Gerry Weinbren

Forename/s: 
Gerry
Family name: 
Weinbren
Work area/craft/role: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
332
Interview Date(s): 
2 Aug 1994
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
76

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behp0332- gerry-weinbren-summary

 

SIDE ONE

Born 1928. father a S. African doctor. Went to SA in the thirties. Returned UK early 50’s with degree. Went to London Poly on photography course. Got into Shell with help of Denis Forman. BFI course in Edinburgh. Bert Haanstra was making Rival World. Worked on sound tracks for it. Very exacting. With Peter de Normanville on High Speed Flight. First film directed was The Carburettor. Raymond Spottiswoode producer. Got a job with Bristol Aeroplane Company. Thence to Bristol-Siddeley. Stayed 10 years. Built up a unit. First ideas of building up a library. Lost his job when TSR2 was cancelled. (Set up Gazelle productions.) Made shorts for cinema. Provided footage for TV programmes. Brought in Athos crews.

Film Society interest at University in South Africa. Made radical documentaries there. Classic films inspired him. Louisiana Story. More on aircraft industry. Worked with NET TV in States from Bristol. Steady work. Programmes on Bristol-Siddeley [BS] for US television. Eye on Research for BBC. Represented KCTV24 [?]. COI [Central Office of Information] films. Made a film on Gold. Became interested in minerals. Film industry moving out of sponsorship. Made programmes and sold them to TV. Print sales financed the work. Details of financing such films.

Started Index library. Spotted the possibility whilst still with BS. Value of historical footage. Good 35mm colour footage coming from Shell, BP etc. Emphasis first on preservation. Also shot footage for the library. Must be up to date. 35mm neg to digital tape. No quality loss on copies. Will be transmittable down line. Importance of good telecine operator.

How library began at Athos. Took on Peggy Dowling. Established libraries joined him. Subsidised by Gazelle in early days. Describes staff at Gazelle: John Kenway, cameraman. Outside editor. Nigel Ashcroft became staff editor. Richard Ganniclift. Many poached by TV. Marvellous talent in documentary in those days.

SIDE TWO

Most films he made at this time were made for overseas TV since British television made their own programmes. (Discourse on metal corrosion.) More on working with the BBC when at Bristol-Siddeley. Offered facilities in West to BBC. Aviation specialty . Work for Richard Cawston, Aubrey Singer, and Max Morgan-Witts. In at the beginning of Tomorrow’s World.

Memories of working with Bert Haanstra. Happy accidents in the cutting rooms. Remembers Stuart Legg’s contributions. Personal touches in technical films. Also remembers John da Silva, a brilliant library cameraman in S. Africa. Always got what he wanted.

Joyful moments in technical films. Remembers many of his best shots. Often sees them on television. Importance of an editor’s contribution. Contribution of a crew. Grabbing shots: "if you see something, shoot it."

[END]

Transcript

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SPEAKER: F9
This is an interview with Gerry Weinbren  by Rodney Giesler recorded in Bristol on the 2nd of August nineteen ninety four one two three four three two. Okay so yeah.
SPEAKER: M4
I was born in England in 1928. My father's a South African he was specializing in this country as a doctor. My mother being English and I went back to South Africa in the early 30s when my father went back to become a radiologist in fact South Africa's first radiologist. I returned.
SPEAKER: M2
Okay. I returned to this country in the early 50s having finished a degree in South Africa. A batch of Commerce which in effect was an economics degree. And my father's thinking was you better go to Britain because that's where you'll learn the trade rather than stand South Africa which of course had no real film industry. Well Harry what was working there at the time.
SPEAKER: M6
He was doing the sequel to the film he had done about a lion family. So I came over here and I. Couldn't get into the union of course.
SPEAKER: M4
In those days I worked for went to London Poly and did a bit of photography. I learnt photography as a way of learning something about the background of the industry. Eventually. Having worked in very small documentary units I managed to get into shell. Basically because I had had this good degree. And managed to sue funnily enough through the BFI. Is this getting too long. Dennis former was very helpful. I went up to a course at. The BFI in Edinburgh. They did a film school got to know Dennis because I did a lot of still pictures for him. It was a year that Orson Welles was was featured at Edinburgh was quite interesting. It was in the early 50s. Yes. And when I got back I told Dennis how frustrated I was from not being able to get a job in the industry. I mean I'd done a bit of work with John. I can't remember his name now who was of sound record was actually working as a cameraman then. We did a film for children down the East End but that was not much fun because I was the man holding the little wire with a rabbit on the end and that really wasn't my idea of getting into films so eventually I managed to get there to get the job with Shell. And of course at that time that was was. I suppose the best job we could get to have but from training. I suppose the greatest thing about my shell experience was that Burt hamster. Was making the rival world at that time. My greatest disappointment that I wasn't the assistant because at Shell of course the assistant director. Did virtually everything I mean you were assistant editor you looked after books and you really were. More than just an assistant director as as. Thought of in the industry. ALAN Penry in fact went to Bert's assistant but I because I wasn't very busy we work on a high speed flight at the time I was meant to Burt and I actually worked on the soundtracks with him which really was an incredible experience because he is the most complete film maker I actually worked with. Very exacting. I mean I had to go and do the sound effects for him. Of An and flying out of of Croydon. Which was to give the very famous secrets of the locusts. And with Burt. You didn't just shoot sound effect. There had to be to the second that absolutely right. The airplane had to be the right height and take off the light speed it just had to fit. For him. I worked with Shell on you know on a high speed flight and the gas turbine all of thing and learnt a lot about aviation. I mean as an assistant you're also helping on the scripts. I was work with Peter to Norman Bill. Who was it was a unique another unique film in my estimation. I mean I've never known anybody shoot with such low ratios. I mean when we went out shooting Peter shot the shot and that was it there was no messing about. No BBC 40 takes. It was just what he knew exactly what he wanted it was all absolutely planned that went in his head not on paper. And eventually they they gave me a chance of making my first film at Shell. Which was not a success. It was the court I haven't met Cole works the carburettor. My producer was Raymond spots what was. Fine on 3D but not what I was doing. And funnily enough at that time a job came up in the. Aviation industry Bristol aeroplane company. At last decide they ought to have some film made Britannia was just coming on stream. Advertised and every body I could think of in the industry applied. But I got the job and I think a because I knew about aeroplanes. Having worked in high speed flight but B of course I was relatively cheap compared to the experienced people. And my life took off from there because I from a very small start. We built quite a big unit at the Bristol aeroplane company which became Bristol aircraft. And then eventually split up and I became the firm's officer for Bristol Sydney engines. And I stayed there ten years. It was an interesting ten years because that's how I got in the library side helping people out Richard Causton. Knowing what people want in terms of library footage making sure we had the quality they wanted. And understanding what the technical side of it. I only left because the Labour Government in fact decimated the industry. When they cancelled TSR too. What was forgotten they also cancelled. The. The aeroplane the Harrier was never meant to be a fighting aeroplane as it is today. The Harrier was the original top Harrier type was to prove the system the vertical takeoff system. We had a new aeroplane which with metal was cut we had engines running. Are all singing and dancing supersonic vertical takeoff fighter that was cancelled and what happened everybody had to go backwards as it went onto original Harrier design and and the Harrier resulted from that. Well it was that stage they ran the when all the redundancies came.
SPEAKER: M8
I got so fed up I just built the unit big enough. Just taken on two graduates one to work on Concorde who spoke good French. Another one who became part of famous director in in the theatre took him on as a general sir. Yes I wish I could remember the name. It might come back to me in a minute. But he he went to the royal court as a director there. He was quite crazy. It would be great for me. But he was very good. He was full of ideas and all sorts of things. But when they told me I had to lose these two people because so many white collar workers had to go because so many. I said put me the top of the list. And that's when I I lost start in that job and set up gazelle.
SPEAKER: M3
That's what brought me to Bristol in the first place.
SPEAKER: M8
I wouldn't know what brought me to Bristol because she was going into aviation because everything was run from down here. It was marvellous experience because although I'm not making films so much because what I did then was we never tried to make anything big. But by that I mean if it was for the cinemas or because those days we were making shows for the cinema that we were still in that era. Or if it was something big for television which we were doing. I mean we were making programmes for television the sponsored programmes. And we weren't based on my shelf background. There was no advertising on them. It was rather look. I took the view of Bristol Sydney. We were the engines for the industry. We had to beat Rolls-Royce who were hopeless on the film side. The PR was absolutely ludicrous. So the only way we could beat them was to give a better service. And that means provide footage so any Concorde footage coming forward anything of that nature was coming from the bustling Sydney unit. But as I said it wasn't it seemed to be commercial. So people would use it even in those days the BBC were quite prepared to run the film we've made. I mean the sort of films we were making we were the power to serve as a good example. Which did quite well. I mean we represented Britain and got people like. John chick all excited and you know and we knew this sort of thing was one that would be a find. But those films we didn't make. Internally we couldn't we couldn't cope with that. I always brought in outside units. Invariably Athos at that stage because they had been making films for British Airways they'd been making films for some of the other aviation people. And what I knew with the Athos cruise was that they were flexible and would work the way we wanted them to work and within the confines of the security they were extremely good at that. But we went on making smaller in films in. I had my own department set up and we took on our own crew.
SPEAKER: M7
When the big crash came that was from Bristol sadly I mean you moved from Bristol aeroplane.
SPEAKER: M9
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yes. You exited Barbara still.
SPEAKER: M4
Yeah. The point was the Bristol aeroplane company at that time again because of government policy. They were starting to nationalised industry and it was done. At first it was done by. By getting the larger companies to join together. So Bristol aeroplane company went out and became part of something else. Bristol aircraft in joined up with the with what was Vickers to become be a Bristol AC b aC as it was a British Aircraft Corporation that you then set in and we were given the chance to go one way or the other and I decide to go to Bristol Sydney which was which was amalgamation between Bristol aero engines. And Armstrong Sydney. The government forced them together. And of course later Bristol Cindy was gobbled up by Rolls Royce. That was the final final thing as I left just before that happened. Can I just take you back because I don't think we've covered it in sufficient detail. That.
SPEAKER: M3
You had an urge to go to the film industry. Oh yeah. It generated by one particular film or it meant my entry to to the industry was was at university. I got interested in the film society.
SPEAKER: M4
And actually at university I started directing the internal film unit we had at university we had our own thing. I mean the films we were making were not Huddleston and his work in what was then called sofar town. I mean we win movement very popular at the time as you can imagine making I mean the government of the day if that never what we were doing would not be at all pleased. That we were trying to show condition but the real thing that got me going was was the films that I saw from overseas which were the resident films as it were in the film societies. And the particular one that got me most interested was Lucy on a story the Flaherty film. And that that was why I decided when I'd finished universe I was going to go into films to try and make documentaries not features I was much wanted them in the documentary of that time. I mean the thing that's completely disappeared today I'm mechanical documentaries rather than personal ones why didn't lose lose Lucy on the story but the mixture was a great mixture I mean it was what it did to the people and then it was so much more than just a mechanical thing that we went on to make it Shell. Etc. It was the mix John I liked both of them.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean I tried and the films that I went into into town when we started making films about aircraft I was much one trusted in what aviation was doing. So society rather than just Jane the nuts and bolts the nuts and bolts for very important. Of course because that from my job was and was quite important for people to understand I think we were losing women and we were losing our industry at that stage that it's not new aviation being lost by government action it doesn't no matter which government. We lost out all the time. I mean the terrible spend the wasteful spend doubling up having to aircraft the same time made by two different. Firms and then only one aircraft actually going to production that was so wasteful. So. There was a lot I became very interested also in television at that stage and towards the end of my career at Bristol Sydney I had a much more promoting. Stuff on television. We were already working with the American outlet and any t outlet in Los Angeles. Because at that stage before Nixon had killed it all by removing the funds any t was was worked out. Each area funded specific types of output. New York was doing Shakespeare English something that you'll find that they're still doing today. And KCET 24 where we worked in Los Angeles doing technology and then the idea was that you would swap. New York would give. Los Angeles its Shakespeare. And Los Angeles would give New York its technology programs and we got into that in quite a big way. In fact that was one of the things that saved me. As I left the industry because I had had a man called Arnold Hall as my boss. And he had seen the usefulness of what we were doing. And allowed us to spend quite a large budget for those days on making programmes for television particularly destined for United States. And in fact we were working for the British industry because we were the guns we were nothing without the aeroplane. But we were managing to get stuff on on to television programs whether it be Concorde the Harrier which wasn't called the Harrier then but vertical tail the national programs in this country. No one in the States in particular. And the hovercraft. Oh all sorts of stories and things we were doing because people at westerns couldn't find the money to give people a print of what they were doing. So we were we. We had virtually take it over for the industry and this is what. This is. What I saw as our public relations effort on behalf of a company. You must remember that time if if if panorama were going to do a program that Ed arranged and they wouldn't come to my subsistence suddenly. They would get a Rolls-Royce. I mean that's what we were combating. So I had to find a way of beating Rolls-Royce. In there. And it was soon learned that say what came to us they would get a good film service. And in the end we won out because of that. I mean they knew if they wanted somebody aero engines they want something of aircraft. And indeed if they wanted people to talk in programs. I mean the fact that these there was a series called Iron research. I think one of those programs would all be singing at that time in the BBC I think we must find two or three but actually done from the western Sydney premises as it were. Because we had taught management to seeing that this was an extremely good way of getting coverage getting them sounds publicity of the type they wanted. But when I left of course I had problems because I hadn't made from for some time and I had to get to start again.
SPEAKER: F4
And live.
SPEAKER: M5
Can we hold it a. But I am not quite sure what you're after. Well I mean.
SPEAKER: M7
Tell me your life story and films in chronological order with whatever you've reached a point now where you left Bristol Sydney and you set up gazelle Senate gazelle and you use gazelle as your base for all this activity you're telling me about.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes. Yes yes. Goodell took over what we're doing in Bristol sadly I mean that the.
SPEAKER: M8
Regular programs there were our long programs on technology. We took that over and we paid for doing it. Then. And we became the representative of KCET 24 in Europe. And then we whether it be broadened out we did the Paris Air Show every year we did farm every year.
SPEAKER: M5
We did and and they looked for one in six programs are supposed to be from Europe which we did. And I either thought up the ideas of what we'd find. I mean some of them are very simple ideas. Velcro for instance was one of the things where we actually cottoned on to and made a program about that but there were lots of things Americans didn't have all technology and Britain was leading in that hovercraft and in particular. And things like hover trains which lots of things like tomorrow as well it never actually came to fruition but we've seen these bright ideas.
SPEAKER: M3
There was enough money and was from America.
SPEAKER: M5
Well that wasn't her only living. I mean we were we then started doing some films for people like shorts. And and we were shooting what we could making and we were doing a lot of work for the Central Office of Information again when I was the best and suddenly I supplied the central office information with an enormous amount of film for nothing. I mean this was a response to them if they wanted something in aviation we would do it for them. When I left industry although a colleague took over the bus and we had new management we had lost out somehow. That whole thing dried up. So the central office of information I mean as far as I'm concerned to their credit came to me and said Would you like to make them make films for us or will work for us. So a lot of our stuff was really just supplying facilities and making programmes under the CNY director. And it was all these activities together which got gazelle going.
SPEAKER: M3
This is both home and overseas here right now.
SPEAKER: M5
So I was this country we had everything we shop for sale I was shot here. I mean we might have we might have involve Farm brand Paris air shows because we were already doing it for the Americans we might have done a day for them.
SPEAKER: M7
But I mean a lot of SEO I work with channel through the foreigner.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh yeah. Yes I mean then the CSI stuff was never shown in this country it was. I mean it was for for Latin America for America. All over the world. I mean one of the series we did we had six. There were six girls we would do that the on camera piece in different languages. So we you'd shoot the basic straw and then the girls would come in you do the six introductions and pieces the Cameron sister and the six different languages. But we never saw any of the editing on that side. I mean we just the Russians went straight across to CNY. We also made programmes for CNN complete programmes. They. From. Things being that I was shooting a bit of 35 then for CNY before they'd turned over big on bank 16 before they got involved in in in. Going on to well I had a terrible system actually. They used to use for going across to do video. So I know the school but it was it's in studio. The thing. With mirrors and God knows what. But it wasn't very successful but we never saw that. I mean. We we just had the rushes and that was it. Apart from those programs in made. But I had my my my. AIM has been to get back into into making shorts for the cinema. And eventually. By using our own money and buy it by getting getting money from. Outside sources. We managed to make a film about gold. I remember that one. And that was the start of it was mating junction with with Athos because I didn't have the 35 equipment I needed 35 technicians I needed 35 editor. So I was the moving spirit as it well. I got the money involved and we made it and produced it with Athos and then we I became interested in minerals mining and minerals I mean partly to do with my staff and background. But also partly because of what had learnt in the aircraft industry. I mean the jet engine as good as the metals you have in it. I mean you can get a better metal in the in the in the turbine blades. I mean today that it's gone advance beyond this but in those days if you could get a higher temperature metal you'd have X number of pounds extra for that that engine and that was the key to it all. Now they're all hollow now cool when they even then even then we may Yeah that was the interesting thing about Rolls-Royce and Bristol Sydney Brisbane Sydney were doing it one way Rolls-Royce were doing it another way. And the two companies weren't that silly I mean very often you'd find their research because most of directors at Bristol said had come from rolls. I mean. The great man behind behind the Harrier engine.
SPEAKER: M9
Had come from was and it was a Rolls man. And so those were blowing air through the through the blades but we were making the blades a different way. We were costing them votes were stamping them and then the cost in the end paid out because the crystallography above the way the blades formed is so much faster. But this got me into into metals and mining and all the rest. And I made a series of films on jewellery. They to do with gold because gold two things totally material I've learnt that from. But by that by the time I made those films the industry is moving again. I mean we'd gone out and we'd gone out of cinema shorts. And the industry is moving very much into into into into outer sponsorship them and that become a dirty word and we were with. The no longer with the no longer are making funds for film for whatever it was the first one was called we became best friend became something else then became something I and the sponsorship the song and rather lost.
SPEAKER: M10
And people were going to video and it was getting so different and they and what I was used to the sort of sheltered public relations had no longer seemed to be the vogue. And obviously I wasn't unlike so many other Sheldrake so I didn't go back and make films for Shell I stayed away from Shell Oil and the oil industry although I did we did provide sequences on jet engines for Shell films is quite interesting and we did that and but then I decided if I want to work in television we better get independent. And we've found our own money to make programmes which we then sold to television. But we made the films they were more of an educational nature because the market where we got our money back was being able to sell prints to United States. And I started making films about elements and the return on from 60 millimeter prints was was was good enough we'd give you your return plus the fact we were selling the films to educational television we were selling the films to lots of countries. For educational television as well as four for four televisions you get your finance from what was indirectly sponsored or some of the things the first ones we used the profits of what we'd in fact what we'd built up from gazelle.
SPEAKER: M9
And but then that became a bit expensive so then we were making money back on the prints but then I decided the way to do it was to talk the industry into putting money into the production. In other words if we went to the to the platinum industry they would give us the money to help us to get the mine they would lay on the facility so we could film the thing that was really this is yeah. As you know the one most important seismic but they would give us a certain amount we would put the rest of money but. They would then have the film to use even if we gave them a commentary to suit them. The film we would make for television. We would then be able to sell that and that would be so in effect. It turned out a partnership made it much cheaper for them. And they got the distribution. In fact we were distributing outside of their orbit as it was and they had to pay for that service product exposure as well. Yeah it was quite a good combination then. And me. But that market became even more difficult. But in the background of course I've had I started index.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes.
SPEAKER: M9
Tell me a bit about well what I learned from the aircraft in the street when I left the aircraft industry. I understood there were plenty of people who could make films. And there were plenty of companies who could do it. I mean I left in a hurry I hadn't set things up. When I had my long nights worrying about where my next meal was coming from where we get it how we're going to finance things. I thought well what do I know better than anybody else is there anything. And I thought well people keep on finding that from all over the world. To ask me about the technical side of aviation. Where can we get pictures of spoilers. Do you know where can we get this or whether it be a fighter aircraft or where can we get a shot of reheat what. And I was giving the misinformation for nothing. So it struck me that well if people wanted this information that maybe I ought to go back to my and have a library. Because we were building up I had built up quite a lot of our own material by then. I knew that the major library I'd worked with was starting to wind down. With oil industry winding down and the people who were running it were not doing that well because of change. And Peggy Dowling was out of a job. Who'd been the film center librarian. So I decided to set the set the library up. To keep this guy. And once we'd set up of course people came to us with their material.
SPEAKER: M3
And so you took over the film center library. No no no we didn't.
SPEAKER: M10
Come on. I mean can I just go. I must admit that I didn't actually see.
SPEAKER: M5
When I said index up. I had as. Much broader aim. What I had realized was how valuable historical footage was.
SPEAKER: M12
And I also realized that the only color footage at the time apart from the newsreels. I mean the cinema newsreels because I set the company up in the 60s and going back through the 50s. The only good color footage on 35 was actually coming out of industry was coming out of the shells that BP was brave. British transport and what they call themselves in those days were against it. That was where the historical footage was and particularly with British Transport. There were some very valuable footage there if you think of some of. Between the times and some of the other programs and natural history programs. There's most fascinating footage there. What Britain looked like at that time on 35 millimeter an Eastman colour negative. And then there's nothing on that television is horrible 16 millimeter black and white badly exposed the wrong stocks used. So I thought it being very valuable even then. But I didn't want to set up a historical library but I just thought I thought preserving.
SPEAKER: M13
Footage would be so valuable for the future. I mean we have we've got an enormous amount of aviation footage which we've kept not so much old airlines about but different aircraft types different developments and things that have happened. And I just say we've got from 1950 all the way through in colour. I think as everybody knows it's things get valuable after 25 years in this country. Yes sir. I mean incidentally at index we had the demos we've still got the original 60 millimeter from Everest. That doesn't mean to say that we can use it but we've got it and we store it and keep it in good order. But having got footage in I then decided to make to make it index viable we had to shoot footage for the library.
SPEAKER: M8
Most of the footage that was coming into the lab was coming from India from what Iceland call sponsored films a few individual producers later on particularly Bert Hunt's turn is wonderful stuff.
SPEAKER: M13
But we need it. But there was I own programmes that we needed to shoot specific stuff to keep up to date. I mean if people want an area of London they don't it's got to be up to date something you can get away with something. I mean clowns don't date but with especially London the moment. I mean we've got a go and reshoot and is completely changed. If people want up to date. But the great thing is we've got the old footage all the way through so we can sort so anybody want to go back and look and see the difference it's there. Are you putting it all on tape. What we do know is it's sacrilege in a sense but we should everything on 35. We've actually invested in in every threes. So that we can have the registration opened and we've also had the Gates moved down so we're as wide as we can get ready for HDTV we don't even print anymore we don't print and Technicolor what we do go straight to D1. Or we might but some things which we think are not long term we might put those across to to. Be to Cam S.P. one what's the D1 is the top of the range digital. It's the Rolls Royce it's the most expensive. I mean it is it's the state of the art the D 2D 3D 45 they sound better but in fact each one is done is going to D1 but they're not as expensive as diamonds ones megs is expensive. Very few people have the equipment. But if you want to preserve stuff at the moment until something new comes along and technology is bound to bring something along D1 is the best we can use. It's like it's like the difference between 25 millimeter and 16. Isn't. Of course the thing about digital and especially D1 is that we can make tapes.
SPEAKER: M14
For our clients but no loss whatsoever. I mean they will look as if they are direct from tell you something from 35. And that that is a great advantage. The other advantage coming up is that would be one. It will go down the phone along the line eventually and come out the other end saying America. And it will come out the other end and be put straight into NTSC. That conversion and this is what we're looking to in the future. So you get no deterioration at the moment that that moment run but only do this for. For Viewing tapes. Eventually though they say that technology would be good enough to transmit to put up for viewing in you make you make a copy.
SPEAKER: M15
You make one generation copy if you like. There is no perceptible difference in quality.
SPEAKER: M16
None at all would be an analog net. None none at all. I mean that's the theory. I mean I think that what people don't quite understand is that telling Sony is as good as the operator. I mean they tell us in our pages it's just as kids are having a good cameraman or a good editor. In general I suppose the better way of putting it is at the best grade you have in the film. I mean you've got a Technicolor what you get out the other end is as good as has the greatest put in. Routinely Sunny. But Tennyson is more than that because. Whether they're two or three tell us Senate operators are absolutely just so far ahead of anybody else and you you get to know this. And then they can get you out they can get you out of problems they can. They can do so and it's quite incredible. There's one man in particular at Studio Six I one services I have six I want. Nigel he he's a he's an artist no doubt about it.
SPEAKER: M17
Oh yeah. Can we stop him.
SPEAKER: M15
I'm interested to know how you got your virtual library into existence. You said you had lots of inquiries now presumably you had to make an investment commitment by some premises find storage space get someone to services catalogue it so.
SPEAKER: M16
Can you tell me a bit about that. When we started I mean we we did start in the back room at Athos films. The directors of Athos thought I was nuts setting up a library. They couldn't but they were quite willing to go along and help because they sought to be useful for them to have their stuff in library. So and when Peggy and Darling who I think the industry knows as the matriarch of the library business. When Peggy started with me I mean we had very little I mean we had my own films. And we had access to Athos films. So we didn't in fact just start off. We didn't need much storage. We didn't need any space. But once we once we got a few clients in there with their own with their own footage. Then we had to think about having premises and we started out in fact over the Athos premises in Soho Square. We had to move out of there when the architect came in one day. And told me if I wasn't very careful that the front door we were on the third floor he said you're going to the front door one morning and find the old libraries in the basement. Because the building was just not engineered to take that sort of weight.
SPEAKER: F10
But it didn't.
SPEAKER: M18
The thing is that we had established libraries come to us who had been say at film centre but I established libraries it might be somebody rips in from the oil industry or even aviation. We asked him some aviation footage so that it would come in to us and what came into us was basically should have been logged it wasn't necessary long very well. And our first acquisition staff wise was to take on one of Peggy's ex employees at who knew exactly how to do that. She was an expert in the as a librarian. Of the company index didn't become viable for some time. So it really it was subsidised as it were by the filmmaking side by the gazelle side. This is how we kept the two things going together. I mean I just decided that rather than by myself fencing things or pull stuff out of my business we just put it in and kept it in and invested back into into index.
SPEAKER: M15
Where do you we're running DL at his busiest time. I mean who were the people you had you ever directed at you. Come on man.
SPEAKER: F10
We had a permanent always had a permanent crew.
SPEAKER: M5
And by that. In fact John can raised very well-known cameramen.
SPEAKER: F13
Had joined me and maybe they would take him on a bus to Sydney as an apprentice. That's the only way they would let me take staff on. Well thank God I stopped him sign indenture papers or whatever you call them. And John joined me as Ed as a schoolboy. He was a bit annoyed with me because I made him stay on and finishes his education. He wants to join me before but John joined me and he was one of the brightest assistants I ever had. And within a very short time John was operating. So he became my permanent. Then I had I had all sorts of our place and people used to come on on on a temporary basis one more temp in those days freelance didn't work quite as it does today. And those days you took people on temporary as it were as a trainee. Remember that we mean ACTU T or ACTU as it was then regime. So when we weren't we were abiding by the rules as it were. So if we took people on we really had to take them on as trainees. I also had a trainee or editor because I used outside editors from mains that we put out editing work out where we had editing rooms. I would always call in the editor I thought best for the job. But I had a young man coming called Nigel Ashcroft you know a very well-known editor and Nigel as well John started me from school. And in no time flat I mean he was also he he was upgraded became the editor of gazelle. So at one time we had quite a strong crew. I mean a second cameraman. He left me because he was second string rich organic left he was so good today as well. I mean the best. So we had a lot of very bright pictures organic lift. It is who's gain is an excellent camera. I used to get people and the annoying part was we used to get people and we had a lot of people come through who joined us and stayed a six months or a year or two years one of them. And then the local buy then HDTV dad was going and love and we used to lose them if they'd worked gazelle. It seemed to be too. That was a ticket to get into television because instead of taking somebody's raw and they'd taken somebody on it being kicked a bit by a look better with me looking for standards. And they were taken on. So we used to lose them very quickly and I couldn't stop people leaving because we gazelle were not that big. We couldn't compete with what television were prepared to pay people. But at least it gave people a start. I mean no matter which area you look at television today or something that you'll find is somebody who started life in gazelle. I mean we now have a man who's making features. There's a man production company making stuff in Bristol for the arts. So we've got producers directors cameramen that it was because the member there was very little in Bristol on those days we were they weren't very many film units around and most of people around were just stringers for the BBC or whoever it was. And people who start doing a bit of this the bit of that but we were basically the only permanent. Company. We had to give this up. I mean we had to I had to forego the pleasure of having a full time crew. Once John Cameron left me life became difficult because John was so good to match. John was very difficult. In fact the thing that got me back into doing a bit of camerawork myself. Remembering that I'd been an aerial cameraman had really been I'd been in the industry.
SPEAKER: F7
It just turned out I could do it. Some people can do things I mean I didn't get sick in aeroplanes I could sit and I was cleared to do it and I didn't do because I wanted to do it so much because we needed somebody who could cope with that that work. And I drifted back into doing the camera work myself becoming a direct cameraman again. Was partly out of frustration because the better people I knew were always busy. And they up and coming people I just I didn't match my standards because especially video people. I find it very difficult working with people I've only had video experience. It's it's a different concepts a different way.
SPEAKER: M19
Okay you're working with cameraman and television experience.
SPEAKER: F7
It was just good light yeah. That's the same thing. Exactly. I mean lighting is the key. That's what made John 10 was so good in my estimation not only that he was a superb operator but he was so good at lighting. I remember you see that one of the joys of working with Athos is I had. That head lg Caitlin Jenkins as my cameraman I used to pull him in and I mean I mean I've never known anybody like that. I mean if you came three candles he could light the place. It was a quite extraordinary. And John Ken Lay Well but I think we were very privileged to be sitting around as my assistant being second assistant to see how things were done. This is. What started going for him. That was the great thing about documentary. In those days if you go back to I think it all collapsed around the 50s and 60s. But then we had some extraordinary talent working in in the industry. I mean after all I mean if you think the directing talent is letting young people out there that were still working in documentary and committed talent.
SPEAKER: M19
Yeah. I mean the talent that will go out of their way and work over the arts to get the effects they want. You know they weren't satisfied with doing their best. You know it still wanted to go for the Academy doesn't make more out of here. Most in television that I made as an independent. Was made for overseas consumption. And because of the time it was made that the BBC and the ITV stations wanted to control their own documentary.
SPEAKER: M20
And they didn't. And they weren't buying stuff in. So we've never actually I mean it's quite true that parts of my play those programs get shown on television because they get taken through index. I mean people see the films in and they form the basis of a lot of what's going on on Channel 4 now. But the programmes themselves although we offer them to British television very seldom we've taken on we we made our returns came from overseas by censor agencies or directly to Moroccan television. And in fact. It's very strange that part of the mineral films we made ended up working for the American government. Because they saw the programs they asked us to remake them for the Bureau of Mines. And they'd subsequently been distributed by the Bureau of Mines but they've also won the prize of the films do win in America. And in fact two of them two or three other films now represent America. I mean we eventually got trophies and things from. From the Americans. From overseas festivals where our films in the name of the Bureau of Mines have actually won the prizes. It's a strange way that life works these gazelles still producing.
SPEAKER: M21
Not really. Are you retired now.
SPEAKER: F8
Well I've sort of retired yes. I mean men. I would do something if I if somebody came to me. I'm interested in conservation but not. I'm not a Greenpeace man. I think Greenpeace and I don't go along with the way they go about it. I think we wanted it. We want to teach people the real meaning of things. I've learned so much about stainless steel making films about about chromium. I mean in fact if we want to green we won't be using raw materials. We won't be using materials non corrosive materials. I mean if you think the waste the time lost to things breaking down in the industry because of they've corroded you think of it. Why did you only go if you live on the coast. You know your windows corrode everything corrodes. But if you made the right material it wouldn't come out well. But the great thing about corrosion is you can't recycle corrosion that's gone. If you make something out of stainless steel now stainless steel sounds very expensive but it's not grays of stainless steel. And one of the things I haven't been able to do to push hard is the fact that one of the new developments was made in South Africa. Because of political considerations of under couldn't make these films you can say this hydrophones have done this all have done that they've done the other. But. Because their backs are against the wall they developed certain things there and because they had the family and producing to the well they've gone on and they've made they've made it very simple stainless steel which is used for trains from some use for buttons when we ought to be using it in this country but you're up against the man in the White Suit syndrome aren't you. Well you see the one of the problems is it's a very complicated problem here. In that the politicians won't do anything until they absolutely have to. Now the patient's got to come one way or the other. You take buses. And we've had lots of bus crashes now where a lot of crashes can be due to corrosion. Americans know this. I mean Americans have made it now that you have to use they had because American buses bought by the city or by the by the authorities. They insist that the bus will last 20 years despite the fact that they throw tons and tons of salt on their roads send the northeast coast they've got buses there will can compete with that. By making the right material you can get round but the great thing about making the right choice it makes it safe. Because if you have an accident if you have an accident some men modestly aluminium. If not a coat steels if those certain agents have corroded you have your accident they'd just best. You've made it out of something like stainless because it hasn't corroded it's still safe cage. Is this is what interests me so if somebody if I can find somebody who will allow me to make a program about it I would do it. And that. Although we've actually lost gazelle and we'll virtually lost the name now I mean I've let it be gobbled up by index. That we would still work as a gazelle film I would just I think it's important I think that that side of conservation. I mean you've got to think of if you could stop smelting mile steel. We have less of it. Think what you save tens of acid rain and tens of all sorts of things. The great polluter is actually smelting. And spacing to use smelt things like nickel. And some and some of these other materials there find materials to use but the actual smelting process is very dirty. I mean just just look what's happened in Canada. It looks like a moonscape. And that's the fallout from the smelter fires it.
SPEAKER: M21
Just checking them out. Sorry for I came over to you. The surface city of Bristol Bay the mouth docks and where the artisanal smelter is. You've got acid streams of Kathy Ambrose. That's right. Back to movies. You mentioned do some doesn't work with the beaver one time.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh it wasn't a lot to do so well. I got interested I got I got connected with the Beeb quite a lot when I was a Bristol sadly because we were doing. I mean not any local television we were doing so much with it with Senate and House. You know as I mentioned we were making film programs are in the search where I wasn't I wasn't I wasn't involved in the actual.
SPEAKER: F8
Programme making but I was involved in getting them what they wanted to make the programmes. In other words I would get them security I'd get them the facilities and make sure they weren't paying the overtime. So I mean they could come and make an hour programme and the factory would be live in those days incidentally. Raymond Baxter would come down on live. Incredible man. You know when you think the way he did it because he'd become an expert in maybe three days rehearsing turned him into an expert on the ram jet for instance. And so I got to know people the BBC very well Max more than wits and then and even be senator so when when I went solo. I did have access to BBC. And we were offering a facility in Bristol wonderful. At that time again you got to remember the local BBC was not used by. London. Ealing hadn't happened as it has today. So when they wanted something done for Manchester. Or London they wouldn't ask the local BBC because they didn't trust the Beeb in London so they'd come to us because they said Well he's more expert than the stringers they're going to produce. So we got involved in making a lot of programmes for the Beeb. Anything about aviation for instance there was a Richard Causton was working this part of the country as I know Richard very well. He would either ask me where I could get material or maybe I would shoot the stuff for him or we'd get involved in you knew to a certain extent with what he was doing.
SPEAKER: F16
And then we we we we made two programmes when I was at Bristol said two programmes are made the industry pressured the BBC into making. They said we weren't doing enough. And the first programme was on the Rolls-Royce side about new materials which was and everybody in the industry thought it was marvellous. I don't know what the public thought but the viewing figures were good for those. But actually the boss man immediately thought this is great and more to be done. And I managed to talk with singer into making a second programme with Max Morgan which. On on the side the best of selling were much better at that was fashioning the materials those had the new materials were developed and we were we were much better fat and that made a film on electron beam welding. Which the ministry here were very keen on it was a very simple film just to show the electron being well it was about to train our people to show people outside how we were doing it it was vague. It was a technology film. When the BBC saw that France and that this is part of what got them interested in making this and we had all the new we had all the way out things of those days in forming materials because this is where it all happens and not in not in aviation but in every engine production. That's where the forefront is that's where the new materials are. This is where you have to do these things. So it was electrochemical machining electron beam well you name it we had it. So the BBC came out and made the programme about Bristol sadly votes and then they they did explosive forming what was then. The British motor corporation and anything new and I thought what Mac's movements was made was it was a splendid film I mean it was called brute force and finesse and the great thing about actually the pounding metal out in showing how we did the modern way I guess I shouldn't say this but I thought that that or missing was wrong. He he changed the program to a certain extent. I think that way and then it was made by Max reasoning was it was really really a brilliant program as a filmmaker. And movie but those programs did very well. And it was after that the discussion started that I and then a lot of other people were hammering away and hammering away in Hemingway after all and can only hammer away at the BBC virtually then. And. And in desperation the BBC said alright we'll start a new program or we'll show you it won't work. And that was really the embryo tomorrow's world. And the idea we had behind tomorrow's I mean an idea I had to mind tomorrow as well. The only other people putting the input in. Ice claimed at the time there was so many people that love to have jumped on the steam engine and then how to drive it to London from Bristol or people to get us a jet airplane and one of those controls about.
SPEAKER: M13
How things work. That's what it was. It was not what has degenerated into Tor. And it started locally in Bristol tomorrow as well. And then grew. And of course it grew into into quite the wrong beast lost down. But all that time all that was going on I was where I was. We were doing either offering facilities to BBC or actually shooting programmes or shooting parts and programmes for them. So so that went on over several years. But again when I started making my own programmes particularly when we got back into 35 millimeter I became much too involved in Asia and with the BBC. They want specific people not only they want to sell the house but they want the specific people and that my dad wanted me or they wanted John can we. And when we were we were busy although we had assistants and we would draft that. That's not what they wanted. So we tended to let just let that side of it go that I had another cameraman called David barman who had worked at the best of it and and when David came back from Zambia where he'd gone off to London had become a Cameron then David can I. I virtually that David takeover a lot of my contacts at the CSI and also in the Beeb. Because he is a very competent camera not of course has his own company. Dan when it's called oh Sandy Wessex. Sandy with us is.
SPEAKER: M7
You mentioned you've worked with Armstrong originally. Of course he's come out with all his reputation and so can you possibly tell me a bit more about it as of course. Are you his exact you've already described recordings artifacts or. He was an exact guy.
SPEAKER: F17
A bird is a most extraordinary filmmaker. Bert was an artist. I mean that's what his background human. And I don't know what made then how Bert became interested in filmmaking but I know he became you start as a cameraman. And he did he did some a I've seen some of the early work he did. I mean the only good part about those early films was his camerawork. And Burton always had his imagination has always been and it's something different. I mean when he made the mirror film a mirror of Holland. I mean when he shot everything upside down and then reversed. I mean. But working with Bert is it's exactly but it's it's it's it's it's the total commitment of Bert his mind his history everything becomes the film. I mean he forgets to tax his motor car he forgets to pay to get to. I think he forgets he's got a wife and a family at times. I mean you just worked. And when you got in the cutting my way because that I didn't work on the shooting in the film I saw one or two things he shot. I got involved with certain things that Bert shot me and we were shooting a 35 millimeter it was early spring color days and the great I mean Bert did all sorts of credible things. I mean he used to do mixes in the camera. Which weren't really mixes then that might sound extreme but what. I mean that one of the examples I give you he had in the rival world he had a goat. Eating a piece of lettuce. Which then went to a man with a goatee beard eating a piece of lettuce. And if you didn't know you'd swear that that was a mix effect what that was. We actually got the the frame. Of the goat eating the lettuce and put in the camera and mouth the camera. And then we shot the man to match.
SPEAKER: F18
It. I mean should.
SPEAKER: F2
We just kind of familial story thing about Bert is not only when he's shooting this he like that but it's the editing. I mean when he edits he we used to do it on the on an L on the old upright editing machines.
SPEAKER: F10
Not in the movie earlier but we used to have in the library we had the latter. Right Michel the editor. But when we were laying the tracks and Dennis Power wrote a long piece about Ray had done something in the Marvel world and I hate to tell you but it was quite wrong. Yet he was also eat something didn't he didn't think up some things would happen in the cutting room because I'd made it as I'd made a sound effect too long. Really unusual was we're breaking with Bert. It's a famous sequence at the end of the Locust. With it with you you see the locusts lying on the ground kicking the last death cake. And we were running we just ran this and we had the sound effect of the answer and flying around the airplane was. And it happened to be there it just happened to overrun and it was a bird just a cub that it's absolutely perfect. Leave that on leave that on because it works. But it was. But things. So he not only had the imagination to plan things but he could also adapt and say it was just total total total involvement in what was happening. And the great thing of course is to see him work on this giant leg the steward. They wrote the commentary. And if you've only got to look at the sequence and the entomologist pulling the drawers out. And the way the commentary and the sound of river with the draw and the dog it works absolute. That's the two of them working together because they're other man I mean I never worked very much Stuart but what I saw Stuart I used to go and sit in the courtroom and watch Stewart work at the John Armstrong when they were making stew. And it's just writing was him. I mean he I mean the work at Shell was at delight if you. And it was worth it even if you just went to one series or something with Stewart because it opened your eyes it was another way. Because of all the editing. I mean he gives you a pile of material and he could editing it to something an absolute. Well of course it was at the march of time back then I suppose that had done it. Well yes. I mean Arthur Elton who was it shall he had Emily Arthur to had something and he could write technical commentary. But Arthur was the film maker in my estimate no not not not Stuart not its chairman isn't a game with somebody but Stuart and Bert together. And of course I've kept contact with Bert throughout the years because one of the major stays of index was having Bert's material. And he's always I mean he's always been delighted and in fact brought other people to us.
SPEAKER: M22
The way we've managed to keep him to his his material gain and make sure it's technically correctly stored. I mean you see I think I think of it. I mean you think of another thing of Bert the glass from was met with Ralph Sheldon to the cutting Ralph as a said of course was cutting in show when I was there I never knew of Alfred but he was cutting it.
SPEAKER: F10
There was a lot of talent there. But I mean glass to me that one of the great documentaries of its time. And that bit from Bert touches always in him.
SPEAKER: M23
And remember. Yeah. In batch of the bottles broken broken and they view their faith. Yeah. Yes absolutely more of a sigh of relief when the line gets you know you see actually Pete is an honourable in this in a funny way had this inspirational thing as well when he was shooting I mean he had a lovely touch and the rhythm is still I think the film was he made. For your mother. And yet when the Met when the man sort of puts out the paper and lights and then lights his fag or forethought stealing it things like that. If putting some of the personal touch into into the into the technology film including Robert Burns Rembrandt I see ageing or shock. Absolutely.
SPEAKER: M22
Well I remember Burt talking about that how he discovered the eyes were exactly the same distance in that oh I mean I haven't spent a bit of some time every now and then we eat birds greying I mean he's like everybody he become a bond stage but he still keeps at it. I mean in ape and supreme I've never known a film be so popular as as a library film as then. I mean we've had people come into the library especially Jack a Japanese man came in and he said he only had so much money to spend and I must admit these are days when more people came and looked at stuff on on Steinbeck the day we send tapes out. But the man came in and we were running ape and soup rape on another Steinbeck and in between these he looked round. And the end of the. He said he wanted some more please. And he pulled out some more dollars out of his pocket. He wanted what was on that machine.
SPEAKER: F19
And that's what Bert's footage is like always. Anything to do with Burt is is like that. I had another. We had another man a man called John the silver. In South Africa. Who made films about South Africa. He was the best Lybia library cameraman in the world as far as I was concerned but even say it because he was sick for three days. If it took three days to get the light right and the conditions like to shoot what he was shooting. But when it came it was absolutely superb. I mean he shot stuff in the NAMA. I mean.
SPEAKER: F10
It is extraordinary stuff. I mean that man again. And unfortunately John was killed in a plane crash. Or perhaps even better. It was John's helicopter shooting round South Africa of the mountains. Quite extraordinary what he did. But he the great thing about John he'd work with that mad Italian.
SPEAKER: F11
Made Africa idea crew members Dave. But he learned that you don't take no for an answer. And you always ask for more than you want.
SPEAKER: F10
Because they can then say no and you get half of what you eventually get back to what you want because they denied you what you don't really want. And John I mean John was the sort of person who would get the mail boat to turn round to go into Cape Town because he wanted to film and arriving. But he only arrived in that you survived so early morning couldn't shoot it. But he actually talked I mean to turn the mail boat round and doing it three times so you got the shot right from the helicopter. Where he got a train to backup eight times over the famous Toms River. Steam train. I mean the footage is absolutely magnificent but he wanted it right. It had to be as he wants it. I mean he was the person who claimed he was frightened of telling me I'm filming from a helicopter.
SPEAKER: F19
And his assistant told me one night it's a game. So France and filming from a helicopter when we were they were filming the mackerel and daisies.
SPEAKER: F10
You know you get the carpet of these days across the desert. He said he forced the pilot to go so low that three times they bumped the skids into into into the desert floor. So nearly crashed. That's the guy the person with extraordinary commitment stormed the ideas but lost because he wasn't working in the right environment. Was he killed on duty or coming back from location. Oh yes. No actually none. No he was nearly killed. I mean even bogeys back for an elephant. He even had been a game warden. I mean he's famous from other living. No no I was called The Living game I think was cool.
SPEAKER: F2
Was the film about a beautifully shot again.
SPEAKER: F10
He was a person who could shoot wild animals and they never stood still. I mean the most extraordinary you know that you'd see an antelope getting up in the morning and stretching like you've never seen anything in stretching in your life. That was his shot of an angel and not just the thing sitting there munching a grass.
SPEAKER: F11
It was beautiful stuff. Understood it all. Oh yeah.
SPEAKER: M15
I mean you go back out there like that.
SPEAKER: F11
Yes yes yes.
SPEAKER: M24
I did a film in Botswana once he gave me all the gear of support. Yes.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah yeah. They were film centers Africa. They were called Blake Dillman Palin and an American Hancock who shot who shot all underground footage for me in our on the go from another. Another great man another great filmmaker. Only problem is very difficult to work with 6000 miles because he started a new phenom to talk about Russia. But I mean he would shoot a game shooting that extraordinary beautiful stuff. And hit me again. Very talented but unfortunately they were on the periphery. You know they were making they weren't seeing television there was no television in South Africa. They weren't getting enough for the film and they were working on their own. So they were sort of working. And it was a real time war. But what they were doing but despite that. They were.
SPEAKER: F11
Doing some very good stuff.
SPEAKER: M15
You you've just told me of magic murderers in film making. In fact I've experienced myself. I thought my ideas were and worked with an editor. Magic comes out.
SPEAKER: M25
When you were down here working with Bristol Sinclair and then with gazelle.
SPEAKER: M24
Did your filmmaking become really more of a sort of business operation. Or did you have moments of joy when you were making films save resources.
SPEAKER: F2
No no. Bristol said I always kept a certain joy to myself. In other words I I kept certain film me when I had an annual budget of so much. And if I could get the films I want and made under budget I had that money and also had a television budget. And I I proceed to make a couple of films on aerobatics.
SPEAKER: F20
And they were very simple and they were I.
SPEAKER: F2
I saw Miss training films for my staff. And we made one on the red pelicans which really rose. Yet I another that from a terribly successful. I mean you know it was something that went on British television just like that. And that was the joy. I mean being able to do things like that. But funny thing was there was also joy to me to make some technical films. I made a film about you every day except Christmas.
SPEAKER: F20
When the great Lindsay Anderson found. But I found sandwiches every day including Christmas. And that was testing bits of metal. Now it sounds awful. But testing bits metal I heat them up and they made them as beautiful colors and we made a technical film about it now that nobody else would have fund that drivable life. I did. So I kept my interest in shooting it kept my well then most of what I was doing was running making sure that everything else and making sure that people had what they wanted. And.
SPEAKER: F2
I mean even when we made power to serve which is a film that did so well knew about jet engines. I actually did all the aerial footage and there were things I loved Jake shot and there were things we missed when he wasn't around because you might not have the aeroplanes you know they'd be in pieces to they were all test aeroplanes. So I went and did some of the shooting myself on that so I was in I had that involvement. But I've always had there was always a joy to me to go and shoot air to air it that. But then of course I have a strange thing also I'm quite pleased when people use my material in their films. And that's a that's something about index. And. It's best that I stay out of index because if somebody comes in the front door and they ask for something. I want to find it for them. With my staff and I'm much better than I do. They know a people are serious. But I I've got I have a memory also have a vague memory of what I've shot or what I've been involved in or what's in the library. I'm I can still go back and find stuff in show films for instance when I worked there. Which people have forgotten about because logging doesn't tell you. I mean even these new even these new computer things it doesn't tell you what's on the shot. Especially if you do the front in frame of something and so it's ludicrous you can't sell something you've got to know what's what happens in that shot. And there might be some twist but then within the actual. Shot itself. There might be something about the light doing something or there might be something some action that happens. And I still get quite it it's given me that's kept me sane and sort of giving me a great deal of pleasure having my stuff used by the people I shot a sequence in Namibia. And I actually shot it myself because they didn't let me and my son helped me and I had recordist with me because it was in the days when you couldn't get in the diamond mines and they let me in because my father used Ernest and all the people they'd let us send because. I so I had to shoot the sequence myself on 35 and we shot a sequence of them clearing. The sand from one area and building great dumps in the desert. And I spent two days doing it vote on the thing. And that seems to me I mean I don't know why sometimes when you're filming things work out. I mean usually things break down the middle of shots or trains hit the points and go the wrong way. This everything happened right. These enormous vehicles are gigantic these damper things. One would come down the road they would skid down down these dumps and just as that one skid it then turned out picture one would come in from the other side and the pieces to go up. It all worked. I'm ashamed to say that secrets are still being used although it was shot I know that was shot in the early seventies and what irritated me was used in that very bad programme recently on diamonds when they were having a go at Oppenheimer's. Blend with my secret then we come up in that they've got hold of it and it really that irritated me. But that was a joy to do that sequence. It's just one of those things and you see I. My editor knew me and you had that Nigel Ashcroft and Nigel was my editor. So the two of us were working together. That was quite nice to know that I could get could trust and give something to Nigel and he would make it better and I could not couldn't cut it myself. And then what I'd shot. This the difference with Burt of course. I mean there was no one better cutting it himself. He would use editors. But. I've long realized it better to give somebody else the entity if you could do. It. It's a mixture of talents and I don't think because of our union background. Sometimes it got through but really the reason behind having a team is that the talents can all come together. I think there's often got forgotten the argument that when people say Oh you haven't got enough people with nothing to read to do that you need those number of people to get the best out of what you're doing within the confines of what you're doing.
SPEAKER: M24
I know some of the landscape shots as of mine that are in your library now. They were they were all shot totally accidentally. These are even the spark and I shouldn't say the spark of course but the spark spotted the effect of life on the Hill. I hadn't noticed that reading is something you see a lot of field. And in turn rags. If you want to get that road it looks tasty. You know I thought about would like chill out cold but we wrapped all the gear and set it up and we got justice the sun moved across it but it's never used never used in the production but it looked nice and cool.
SPEAKER: F20
These are things that I think movies yeah. These are for here. These things get picked up. I mean I had the same thing when we were traveling from Bryce Canyon. Into Bryce Canyon and we'd come from Las Vegas and was a hundred in the shade. And we got up stood up to Bryce Canyon and we suddenly found in this in this heating control we were suddenly we didn't realize it but we were in the. Cold cold weather we came around the corner suddenly snow and it was time to blow and we got the best blizzard shut out in a shot and we do it. I mean we've been sitting in his shirtsleeves. I got out. David Bauman froze it so well we can't get it better do it. You'll never see that again. And that shot. I mean it's been used over and over and over again. I've often to say this when you see something shoot it. In and that's why I say to people going to the east to the arctic circle above their game for God's sake when you're in production remember the library shoot for library.
SPEAKER: M26
And it had hardly any English. Some of it was very little and but she was extremely kind but she was saying to them that here I am I'm I'm the lady that does the telephone thing you know the telephone commercial. Of course never watched it.
SPEAKER: M27
So she could have been anybody. But anyway. Then. The. Final thing in the saga.
SPEAKER: M28
And then went off to do a film a game with both Clark and for MGM which we started the preparation in Los Angeles and then went to Cleveland and did the thing back to North Carolina to do the set. Oh you keep going back to North Carolina to do sets maybe because it is much more economic to work there. Well. My son my story which was a sequel to one that Paul Clark did many years ago about twelve years ago called A Christmas Story. I don't know if this will be quite as good. I don't know if the little boy is as good as the boy in the first one but 12 years old. You can't use any of you know you can't use the parents you can't use the Net. No sir. Anyway. But it was interesting to do. I mean in Cleveland it meant. They were back.
SPEAKER: M29
Strange enough to the same location that they'd used on the first film and there was a vacant lot next door. So we built a house on the lot completely.
SPEAKER: M31
And it was supposed to be in that sort of hillbilly type house or hillbillies had lived there virtually wrecked the joint.
SPEAKER: M28
So now fortunately in 12 years the damage that had been done to the house that they used previously was beyond belief. I mean it was in one of these areas where people were well on relief.
SPEAKER: M31
And the police used to go there every night to look out for drug runners and all this. It was that's where the area become so at least we upmarket it brought it up.
SPEAKER: M29
But I mean Cleaver It was fascinating clearly white as a town knows his great steel town there were all these steel mills but fascinating because it's called still three theaters.
SPEAKER: M28
Good Lord. And one of these is huge is sort of fifteen hundred seater and there's another one which was there was a cinema 3000 seat cinema. We've seen a process of restoring that they were all in a complex. And of course the great sort of holidays aren't they. I mean fourth of July in the main square in Cleveland. They had the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. Seventy thousand people cram into the square. They have symphony concerts and they ending up with the great fireworks display. And wonderful. Really well I absolutely love it.
SPEAKER: M32
Bollywood. That was a funny thing in New York. We're doing. What I do it seems to be my thing on that train so I don't want it to be on this bridge of the 59 Street bridge. Of course the forward display takes place right below the island. And they just more the barge is in the middle of the river. And you've got this fantastic found his way. So there we were being paid fairly nice. It's fantastic to watch the fireworks. So watch the fireworks. Yes. And then 20th. Really appreciate it very much. But that was it. And in Detroit Fourth of July again. Yeah. But it's this way. They have to that because you got Canada on one side of the river and America on the other the Canadians that day I think is the first of July. The Americans is the fourth. And so I think it's on the second or the third.
SPEAKER: M27
They have a combined celebration. I don't know what's great. Anyway that's the story so far. Good. Which which is that which is your highlight three.
SPEAKER: M29
Which film do I appreciate. Yes yes. I've done I think murder by decree in an exam mean everything was shot on the stage wasn't it.
SPEAKER: M28
This is outrageous. Dream really watch. Absolutely. And that there's been several occasions both in life when it's been shown on television and other places where it's.
SPEAKER: M34
Been a little tougher battle and there's always says you know and the real star is Harry Potter set.
SPEAKER: M27
Very nice. That may be the best friend of Paul Clark. There it is it's rather nice. It's a good start again.
SPEAKER: M30
Would you rather do something different no I don't think sir.
SPEAKER: M28
Maybe one would have tried to go on it and produced a film or. Yes I think I'm a bit more involved in that side rather than the last shot a way to a certain extent. I think there are the parties is is a strange outfit greatly because most other departments seem terribly insular. I mean camera department only really interesting cameras sound and sound whereas in the other point you really have to be interested in everybody else's job to away because you know in a funny way you have to accommodate them all. So consequently you learn a little bit more about what makes them tick and what they do and how they do it whereas nobody seems to be interested in what we do and how we do it. They seem to think you know you spit on the floor or just chat to a chippy and it all happens but you right there on the plane is that.
SPEAKER: M27
Yeah. You know. Well it just happens.
SPEAKER: M35
Yeah it's funny in that is doesn't it I don't know it.
SPEAKER: M26
I think that I'm glad I was able to do it when I did it. I think the sad thing is the magic has gone. I remember talking with my son my son would say oh well they just used a blue screen. And you know there's an obstacle and that's he's not lady Dad. They put in afterwards and all this.
SPEAKER: M29
And I talk.
SPEAKER: M26
He's only nine or 10 years old. Now when I was nine or 10 I went to the cinema.
SPEAKER: M34
It was magic believed every second of it.
SPEAKER: M26
It was fascinating. Nobody told me how it was all done. Now they turn on the Blue Peter on the telly and they know every trick in the book. There's no magic left at all because the cinema is gone and you think what they missed really. And I think in a way it's the same when you think now if you looked at the list of films being made here how many really art directors film or designers films. Not many. No. No. And you know it's sad. It's like the Oscars. How can room with a view get the design award which was all made on location. You know and yet by the same token there were films being made with fantastic sets.
SPEAKER: M34
You know and you think well alive you know I've always quarrelled with these nominations. I won a few years ago I was on a jury for BAFTA Best Editing and one of the four films was Woody Allen film. Now how can you put that up. Because you know how he shoots it. There's a group of people and he puts the camera and they play to one another cup. It's the next bit you know he doesn't cover because he he wants to direct it exactly as he wants it. And the shorts say how can you put that up for editing. I mean mostly the editing is cutting the numbers up and sticking it together. You know that's a little bit oversimplified but it's ridiculous.
SPEAKER: M27
Yes.
SPEAKER: M28
Well it was a pleasure. Well it's been a fantastic cook all times for.