National E-News January 2014


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In this Issue:

  • From The President
  • Film Review: Philomena by James Cunningham
  • Women Film Something
  • AFTRS OPEN Cinematography Courses
  • Sony launches new NXCAM™ HXR-NX3

From The President

Happy New Year to my fellow ACS members, sponsors, supporters and friends.

It was only yesterday I was sitting in the comfortable surrounds of one of our cinema complexes relishing the fantastic film that is The Railway Man. Wonderful filmmaking, superb performances and a truly inspirational story. Some superb imagery from our very own Garry Phillips ACS, whose collaboration with Director Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man, Better Than Sex and Gettin' Square, goes from strength to strength.

Maybe a mandatory resolution for 2014 should be for us all to see more Australian films, put more bums on seats so we can ensure our industry, our dedicated Producers, Directors, Writers continue to receive the support and the funding required to produce Australian films, Australian stories for us all to enjoy. We make great films here in Australia, so let’s show the world how proud we are of our local industry, and go see more Australian films!

In my Christmas stocking was a copy of Sue Milliken’s new book “Selective Memory: A life in Film”. I thoroughly recommend you purchase a copy of this entertaining and informative read, from an innovative Producer, who has witnessed the growth and change within our industry first hand. Published by Hybrid Publishers – You won’t be disappointed!

The 3RD AACTA AWARDS CEREMONY will take place on 30 January 2014 at the Star Event Centre Pyrmont, Sydney and it is then the ACS will be presented with the Byron Kennedy Award for 2014, in Sydney at the Star Complex. It would be great to see as many of you there as possible to share the occasion, as it’s a result of our collective hard work over many years that has seen the Society receive this prestigious Award. As I’ve said previously, this is a truly humbling and most appreciated honour for all in the ACS.

It would be fantastic to see you there to help celebrate, so go to for ticket details.

By now you should have received your copy of AC Magazine, and my congratulations to our Guest Editor Geoff Burton ACS, for yet another informative and enthralling magazine. Like Geoff, I remember the very first time I saw John Heyer’s classic film “Back of Beyond”, and the impression it made on me at that time, and has continued to do so. If you haven’t seen it, please do so as it really is a classic Australian film that deserves all the accolades it receives. Thanks so much Geoff, Dick, Heidi and all the AC Magazine team for delivering another great issue of our flagship.

I wish you all the very best for 2014 and to again thank all the Branch committees for your tireless work on behalf of the Society, along with our dedicated National and Branch sponsors without whom we could not have achieved what we have.

Until next time
Ron Johanson ACS
National President

ACS FILM REVIEW “PHILOMENA” - by James Cunningham

Imbued with comedy and tragedy, British Director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen) brings to life to a true story of the further yet little-known injustices of the church.

In a perfectly suited role, 79-year-old Yorkshire actress Dame Judy Dench (Shakespeare In Love, Skyfall) remarkably transcends into the titular character of Philomena Lee - a women who was forced to give up an illegitimate son fifty years earlier, who’d kept that secret all her life, and who now desperately wants to track down her son. Dench effortlessly wrings warmth and a relate-ability to her Lee by pumping dignity into this simple woman; one scene in particular stands out where Philomena describes the complicated plot-line of novel she is reading.

Grainy hand-held and sometimes sentimental flashbacks and home movies of Philomena’s youth are perfectly juxtaposed by Frears against the stark reality of the modern day, and Philomena’s predicament. Shot by Irish DOP Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights) there is also a lovely ‘mystery narrative’ to the film that viewers who are not familiar story can follow. Ryan is best know for his collaborations with film-maker Andrea Arnold, he was DOP on her Oscar-winning short film WASP, and they have since made several films British features together.

An impressive showing, too, from actor Steve Coogan (A Night At The Museum, The Trip) who breaks away from his comic type-casting co-starring alongside Dench as former BBC Foreign Correspondent Martin Sixsmith and real-life author of The Lost Child of Philomena Lee (the book on which the film is based). Coogan also co-writes this impressive screenplay. Yes, the film highlights one of the many injustices perpetrated by religious organisation the world over, but this isn’t just ‘church bashing’ as the film has been criticised for. Philomena itself is relatively balanced in that sense, and it is only Coogan’s Sixsmith characher who drives the point home.

Spoiler alert: take the tissues. Four stars.

WOMEN FILM SOMETHING proudly supported by the ACS

An exciting new short film competition ‘Women Film Something’ was launched on the 20th November, at the tenth Women Say Something event: The Power of Music. The announcement was made by Women Say Something Founder and artistic director Steph Sands, who has teamed with up and coming young film maker Epiphany Morgan to create a unique film competition focussed on participation at a grass roots level by women for women.

Entrants are asked to consider the theme ‘Use Your Voice’ as a springboard to tell a story, communicate a message, introduce an idea or express themselves within a five minute short film, documentary or animation. The theme is designed as a broad platform to inspire creativity and diversity, with the film being judged on its relevance to women and its content, rather than technical genius. The films need to tell women’s stories, whether the story is personal or historical, fact or fiction, funny or serious. “Entry is free, so if you have something to say, and a smart phone, you are halfway there. You don’t need a big budget or excellent cinematography skills to have a great idea, or make a great film - or to use your voice,” Steph says.

As well as encapsulating the theme ‘Use Your Voice’, films will be assessed according to the Bechdel Test, where it must include at least two women having a conversation about something other than a man. Hollywood films have historically failed the Bechdel Test due to the predominance of male directors, writers and studio executives telling stories about men. The Los Angeles Times reported that members of the academy who vote for the Oscars each year are 94% Caucasian and 77% male. When looking at the 2013 Oscar nominated films for best picture, only three out of nine passed the Bechdel Test – unsurprisingly, they are also the two with a woman co-screenwriter or woman director. While the Bechdel Test is not perfect, it provides an alternative focus for entrants of Women Film Something and together with the theme ‘Use Your Voice’, will ensure women’s stories are told.

The films will be judged by eminent industry professionals and the three finalists will be screened at the Women Say Something Mardi Gras 2014 event at the Sydney Town Hall on 28th February, where the audience will decide the overall inaugural winner. Some great prizes are up for grabs and will be announced over the coming weeks.

Entries close on 31st January, more information available at

For further information, please phone Steph Sands 0411 242 605 or email [email protected]


Specialised courses in the New Year include: ADVANCED LIGHTING SKILLS with Louis Irving (22 - 24 Jan), PETER JAMES ANAMORPHIC LENS MASTERCLASS (15 - 16 Feb). Plus there are still some spots in introductory SUMMER SCHOOL courses in January including TV CAMERA, SOUND & LIGHTING SKILLS. 10% AFTRS Open Discounts apply to all ACS members. For details of all current AFTRS Open courses visit the website:

Advanced Lighting Skills (22 - 24 Jan)

Peter James Anamorphic Lens Masterclass (15 - 16 Feb)

Summer School: TV Camera, Sound & Lighting Skills (6 - 10 or 20 - 24 Jan)

Summer School: Filmmaking Intensive (20 - 24 Jan OR 3 - 7 Feb)

Sony launches new NXCAM™ HXR-NX3 professional handheld HD camcorder with Exmor™ 3CMOS image sensors

Sony have announced the HXR-NX3 handheld HD camcorder, the latest addition to the NXCAM line-up. The HXR-NX3 combines Sony’s exceptional imaging technology with the ability to connect seamlessly with other devices such as smartphones or tablet computers, with built-in WiFi technology allowing the camcorder to be controlled remotely.

The HXR-NX3 combines class-leading lens, sensor and LSI technologies to achieve impressive image quality. Sony’s Exmor™ 3CMOS sensor system with three 1/2.8” sensors provides a 1920x1080 Full HD effective pixel count. As a result red, blue and green light are independently and accurately captured by separate image sensors, contributing to high resolution, high sensitivity and wide dynamic range that creates extraordinary natural colour reproduction. A newly developed LSI that includes advanced noise reduction and several distortion correction technologies handles image processing, allowing clear, low-noise recordings to be captured, even in low light.

Sony’s G Lens delivers stunning image quality as well as a wide zoom range that offers a 28.8mm angle of view at the wide end, with a 20x optical zoom range that will easily cover most shooting situations. In addition, the newly developed LSI contains leading-edge 40x “Clear Image Zoom” technology, which offers 1152mm(*1) focal length with virtually the same quality as optical zoom. The LSI also includes advanced noise reduction and several distortion correction technologies to handle image processing and deliver notable improvements in image quality. As a result, the recorded images are remarkably lifelike in both texture and detail.

The HXR-NX3 records video in AVCHD 2.0 format, which includes 1080/50P, for smooth, natural subject motion. 50i and 25p modes provide playback compatibility with Blu-ray players. The HDMI connector provides uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 while shooting and allows users to record stunning images to 3rd-party external video recorders. The ability to record in DV format is also provided for users who prefer a DV workflow and who need to work in a DV-compatible non-linear editing environment.

As well as outstanding imaging capabilities, the HXR-NX3 can connect effortlessly with other devices to be controlled remotely or transfer footage. iOS (versions 4.3 through 7.0) and Android (versions 2.3 through 4.3) smartphones or tablet computers can be used to remotely control the HXR-NX3 through a WiFi connection and video files can be transferred from camcorder to smartphone(*2). Remote control features include:

• Monitoring of camera material on the smartphone display
• Record start/stop
• Zoom
• Iris
• Touch AF (Auto Focus) function

The HXR-NX3 is capable of light MP4 file simultaneous recording. MP4 (720p, 3Mbps) is a network-friendly file that can be transferred wirelessly from the camcorder to a smartphone or tablet computer with the PlayMemories™ Mobile smartphone application (*3). Once transferred, the MP4 file can be uploaded to a cloud server, social media, video share site and other platforms (*4). PlayMemories™ Mobile can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or App Store.

The HXR-NX3 also has a leading edge NFC (Near Field Communication) chipset which allows users to establish a WiFi connection simply by touching an NFC-compatible smartphone or tablet computer on the camcorder.

Nick Buchner, Senior Product Manager, Sony Australia & New Zealand, said: “The HXR-NX3 is a fantastic addition to the Sony NXCAM line-up particularly for filmmakers working on corporate, event, wedding and education videos. We also expect the MP4 function to make it a hit with web journalists who need to share images with colleagues as quickly as possible, while the WiFi remote and built-in LED video light help make shooting interviews easier. The HXR-NX3 is destined to become the ‘go to’ camcorder in the handheld field. As you would expect, it includes outstanding imaging capabilities that allow the capture of stunning footage in a range of environments.
The HXR-NX3 also comes with a number of additional features for versatility when shooting and to minimise the need for additional equipment. The camcorder can capture footage in both slow and quick motion in full HD quality, with 2x slow motion and 50x quick motion easily achievable. Dual media slots allow simultaneous recording to two SD memory cards in ‘Simul’ mode, while ‘Relay’ mode switches recording automatically to the second memory card when the first is full. The two cards can also be controlled independently from two recording buttons. This flexible control allows users to start/stop recording on one memory card, while continuing to record on the other, for proof recording (*5). A built in LED video light is also included above the camcorder microphone, for convenient illumination in a wide range of shooting situations (*6).

The HXR-NX3 will be available in Australia and New Zealand from the end of January 2014.

ACS National Headquarters
Level 2, 26 Ridge Street,
North Sydney
NSW 2060
Ph: 02 8920 8535

Just a reminder that there are no specified opening hours for the HQ, but our resident tenant Ashley Roan (God love him!) is there most days of the week Mon- Fri between 10.30am and 4.00pm to let you in.
On Saturdays and Sundays you will need to contact us on the emails below.

HQ Manager: David Lewis ACS email
Assistant HQ Manager: Anna Howard ACS email


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