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.
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."