Malcolm Richards

Inducted into ACS Hall of Fame May 2011

Malcolm got his start in the film industry while attending University High School. Along with a few friends that included Esben Storm, Haydn Keenan and Peter Cherny they decided to make a film so put their savings into its production. They then obtained a Bell & Howell 16mm camera, some Ilford film and some theatre lights, Esben Storm was the director, Peter Cherney the sound recordist and Haydn Keenan and Anne Thomas were the stars. Malcolm was the cameraman.

Enthused by that experience Malcolm applied for and got a job at leading Melbourne production company FILM HOUSE with cameraman Volk Mol and director Fred Schepisi, mainly shooting TVCs. A year or so later Volk invited Malcolm to join him at Mike Browning Productions, where they were engaged to shoot some very challenging jobs, Mike was very much into special effects and unusual camera rigs, so they were asked by Mike to build the “Video Take” system. The video camera was attached to Volk’s brand new ARRI 2C door and the image split though a partially silvered mirror, the B&W video camera was almost larger that the 2C, the video was recorded on a 1″ IVC helical scan recorder, which when on location was powered by a huge 12v to 240v inverter and a bunch of car batteries. It was soon obvious that they needed a helper, so Ernie Clark was given the job as Video Take operator – Ernie then went on to become one of Australia’s most outstanding DOPs.

Malcolm then decided to travel overseas and lived in Denmark for a while, but it was near impossible to get a job in the film industry there, so after applying to several companies with no luck Malcolm returned to Australia. He was then offered a job on Esben Storm’s first feature film “27A” as operator and focus puller for DOP Michael Edols, followed by many productions throughout the 70s assisting cinematographers such as Russell Boyd, David Gribble and Vince Monton.

In 1982 Keith Wagstaff asked him to take over from Dan Burstall and David Eggby as operator on the Man from Snowy River. Not long after that Keith was to shoot “Eureka Stockade”, he found out Malcolm had bought a brand new ARRI 16SR2 camera and asked if he could hire it for the series. He reluctantly agreed thinking “what will I use it for myself?” This gave birth to a new career, so Malcolm took out a loan and bought another camera.

Within 5 years CAMERAQUIP was started and invested in several 35mm and 16mm cameras, all ARRI. This led to CAMERAQUIP forming a relationship with both ARRI Munich and Australia as their official Australian Rental Partner, and giving them access to the latest technology from Europe.

CAMERAQUIP now regularly supplies the latest equipment including the new ARRI ALEXA for major feature films and commercials and has played a big part in the training of many of today’s cameramen and assistants.

Malcolm says: “Nothing has changed, the benchmarks are still there, the bar keeps being raised.”