Butch Calderwood OAM ACS

Inducted into ACS Hall of Fame – 2003

I commenced my film/television career on September 3, 1953 in the television engineering department of the BBC in London, then in 1955 I was transferred to the BBC film department and remained there till 1981.

1981 was a difficult year, I was still with BBC TV and based in London with visits to the nasty places of the world. I was shooting for PANORAMA, the flagship current affairs program. Then in June, I was transferred to the Drama Department to shoot a cops and robbers series. The whole BBC was changing along with the political situation in the UK. There were riots near my house and several times I nailed sheets of 3 ply over the front windows. The only bright light was an invite from Ch 7 Sydney to join them and shoot documentaries, it was an invite I readily accepted.

I arrived in Sydney one night in September and went to Ch7 the following day and started shooting news, something I had not done before. It was like working on the film set of a TV comedy based in a newsroom. I was the oldest person in the newsroom and it was a great cultural shock. The documentaries got shot in a slipshod fashion around news stories that were not real news stories, but the weather was good, the food excellent and life was much easier than London.

Life went on in a haze of news stuff until Channel 9 asked me to shoot for Sunday which was more like BBC production standards. I was again travelling – to India, Central and West Africa and lots of Australia. There was a complete rejection of the ACS even though one of the ACS Vice Presidents was a 9 cameraman. I went back to Channel 7 and had a tough time getting people to join the ACS. That changed when they saw people getting ACS awards for their work and realising that the awards were for the technical excellence of their work. When I finally retired from main stream work, I with Ted Rayment taught the basis of film for several years in Australia and SE Asia. I inherited the editorship of Australian Cinematographer which I still do. It is an absolute delight to work on this magazine as I am kept busy reading and trying to understand all the new technology and articles about the adventures of cinematographers. I like to think that these articles are written especially for me to read but they are written for the whole world to read and I love the job of making sure that the whole world gets a chance to read them in AC Magazine.

Butch received ACS Accreditation in 1995 and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2003 for outstanding service to the ACS, and the Australian film industry.