Vernon Frederick Wagstaff ACS (1909-1995)

Inducted into ACS Hall of Fame – 1998

Vernon Frederick Wagstaff was born at Bendigo in Oct 1909 and educated at Bendigo Technical College where he graduated as an Engineer.

Vern and his family moved to Melbourne post World War 1 where he joined the Victorian Railways as an Engineer. Not happy with his future at the Railways, he then acquired a position with the Department of Agriculture Film Unit as a Cinematographer, and so began his future in the film Industry. Vern was then able to hone his cinematography skills working on documentaries, filming on either 16mm or 35mm as well as doing some animation platform work.

In 1947 Vern started his own production company Cine Service in Little Bourke St, Melbourne. Cine Service produced Industrial Documentaries, Theatre Commercials and Medical films. Vern was well known by Melbourne surgeons for his Medical films, the production of which spanned a 30 year period. In the early part of this period, the type of specialised equipment needed to photograph surgical procedures was not available. So Vern with his engineering background designed and built custom made equipment for each procedure as needed. On many occasions Vern would be behind his Kodak Cine Special in the operating theatre for up to twelve hours at a time.

Vern also pioneered a Film Company called Film Records. Film Records filmed all Metropolitan horse race meetings for the Victoria Racing Club stewards, and also provided a separate segment for Melbourne TV stations.

In later years, Cine Service had its own editing department, studio and sound recording facilities, and a large theatrette. Cine Service also operated a Film Laboratory, and it was where Vern pioneered 16mm colour printing in Australia. In 1964 Cine Service moved to 235 Moray Street South Melbourne, and by that time Cambridge Film and TV Prods had been acquired by Vern and became the production arm of Cine Service.

Vern was a respected member of the ACS, his knowledge of the Victorian Film Industry until his death in 1995 at 86 years of age was considered invaluable. Over his career, Vern was the cinematographer for many high profile Documentary, Medical and Tourist Advertising films.