SA eNews May 2015 - National Awards - Colour Grading wrap up - Drones - Profile Dai Cookes - ACS / AADC CoSponsorship - Plus more


2015 National Awards wrap up

Wow, does Tassie know how to put on a great awards weekend. The expo, screening & Q&A of Gallipoli, the reception at Government House and the Awards night at stunning MONA. A real success, congrats to Tassie Pres Peter Curtis ACS and his committee.

230 glammed up members, partners, sponsors and friends attended the sold out awards night and we were spoilt with great food, wine, service and a very smooth running awards.

There were many tributes for Andrew Lenis ACS ASC. Andrew was very generous to the SA branch and he held a great Masterclass for us last year. One of Australia's greatest cinematographers has wrapped way to early, sadly I will miss him! May he rest in peace.

SA came away with 2 gongs, Aaron Gully won an Award of Distinction for his corporate on Adelaide Oval and I was honoured and humbled to receive a Gold Tripod for the short film "Injury Time". I'm extremely proud to have won this as I know they are very hard to get!

Check out all of the winners on our website: or to see clips of the winners go to The ACS 2015 Showreelfinder awards site:

As you probably know we are hosting the next National Awards in Adelaide on April 30 2016 so put the date in your diary now. Our State awards will be held on Saturday October 30 2015 so start assembling your best work.

Also if you are thinking of applying for ACS Accreditation this year submissions must be received between July 1 and July 31. Maybe talk to me first if you are contemplating applying.

Colour Correction & Grading

23 of our members attended the colour correction and colour grading night presented by Master grader, Dan Principe in RSP's grading theaterette.

Dan graciously explained his philosophy and thoughts on grading and correction and had a plethora of before / after examples which highlighted how much can be done to well exposed images.

He discussed some common issues and interesting problems that he's come across and how to deliver images suitable for a colourist to work with.

In all a great, educational night, thanks Dan.

I believe you can always learn something, so members do try and get along to our nights and remember to rsvp when asked to do so and if you then can't make it please also let us know.

Remotely piloted aircraft rule changes coming soon

Important changes to the rules covering the commercial operation of small remotely piloted aircraft are being finalised. These changes will remove the requirement for commercial operations of remotely piloted aircraft weighing less than two kilograms to have approvals from CASA as long as the flights are conducted according to standard operating conditions. These conditions will allow flights in non-populous areas more than 30 metres from people, below 400 feet and only during the day time, with the remotely piloted aircraft in line of sight.

In a recent speech CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore said changes to the regulations are expected to be made in the second half of 2015. Mr Skidmore said CASA is also considering issuing a manual of standards to support the remotely piloted aircraft regulations. This manual of standards would contain information on licensing, controlled airspace training, records management and operational standards. The advantage of having a manual of standards is that it would allow CASA to respond more quickly to changes in technology and other circumstances.

Mr Skidmore said CASA will begin work on developing a new set of regulations covering all commercial remotely piloted aircraft operations once the soon to be made changes are bedded down.

The new regulations will cover issues such as beyond visual line of sight flights, operating in non-segregated airspace and flights with various degrees of autonomy and automation. “We are considering the long term integration of remotely piloted aircraft into aviation operations in all classes of airspace,” Mr Skidmore said. “However, there are significant technological advances, regulatory changes, training and skills, procedures, documentation and education that need to happen before integration into all classes of airspace can take place. Further, there are a significant number of technical issues for which standards have not yet been determined around the world.”

Read the Director’s speech on the safety and regulation of remotely piloted aircraft:

Your branch is intending to hold a drone night soon so stay tuned........

Profile ACS member & Gold Sponsor Dai Cookes

Setting up a hide, with son Tim, for "A Current Affair" story on how abandoned cars get stolen

Dai, please tell me about your christian name? Do you pronounce it day or di?
Mmmm- long story actually, but basically it’s a welsh version of David. In Wales it’s pronounced Di, but my Mum wanted it pronounced Day (because that’s what my older brother called my Dad). So I’ve spent many hours of my adult life explaining my name. My usual explanation is that as I was the sixth kid in my family, my Mum just said to Dad “Let’s call it a day” and he misunderstood what she was saying.

What's your favourite TV show?
BBC doco’s especially from Michael Mosley

Your favourite movie?
I’m not very sophisticated, I love old comedies like “Life of Brian” and the Pink Panther series.

Dai, I hear you were a late starter in this industry...
Yeah, I think I was about 30 before I ever picked up a camera professionally. I grew up in country South Australia until I was about 10 when my family settled in Belair. Dad was a bank manager and my son is now an accountant so I’m the black sheep of the family. I was pretty good at Maths and Physics at school so I went off to uni to study Applied Physics. I wanted to be a research scientist, but I was way too lazy, chased girls too much and dedicated all my spare time to playing guitar, so the uni booted me out.

Dai vision switching at Adelaide Convention Centre

So what did you do then?
I had enough of my degree finished to get a job teaching high school science. That lasted for 5 or 6 years, but I was restless, and really wanted to do something more creative so I turned to music.

How did your music career go?
It was great fun. I worked in recording studios, played in pub bands for about 15 years, and eventually bought the then 6 month old business Holden Hill Music. I owned that for about 7 years, and we sold all the rock and roll instruments, as well as running a school for about 300 students per week. My bands never got famous, but we made some money and we were OK.

But then that stopped too?
Yeah it was a bit weird, two guys came into the shop one day, offered to buy it, and the next day I was unemployed, cashed up and wondering what to do with the rest of my life. I’ve never been good at long term planning.

On location in the Flinders Ranges

So how did you land in this industry?
I knew a couple of guys who had a production company, and they asked me to come in with them as a kind of admin/sales guy. I didn’t even know what a production company was, but I got lots of new business for them. But we produced pretty dodgy work, so eventually I fired them and ended up owning the business 12 months later. I then hired some talented guys and learned the business from them.

What sort of work did you do?
Anything that paid - except weddings. Lots of corporates, hundreds of cheap TVC’s, we even twice produced weekly 30min TV shows for a few months. Nothing made great money, but we learned as we went. I was writing, producing and directing initially, but then decided I felt more comfortable operating camera, so I decided to go that way.

What was your first professional camera?

It was a shocker. It was a tube camera made by Ampex. I think it was their last camera and I know why. It took about an hour to get the tubes aligned every day, and it was never quite right. The pictures were disgusting. We were recording on 1 inch reel to reel tape, and because we only had 2 machines we could not do a dissolve unless it was to a live camera. We had a choice of 6 fonts for graphics, and they were all ugly. I remember the first time I used a CCD camera, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. You just turned it on – and it was ready for work. Awesome!

Were the machines expensive?
Hugely. In today’s dollars, a machine to record 1 hour of Standard Definition footage at about 5MB/s cost about $200,000. Yesterday, I saw the new Blackmagic 5 inch HD monitor has a 4:2:2 recorder built in capable of 220MB/sec for over two hours, and it costs $699 – and that’s including the monitor.

Testing the lighting before the nude model arrived. Ed: thank god Dai's not nude!

How did the move into hiring gear happen?
I think essentially I really love new toys, so I just kept on buying stuff and the only way I could keep that going was to rent gear to other guys. I was doing it from my garage for years. Then I approached Liz and John Francis, who owned Picture Hire Australia about merging our two companies, because we were about the same size, and both really too small to do the job properly. They didn’t want to merge, but eventually decide to sell to me.

Has combining the businesses worked out well?
I really set out to develop what I call “the rental company you always wanted to do business with”. It’s taken a while to get there, and we still have more to do, but I think we are getting close to where we want to be. We have a wide range, latest models, efficient systems. And my rental guys, Dave and James are enormously respected thoughout the industry. I keep on getting told how lucky I am to have them, but don’t tell them that.

Got any new toys coming in soon?
We buy something new almost every week, but the latest biggie is the new Red Weapon. It’s their new flagship camera and we will get one as soon as they are available. We also get another Sony FS7 shortly – that’s been a hugely successful model for us. And we are getting a new zero delay, medium range microwave link – no final details yet but super reliable, and affordable. It’s for mobile camera applications.

What's the best bit of kit you've purchased?
Probably the combination of the Arri Alexa and the Arri Ultra Prime lenses. Everyone who uses the kit is - not so much blown away – but just totally satisfied that they have got the best kit that the world can offer. That’s what most creative’s want I think.

Dai goes for his drone flying test - he passed!

Where next for you?
I’ve got three grown up kids, and three grandkids now, so I guess I should probably grow up and get a proper job one day, but I’m really happy doing what I’m doing. I still shoot one or two days a week on average, and running the business is challenging, but fun. My current obsession is drones. I’ve just completed my pilot license, and once the business is fully licensed, we will hopefully be going flying in quite a big way. Who wouldn’t be happy running a toy shop?

Do you have any other special hobbies or interests?
I’ve got the best tropical fish tank you’ll ever see! Oh, and I love Scandinavia.

Dai, through his company Picture Hire, is a Gold Sponsor and great supporter of the ACS, thanks, great profile Dai.

ACS AADC Co-Sponsponsorship

Our branch of the ACS will join join forces with the Adelaide Advertising and Design Club (AADC) to boost support in the local film and advertising industries.

Both organisations are not-for-profit and run by leaders in their respective fields. The AADC was established to promote and maintain high standards of creativity in South Australia. The ACS is a national organisation working towards improving the quality and recognition of cinematic art within Australia.

Both orginisations will Gold Co-Sponsor one another and will focus on fostering existing relationships and creating new ones, to show support at both educational and networking events and awards shows. The benefits will be mutual.

“ACS members have contributed hugely to the success of our work over the years, hopefully we’ve played a part in their careers too. It’s an exciting collaboration,” Anna Bardsley-Jones of the AADC Executive Committee and Co-Chair of Awards and Events.

“The AADC is constantly looking to further appropriate professional relationships with industry bodies for the benefit of our members, kicking off 2015 by formally aligning with the ACS and the TCC (The Communications Council). We look forward to collaborating with both organisations throughout the year,” Josh Welbourn AADC Co-President.

“The SA branch of the ACS is excited in forming this collaboration. We see benefits for both AADC and ACS members. We look forward to seeing AADC members at our screenings / Q&A nights as well as our members attending AADC functions.” Ernie Cark ACS SA branch President.

To receive updates from the AADC contact or via ACS contact To become a member of the the ACS SA Branch or AADC visit

ProAV Solutions opening night

What a good night, Daniel Charlton's gave a comprehensive run down of the latest and greatest gear & tricks from the recent NAB he attended in Las Vegas.

This was presented at Pro AV Solutions new premises on Greenhill Rd in Dulwich and they generously supplied us with pizza and drinks.

On behalf of all the ACS members who attended, thanks to Daniel, Kym and the rest of the ProAV Solutions team.

ACS CineKids

You might know someone who may want to be an ACS CineKid, if so encourage them to join our newest membership category. - ACS CineKids - has been created to encourage and foster interested kids up to the age of 15 years to participate and take an active hands-on approach to Cinematography.

An ACS CineKids Member is a young person, 15 years or under, who has a passion for cameras and filmmaking. ACS CineKids will receive a Welcome Pack with a membership certificate, membership card, note pad and pen, access to our E news both National & State, and various screenings and workshops, along with mentoring from our ACS cinematographers.

To find out more and how to join ACS CineKids click on the following link:

Click to access the CineKids membership application form »

Upcoming dates

2015 events to come including Drones, New lighting, Screenings with Q&A's; maybe you can suggest something?

May 11 Committee Meeting

May 29 Sponsorship Proposals Distribution & Invoice for Membership Renewals

June 1 Committee Meeting

June 30 Membership Fees Due

July 1 Accreditation Submissions Open & Call for Committee Nominations

July 6 Committee Meeting

July 31 Accreditation Submissions Close

August 10 SA AGM

August 14 SA/WA Award Entry Opens

August 21 Chase Sponsorship Assets

September 18 SA/WA Award Entry Closes

September 7 Committee Meeting

September 26, 27 & 28 SA/WA Awards Judging & Deadline for Sponsorship Assets

September 29 Award Ticket Sales Open

October 5 Committee Meeting

October 23 Deadline for Award Tickets

October 31 2015 35th Annual SA/WA ACS Awards for Cinematography in Adelaide

November 5 Committee Meeting

December 7 Committee Meeting

December 14 Christmas Drinks

2016 March 30 National Awards in Adelaide

ACS Merchandise available

The new ACS Online shop will be open soon but in the meantime you can still order from ACS HQ Manager:

ACS Hoodie
ACS Spray Jacket
ACS Ladies Tees - Cool New design
ACS Mens Tees - Cool New design
ACS Tees - Original design
ACS Beanie
ACS Mug Pen Notebook

A special run of Ladies Tees with the new design are available:
Size 10 - 92cm
Size 12 - 96 cm
Size 14 - 104cm
Size 16 - 110cm
Mens sizes, new design:
Small - 106cm
Medium - 112cms
Large - 116cms
XL - 122cms
XXL - 128cms

ACS SA Branch Facebook page

The ACS SA branch has its own Facebook page.

We will use this page to advertise upcoming events, as well as create photo albums of Awards and Trade Nights.

To become a fan, go to the link below and click the 'like' button.

Click to link to SA Facebook page »


You have received this correspondence because you are a member or affiliate of the ACS.

If you wish NOT to receive correspondence from the ACS SA branch, please got to
and log in with your membership profile to modify your correspondence options.

Website Members Login » »

SA Sponsors

SA Major Sponsor

The SA Branch acknowledges the financial assistance of our Major Sponsor the South Australian Film Corporation.

SA Gold Sponsors

SA Silver Sponsors

SA Bronze Sponsors

© 2019 Australian Cinematographers Society