light underwater, Achtel’s new camera system uniquely creates images that meet, and surpass, the 4K standard of today’s giant screen technology.

“We’ve been delighted by the international reception to our previous inventions, but the DeepX 3D is a major advance for us,” said Achtel before leaving for the USA. “A single underwater cameraman can now do what hasn’t, until now, been possible even for a large crew with huge, cumbersome camera systems.”

The GSCA Filmmaker Symposium will be held in Los Angeles, 11 - 12 March at the Universal City Hilton Hotel. The launch will be at the Tradeshow in Ballroom B on 12 March at 1:00 ~ 3:00 pm.

Further info: www.achtel.com

MICHAEL 'CHOOK' BROOKS

I recently had two weeks leave – the News Dept decided to drop a crew in the North. Each of us had to endure working alone - shock horror... Starting late to cover the edit shift, waiting for the phone to ring – “can you come in early”?? Life up here is marvelous, my first day back I went through St Marys to Bicheno for the opening of a sign, and drove back via Lake Leake, completing the round trip. I sent the vision from Bicheno via the Live-U, from a lovely little spot with a view over the Bay.

Next day I’m off to Smithton to partake in the ABC’s Education Special. My role was filming a pre-record at 2.00 pm. I sent the vision from another scenic location - then waited until 7.45pm for a 50 second live-cross.

After a sleepless night in the Burnie Comfort Inn, (the name’s a joke) I was dispatched to Perth …’where are you’? ‘Can you be there in an hour’?, for a pick-up interview with Bryan Green. Next stop Grindelwald for another sim-sat. If that wasn’t enough on the Friday I did four interviews, for four different programs with the member for Bass in one day (p.s. he seems to dislike me – ok, apparently it’s my fault, but that’s for the book). Holidays were looking good and a distant memory. I’d also clocked over 1000 km’s.

I’ve been around long enough never to be surprised, so just when I thought it was over, some idiot locks himself in a house for forty hours. Some people called it a ‘siege’. OK, so the Hobart summer clearly sucked and the SOG were keen for a Northern Tasmania holiday. There certainly seemed no rush to get it over with. I’m thinking of an overseas holiday now, thanks to the overtime.....common sense seemed to go out the window. ‘We’re a Newsroom not a Crèche’ as I complained about standing in the street for hours on end….and Daniel was missing his son’s first birthday?

On Monday I managed to cut a story in under an hour and then shoot a live cross into the News. It’s all in a day’s work up here, yet people seemed surprised. ‘ That looked great. The Live-U worked’. Funny I thought, that’s what it’s supposed to do?? Two days later interest was waning, and thank the Lord he gave up. There’s only so much take-away you can eat. Now I’m back to Political Segs and News holders. I’m starting a campaign to rename the Bass Hwy the ‘Brooks Hwy’ - hardly award winning stuff, but would I do anything else for a living – not ever!

Chook Brooks (ACS not likely)

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