|Don Calder tells his story of life at Ripponlea - January 2010|
While this contribution emanates from experiences in the ABC in Victoria it is included on the Gore Hill web-site as it typifies the evolutionary development of life in the film world. Most of the Sydney Film Department staff of the 50s have passed on as they were experienced recruits from the long established film industry and therefore of an older age.
As history goes I was among those lucky people who got the break into film work because of the advent of Australian Television re the 1956 Olympic Games, and more so into the ABC TV film department in Melbourne which we all felt was the best training ground at that time in experience and experiment.
As an amateur film maker I was delighted to be appointed in late 1957 as a despatch assistant in the film library. Later as an assistant to Russell Hurley, an experienced Film Editor, I happened to mention that I was working on a magnetic film recorder, he urged me to get it finished ASAP. Together with the blessing of our Film Supervisor, Kip Porteous we established a 16mm double system location set-up for filming of major film inserts and small productions at ABV Ripponlea. Kip Porteous O.K'd me to go out with my recorder and the film crew. He allowed me a payment of ' three quid a day' with the cheque sent to my father! It eventually flowed back to my account. They were interesting years.
By now we were only shooting
single system magnetic stripe sound for news stories, but occasionally
they would hire my machine when they wanted better quality sound on certain
I had built a second recorder with advanced features and operated it over the ensuing years, (still at 3 quid a day!) until Geoff Daniels came to Melbourne to replace Kip Porteous as Film Supervisor. Kip was transferred to Sydney to take up a new position. A few years later Geoff Daniels moved to adopt the Light weight 1/4 inch Sync.Tape System; first the Swiss Perfectone then the Nagra Neo-pilot System (also Swiss) and the rest is history.
Needless to say it put me 'out
of business' , but I had enjoyed great times working with my own gear.
I continued with film editing, sometimes expanding into sound editing
and enjoying that also.
Double system location sound had been a passion of mine for years, maybe because I was born in 1930, a major year of Australian film sound!, but that's pushing things a bit??.
I hope this gives you a bit
of an idea of what the ABC experience has meant to one grateful person.
There would be simultaneous developments in both Sydney and Melbourne.
I have done no research per se, it's all from personal experience as I
remember it, and thankfully I have been blessed with a good memory.