ACS South Australian Branch
From the Pres - New Cameras Roadshow -
The Big Nothing
Profile - Ben Day
From the Pres
On Tuesday night March 2 Pro AV Solutions brought together the latest and greatest cameras from Sony, Canon & Blackmagic at Stomping Ground Studios for everyone to see. It was great to see a number of ACS Members in attendance keeping up with the latest camera & lighting on offer.
Canon & Sony ran through the technical side over a video conference followed by hands on reviews from Chris Herzfeld covering the C70 & Max Mackinnon covering the FX6. Daniel wishes to thank all of those who contributed to the event.
“The presentation of the cameras at the ProAv Solutions New Cameras Roadshow was terrific. Lots of attendees and much discussion ensued afterwards over pizza and bevies. Thanks for putting this on.” RB
The audience listens intently to the presentation at the ProAV Solutions New Camera Roadshow.
The National Awards for Cinematography judging happened here in Adelaide at the end of Feb in the AMPCO theatre. I can tell you there was some fantastic work and boy what a difficult job judging can be. Of course if you won Gold at the 2020 State Awards then you were automatically entered into this years National ACS Awards for Cinematography.
The 51st National Awards for Cinematography are being held in Canberra on May 1, there are various satellite events happening including Meet the Nominees on the Saturday morning, a screening and Q&A on the Friday night before and the National AGM on Sunday 2.
The National awards are a highlight on the ACS calendar so may I encourage you to attend if you can. Keep an eye out for booking information coming soon via the National eNews.
‘THE BIG NOTHING’ TO PREMIERE TO OVER 5 MILLION GLOBAL VIEWERS VIA THE WORLD’S MOST DEFINITIVE SCI-FI CHANNEL – DUST
One of our Committee members, Claire Bishop, won a Silver for Drama Series and Telefeatures at the 2018 SA ACS Awards for Cinematography for her work on Episode 5 of the web series The Big Nothing.
The Big Nothing has just been released on the online platform DUST which has an audience of over 5 million. You can catch the entire series now on DUST https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oUYLdYbp2o Why not check it out!
In the meantime, your committee is working on various ideas for more educational nights. Stay tuned!
Profile Ben Day
Welcome Ben, please tell tell us how you ended up working in this industry?
I knew from quite a young age that this is exactly what I wanted to be doing, and I'm sure like many of you I had to push through years of teachers and adults telling me to instead consider a “safer”, more “realistic” option. It was on the back of this kind of advice that I chose to complete a Bachelor of Media as opposed to something more “hands on”. Fortunately though, I did manage to get some work experience at Channel 44 (or as it was then, C31) along the way. This experience was easily the most beneficial of my entire 5 year degree. After Uni, I chanced upon a gig as a Full Time Production Manager for a local media company. I chalk this up to persistence, and my passion for the industry. I was still very green, and there was a lot of learning on the job. Pic: Ben posing for a BTS shot!
After about a year as Production Manager I jumped the fence into Freelance Junior Editor at Merlin Post Production. I’d come to know and love the guys at Merlin as they looked after all of our post work. I took to shadowing the guys around the place - sitting in on edits, going to shoots as a production assistant, and doing my best to become an asset to them as I developed not only my Editing skills, but also my Camera Operating, Assisting, and Directing skills as well.
Fast forward to today, and Merlin TV+Content+Design is now a full service production house, where I’m employed as a Full Time Editor/Camera Operator. I’ve persisted with learning and upskilling as much as I possibly can, and I continually find myself in all sorts of amazing roles.
Who do you look up to in the industry, do you have any mentors?
I’m very lucky in that I work with my two biggest mentors. Richard Lanyon, my boss, has an incredible ability to see possibilities in an edit that anyone else would probably overlook. He has also taught me the real value in directing a scene with the perspective of an Editor. I’m constantly blown away watching him work. My other huge mentor is Rob Henschke, who trained me as a Camera Operator. Similarly, it’s amazing to watch Rob work. He can take a good shot, and make some tiny little tweak, and all of a sudden it’s an absolute ripper. We’ve chalked up hundreds of hours chatting all things Cinematography and I couldn't ask for a better mentor. I challenge you to find anyone with a higher attention to detail than Robbie! Working with such pros can at times be daunting to measure up to, but I couldn’t be more grateful to have such inspiring mentors. Pic: Ben shoots alongside one of his biggest mentors Rob Henschke.
What’s the best thing about working in our business?
It’s gotta be doing something different every day right? I might lock myself away to work in the comfort of an edit suite one day, and then another I could be hanging out of a tree in some breathtaking forest in New Zealand shooting a documentary. The variety is easily my favourite thing. Of course I also love all the collaboration and the laughs along the way. Pic: Ben shooting & directing a doco in the Bay Of Islands NZ.
How do you approach working on or shooting new projects?
It depends on my role and the project. I really enjoy getting hands on with plenty of camera testing and prep, developing a cool look and feel for a shoot, but there is also something cathartic and exhilarating about having to adapt and pivot on a quick turnaround project.
What keeps you motivated to do this job?
I think I’m just addicted to bettering myself at the craft. I love that year on year my stuff looks better and better. Part of my motivation is to never let myself peak. If you aren’t improving you’re going backwards.
What specific skills do you need to do your job?
Above all else I’d have to say attention to detail and adaptability. You need to be on the ball, because there are so many intricate things that can go wrong if you aren’t. Even when you get everything right here’s always a chance a curveball is coming anyway, and I've seen so many days saved by quick pivoting, adapting and some pretty impressive manoeuvring. Pic: Who doesn't like a bit of drone action?
What’s your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment was watching a documentary I directed, co-shot, and edited go to air. I’d been a part of almost a dozen docos by that point, but I’d never had so much creative input as I did on that particular project. Having so much responsibility was intimidating at the time, but I couldn’t be prouder of what an accomplishment it was in the end.
What do you look for in people when selecting crew to work with and around you?
I like to ask people, “If you could work with a great craftsman who is frustrating and grating to work with, or a good craftsman who you get along with, who would you pick? Every single person I’ve asked so far has said they’d likely go with the latter, even at the cost of some slight degree of skill. I completely agree. I like the idea of long term partners who I can trust to work collaboratively and cooperatively in any environment. Skills can be refined, whereas a bad apple probably won’t come good.
Where you think your future lies? Is it in camera, directing or perhaps editing?
I love the healthy mix of Camera Operating and Editing that I have currently, but I’ve been making steps towards adding more colour grading and directing work to my plate. I definitely see myself pursuing more and more of that, but I don’t know that I’d ever want to lock myself into any one thing. Pic: Ben directing a short film.
Do you have any advice for others getting started in this job?
My biggest piece of advice is to realise that you are signing up for a lifetime of learning, and be ok with that. The people who “know it all”, or who’ve stopped actively refining their craft tend to get left behind pretty quickly. Never forget the value of your optimism and enthusiasm.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was “If you go back in time, don’t touch anything.”
Thanks Ben, that was great.
ACS Facebook Group
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April 5 Committee Meeting
April 30 Screening & Q&A in Canberra TBC
May 1 The prestigious 51st National ACS Awards for Cinematography in ACT
plus Meet the Nominees on Saturday morning
May 2 National AGM in ACT
May 3 Committee Meeting
May 30 Membership Invoices
June 1 Membership fees Due
June 7 Committee Meeting
July 5 Committee Meeting
August 1 - 21 Awards Entry Window
August 16 SA AGM
September 1 Accreditation Window Opens
September 6 Committee Meeting
September 30 Accreditation Window Closes
October 4 Committee Meeting
November 1 Committee Meeting
November 6 41st SA & WA Awards for Cinematography in Adelaide
December 6 Committee Meeting
December 14 Christmas Drinks
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