Monday, March 06, 2006

Turtle Video

After being an observer at a shoot[^] the next step was to become involved. I didn't think of it in those terms in those days but it seems obvious to me now that if you're working with amateurs and you want to produce your own video you have to play the game. That meant toting gear, holding lights and microphones and pointing the camera. Even playing a walk on role where you spoke three words whilst keeping a straight face. Never underestimate the value of not smirking!

I said amateurs there and I meant it. We were none of us being paid for being behind the camera or before it. And we none of us really knew what we were doing. I learned as I went, helping Robin turn his vision into reality.

But some of us learned better.

Heino and his friends made fake news programs under the Channel Four Logo. I'm not sure but I think this was before the British Channel Four (I'm talking 1975). I wasn't involved with those productions but I remember watching them and thinking 'what a bunch of wankers' :-) In 1976 they forged an alliance with the Sydney video centres and did 'Twin City' news programs. The alliance was a forgery in more ways than one; I don't think they ever shared any footage but it probably looked good on the reports when it came time to request an extension of funding.

As a sample of their wit, one segment was called 'A Raisin Affair', hosted by a kid who I fancy was 14 years old at the time. His voice was uncertain about his age; it changed pitch from one word to the next. I reckon all of my male readers will remember that stage of life and all my female readers will laugh.

Another segment reported on the escape of a horse from a local paddock. Given that the horse was retired I think it unlikely that it was more than a feeble run but the commentary would have led you to believe that death and destruction was wrought on all sides.

Not a lot different to the current paid TV media!

Heino did a news segment reporting on the new scoreboard at the Williamstown Football Ground. It was a glowing and terribly padded description that included such gems as the fact that it had a section for the home team and another section for the away team! The new scoreboard is still there but after 30 years it's looking sadly in need of replacement.

One of the Channel Four anchormen went on to become the chief pilot at Qantas Airlines. The news segement he did that sticks in my mind showed the new traffic lights at the corner of Napier Street and Whitehall Street, Footscray, accompanied by the breathless news that it had taken 18 months from the allocation of money to the installation. Turtle Video was extinct by the time the first holdup of a Melbourne all night Petrol station had occurred just across the road from there but I'm sure that if they'd been still going they'd have done a news report on it.

Many years later he played a cameo role on a movie we made.

Another of the gang, Dave, became a cameraman at Channel Nine. He stuttered and was immortalised on Hey Hey It's Saturday[^] as Dddddave...

Well he stuttered most of the time but, as we found out much later, point a camera at him and he could enunciate with the best of us. Better than most of us as it happens. He stole more scenes than Ronnie Biggs stole English banknotes!

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