Tasmanian ACS E-News, Sept 2015


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Hi ACS Tasmania Branch members. After a couple of relaxing months off, during which I went travelling with my family, things are returning to normal with ACS duties high on my priority list. August has been quite busy as we held our local AGM, ran a fun little event with 3 Tassie members, plus I’ve just returned from 4 days at ACS HQ in Sydney. I was there as part of the judging panel for the NT ACS Awards and the ACS Accreditation Screenings, followed on Sunday by the half-yearly National ACS Executive meeting. We’ve also been busy planning the Vic Tas ACS Awards in Melbourne and securing sponsors. Mike Sampey and David Hudspeth did the hard work on that which was fantastic.

Peter Curtis ACS filming in SW Tasmania. Photo David Fraser


Our annual general meeting was held on 18th August at the ABC in Hobart. The current office bearers and committee were all reinstated for another term.

President: Peter Curtis ACS
Vice President: Mike Sampey
Treasurer / Secretary: David Hudspeth

Committee: Andy Ciddor, Peter Donnelly ACS, Peter Harmsen, Andrew Harcourt, Robert Heazlewood, Graham Gates, Tom Waugh, Richard Williams, Dick Marks OAM.

After a year focussed almost exclusively on hosting the National ACS Awards in Hobart, we’re keen to keep the branch functioning to the benefit of Tas ACS members and the local screen community in general. With that in mind we have formulated an exciting list of potential local events, which we hope to get up and running throughout the membership year. We will keep you up to date with these events as we lock them in but there will definitely be a few between now and December.


Immediately following the AGM Peter Harmsen, Tom Waugh and Richard Williams brought out their latest toys and members got some hands-on experience.

Harmo’s Sony F5 camera now shoots in 4K after it got the full software upgrade. It’s a very impressive rig and Pete is extremely happy with the camera’s performance and ease of use. It looks and feels like a real camera, unlike some other large sensor cameras, so Pete found it very easy to pick up and use right from the very start.

Ignit-Digi’s brand new mini ARRI Alexa camera is also a very classy piece of kit. Alexa cameras are far and away the most used high-end camera throughout the feature, short film and Advertising industry and when you see the results you understand why.

The mini-Alexa that Tom and Chris have bought is perfect for MOVI and large drone use and Tom has already put it through its paces on a number of shoots. It will get a real workout this month as the boys go to South Australia to do the drone work on a feature film. We wish them all the best.

Richard Williams has addressed the fact that there was nobody in Tasmania with a set of quality prime lenses by buying a beautiful kit of Zeis CP2 compact primes, which can be fitted to any Canon EF or PL mount cameras. These lenses are available for hire complete with follow focus rig and we really hope there is a good take-up for their use.

Thanks to Pete, Tom and Richard for further raising the bar on the range of high-end equipment based in the state. It was great for them to share their thoughts on these kits and discuss the pro’s and cons of using them.


2015/16 Membership fees are now well overdue, so we remind any stragglers to pay their annual subs ASAP. All 2014 members will receive the next edition of AC magazine, which is at the printers now, but after that non-financial members will be automatically cut off from receiving AC and all future eNews bulletins etc. It’s also important to note you are unable to enter the upcoming Vic/Tas ACS Awards if you are not a paid-up member. If you’re having trouble finding the funds to pay your membership please contact David Hudspeth so we can sort things out.

Dave Hudspeth Email »


I’ve had a new batch of signed ACS membership certificates. In recent years I’ve been a bit slack in getting these out, so if you’re a Full ACS Tas member and would like to receive a nice signed, sealed and delivered A4 membership certificate drop me an email with your preferred postal address and I will get one to you. I will even find a calligrapher to write your name nicely at the top!

Peter Curtis ACS Email »


The 49th Vic/Tas ACS Awards will be held at the Victorian Arts Centre on November 28th. We are very pleased to have Screen Tasmania on board as the major sponsor of these Awards. Andrew McPhail and the team at Screen Tas have been great supporters of the ACS through 2015, with some serious backing for the Equipment Expo at the Grand Chancellor in May and the special Gallipoli screening with Peter Weir, Russell Boyd ACS ASC, John Seale ACS ASC and David Burr ACS at the State Cinema. Now they’re throwing their weight behind our State ACS Awards and we’re very grateful for their support. Our ever loyal Gold sponsor Southern Cross Television are also on board for yet another year which is also fantastic.

Entries for the Awards are open now and need to be received by 25th September. Now is the time to look back through your best work and pick what you want to enter. The Awards categories have been tweaked a bit so you will need to carefully check the criteria for each category to find the one that best fits the work you wish to submit. Awards entries must be lodged via the ACS website. There are also links to pages explaining Awards Terms and Conditions and Category types.

2015 Awards Categories »


Next month marks the 30th Anniversary of Neil Davis’ death. Neil grew up near Sorell and was the first cinecameraman to ever work at the ABC in Hobart. Neil left Tasmania to take up a job as the SE Asian bureau cameraman for Visnews (later Reuters) and was based in Singapore. He became famous for his incredible work capturing frontline action during the Vietnam War. Neil was the subject of an Academy Award nominated documentary made by David Bradbury, aptly named Frontline. Tragically Neil was killed, along with his sound recordist Bill Leach, while filming an aborted coup attempt in Bangkok in the mid 80’s. A very successful book was also written about Neil’s life, by fellow Tasmanian and close friend Tim Bowden, entitled ‘One Crowded Hour’.

David Brill ACS was also a close friend of Neil’s and is part of a local group arranging several events to mark this important anniversary and to increase community awareness of the push for some kind of memorial in Neil’s honour.
The details are currently being locked down but there will be a major event at the State Cinema on October 7th including a screening of David Bradbury’s Fronline documentary. David, along with Tim Bowden, David Brill ACS and Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste will be there to contribute and reflect on the influence this remarkable man had on them personally and professionally. They will also discuss the legacy of Neil’s work and impact it’s had around Australia and beyond. We will keep you posted regarding details of this and any other related events as they come to hand.


All ACS merchandise is now available for purchase through the online shop. It’s a very convenient and easy to use site that will ship ACS merchandise directly to you. Access is via the home page of the ACS web site –

ACS website »

or by going direct to

ACS Online Shop »

The range of merchandise is gradually being expanded. ACS polar fleece vests, scarves and sleeveless puffer jackets look likely to be available soon which may well appeal to Tassie members who have just endured the coldest winter since 1966!


I would again like to encourage members who work in and around the TV News industry to complete an online survey called 'Focus on Exposure'. Jasmine Macdonald from Charles Sturt University is carrying out the survey. I’ve met Jasmine a couple of times and know her to be a smart, well-intentioned and decent person. The aim of her research is to explore the kinds of traumatic events camera-operators and reporters are exposed to as a result of their work and to consider potential psychological implications. The results of her study will be used to inform the industry of the experiences of news camera-operators and reporters and will feature in Jasmine’s PhD thesis.

Participants remain completely anonymous and it doesn't ask which organisation you work for or anything that could identify you individually. The ACS Nationally has agreed to support Jasmine as her research could benefit members in the long run.

The survey is thorough but easy to complete and includes sections relating to: demographics, personality type, substance use, positive outcomes of your work, previous experiences of trauma at work and in your personal life, world assumptions, and your coping style.

The survey needs to be completed in the next few weeks so please don’t put it on the back-burner. Give it a go over a cup of coffee! Here’s the link.

Focus on Exposure Survey »


There were quite a few topics for discussion at the very well run meeting held in Sydney last Sunday. Under the guidance of National President Ron Johanson and the National committee the society continues to thrive and we can be confident in it’s future.

Here are some dot-points of things I took from the meeting.

The Society continues to play an active role in matters relating to the future of our overall industry. The ACS was one of 8 signatories to the ABC Budget Paper and engages with many industry organizations to influence policy and represent the interests of active technicians within the industry. The ACS hosts regular meetings with other industry guilds like the Directors Guild, the Writer’s Guild and the MEAA. Together, the Guilds are forming an umbrella group to present a unified Screen Policy to Government.

ACS memberships remain very solid with over 1600 members across the country.

National Sponsorship for the society increased markedly this year to $156,000. This is an excellent outcome with 3 additional sponsors coming on board, including two drone company’s - Flying Dragon and XM2.

Financially the society had a good year posting a $35,000 profit. The branch contributions towards reducing the loan on the ACS HQ has saved the society $7,000 pa in interest payments whilst benefiting each state with better than average investment interest in return. A real win-win.

AC Magazine continues to be a flagship industry publication that helps maintain the society’s reputation within the industry here and abroad. Advertising dollars are down a bit but a plan to put individual magazine articles on-line (6 months after print version has been published and distributed to members) will appeal greatly to advertisers, as they will get pop-up and banner ads on online content included in their overall advertising package.

There was some discussion regarding the potential sale of the building in North Sydney, which houses the ACS HQ. There would be a lengthy negotiation period of at least 2 years before a decision is finally made and unless all current owners within the building agree (and there are quite a few) then plan cannot proceed. An offer has been presented that on the face of it would see the ACS benefit significantly at a financial level but a lot of water has to flow under the bridge before anything definite happens.

There will be a lot of work done in the next 12 months to upgrade the ACS web page to develop an automated membership invoicing, payment reminders and bill payment systems. This would be extended to awards entries and payments, Awards Ticket sales and other online business and accounting systems. Ideally it would interface with the existing ACS database and streamline a lot of our admin functions. An ACS web committee is working on this with Toadshow (the web page operators) and other third party accounting and payment system operators. Hopefully by this time next year we will have been invoiced automatically and had our membership payments made directly through the web site. I know David Hudspeth would be particularly happy about that!

Videocraft has come on board as National sponsors of Cinekids – the ACS membership classification for children aged 15 or under. They are offering rental vouchers and other great benefits for Cinekid winners at State and National ACS Awards. Ron is encouraging all branches to push to increase the number of Cinekids members and to run events specifically aimed at these members. As we currently have no Cinekids based in Tasmania the only way is up!

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