David Muir ACS BSC

David Muir ACS BSC

David Muir is a recognised mentor, film teacher and advocate for Australian film. He served for decades on ACS Committees in NSW and Victoria, including four terms as Victorian President. David also served on the AFI Board judging film festivals and awards. His teaching career includes teaching cinematography at AFTRS, Macquarie and La Trobe Universities along with Footscray College and The Victorian College of the Arts. David’s VCA six day intensive cinematography course attracted students from four continents. In his youth there were no film schools in Melbourne, one learnt about film through Film Societies. While a young art/photography student at Caulfield Tech, David’s attendance at Realist Film Association screening led to his first documentary assignment at 16, and his time as assistant to legendary stills photographer Wolfgang Sievers provided unforgettable lessons about lighting and composition.

In 1955 David moved to Sydney and at 20 was cameraman at the new Ajax Films (later APA). To see at first hand what a features DoP did, David took leave to be stills photographer on Smiley with Ross Wood ACS operating and later on Cecil Holmes’ The City, with Ross as DoP.

David’s expanding skills showed in his last Ajax Film, a dramatised documentary for the Department of the Interior Film Unit. Impressed DOI Producer John Martin Jones recruited David, working all over Australia and New Guinea. This experience, of everything from 16mm B&W training film to big screen 35mm anamorphic colour, equipped him for his move to London in 1964.

His innovations helped earn him cinematography awards in Europe, USA and England, attracting the attention of feature film directors and producers. After a couple of TV drama series and his first features, David was invited to join the British Society of Cinematographers, the youngest person (at the time) to achieve this. His career as DOP on 7 feature films, innumerable documentaries and TVC’s in 32 countries saw him continuing to win awards in America, Australia, Britain and Spain.

David is grateful to cinematographers such as Ross Wood, Walter Lassally, Gianni Di Venxnzo and Raoul Coutard who – typical of all great DoPs – unstintingly shared their ideas. In 1976 he came home to work on commercials with Fred Schepsi and documentaries, his first and abiding interest. He continues to teach, and his production company enables him to give emerging filmmakers a chance “doing is still the best way to learn”. David achieved ACS accreditation certificate No 49 in September 1964, and was inducted into the ACS Hall of Fame in 2012

David Muir’s Induction into the ACS Hall of Fame (YouTube)