Ed Berlage - CAMERA MEMORIES

 

 

Olympic Games Melbourne

It was a very exciting time for us. We covered the activities in the main arena {MCG) on the opening day. We were televising the water polo in the swimming pool on the day the Hungarian Team and the Russian team forgot that they were there to win a match and got stuck into each other under water. At the velodrome we covered the cyclists competing around the track. We broke for lunch. I felt like having a nice glass of wine, talked a couple of others into sharing a bottle with me….. but being ardent beer drinkers from way back, they forgot their intention (who drinks plonk, anyway) and ordered the usual schooner (or Melbourne equivalent) and left me with the bottle of wine. It was too good a bottle to leave behind - so I consumed it all. Back to the velodrome and on to the platform - face into the viewfinder and hand on the pan handle - and followed the cyclists round and round the track. I really did a great job. Ken Middleton was heard to say "Great camera work- his feet never touched the platform!"

 

 

STUDIO 227 - The Port Jackson Jazz Band

George Trevare was the producer. He was a radio producer and music man and a band leader and he was very experienced in those areas. But….television was a new media to George. And there was the Port Jackson Jazz Band in studio 227 (Kings Cross). George wondered what the best way was to cover the event. He looked at the musicians. There was this big fellow with the Sousaphone and he noted that they sort of decreased in size. He remembered the TV training workshop and that there were different types of movements for cameras. They could "dolly" in and out and they could also "truck" - moving along the talent from left to right and vice versa. He looked again at the musicians and lined them up decreasing in size from left to right. Boys, he said, this is an opportunity for a "trucking shot". And so it was. Left to right, right to left, left to right etc.

 

 

Outside Broadcast – The Rotolactor

Off to Camden we went to televise the Rotolactor, a rotating platform with cows that were being milked by a machine as they went around. All went well during the rehearsal. Then it was time to go to air. The platform rotated, the cows were being milked. My camera was pointed at the animal that rotated past my position. It was a sort of "rear view" of the beast being milked. "Take two" said the producer. My shot went to air. As on cue, the cow right in front of my camera lifted it’s tail and did it’s business. What a shot! "Shit I muttered" and I was right. It took a while to clean the front of my camera.

 

 

In the Studio- Joe Jenkins

The dancer was Joe Jenkins, a burly Afro American. He was good. I had him in the viewfinder and was using a pedestal. The rehearsal went well. The producer got all excited and said "push in fast to a mid shot". I did as ordered and got a beaut shot. What was the little bump of the pedestal? The producer (was it Harry Pringle?) was overjoyed. Then came the command "now pull back" and I did, to reveal Joe Jenkins jumping up and down holding his toe. If looks could kill, that would have been the end of my life there and then.

 

 

In the studio – The unperturbed singer

There I was, on the Crane and there was the singer upstage in the studio. "Dolly in" said the producer. I motioned the driver (Bill Dayhew) and we took off towards the singer. A nice "mid shot" the producer had said. I nodded my head for the crane to stop. Nothing happened. I nodded more frantically, no result. The picture of the singer in my viewfinder was rapidly changing. Head and shoulders –head - nose and then - two eyes. The crane came to a halt. Looking around I saw a rather white faced driver and a number of trainees hanging on to the crane. They whispered "BRAKES FAILED!" The singer kept on singing, never "blinked an eye" not realising that it had been "seconds to disaster!"

 

 

The Town Hall - Sydney Symphony Orchestra

We had just finished setting up. My camera position was on the balcony at the far end of the hall looking directly at the orchestra. The musicians had taken to their seats and were awaiting the conductor. We were all "set to go". Just then the CCU operator noticed some picture problem and talked to me on the intercom. I had to reply and talked quietly (I thought) into the microphone. I was wearing headphones so could not hear the ambient sound too well. Suddenly I thought there was an ominous quiet in the hall. The orchestra had stopped tuning up. I shifted the headphone off one ear to hear the conductor say "if the ABC man there on the balcony is quite finished we can start". Moment like that you need………..

 

Ed Berlage joined the ABC in July 1956. He commenced on OB's as a Technician. He then progressed to Senior Tech Studios (Camera), Supervising Technician Gd.A Telerecord Processing, Senior Film Instructor, Supervising Technician Gd.B Telerecord , Senior Technical Officer (Central Operations) and Supervisor Transmission Operations TV. He retired from the ABC in 1985.

 

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