Saturday, 6 February 2016

Sepia Saturday 316 - Movie cameras

The Sepia Saturday Post 316 shows a cameraman on Bondi Beach in 1951 shooting film. This brought back memories of my father, Ken Moses, and his adventure with his 8mm movie camera which he brought back to Australia in 1956 after a trip to the USA.
Ken Moses at Olympic Park 7 Nov 1956
This photograph appeared in The Argus on 8 November 1956 (thank you Trove) and shows Dad, with camera over his shoulder, having a discussion with an official at Olympic Park, Melbourne. This was three weeks before the Olympic Games and Dad, as a sports' journalist for The Argus, had gone to Olympic Park to cover a training session. He took his new toy with him and was told people carrying movie cameras attempting to enter Olympic premises would not be admitted unless thay carried a pass permitting them to enter with a camera. The Olympic Committee had hired a firm to make an official (16mm) film of the Olympic Games and other cameras were not allowed.

Needless to say this incident became the feature of an article written by my father and published in The Argus. A footnote stated that: "The secretary of the Australian Olympic Federation, Mr. Edgar Tanner, in a recent letter to the president of the Federation of Amateur Cine Societies, said every facility would be given to amateur movie fans to take films in training."

My father did contine to take his camera with him and filmed a number of the events that he covered during the Olympic Games.

Dad also used the camera to take a film of a holiday on my grandparents' farm in Queensland. I can remember him filming us swimming in the creek and also of my younger sister plucking a chook. My mother recalled a section of the film showing my sister on a horse while she was mouthing the words, "let me off". Film nights when Dad showed his movies on the projector were part of family entertainment.

Good family memories however the family film has disappeared. Dad lent it to someone who was out from England to show him what the Australian bush was like. The film has not been seen since. I guess that this story illustrates how important it is for us to keep copies / back up our files.

Postscript: I have just visited my sister who says that there are cans of film in a cupboard and she is sure that one of them contains the Olympic Games film. If so, we will have a DVD made from it. She confirms that the family holiday film has definitely gone.


  1. What a shame those films were lost. We had a movie camera but the novelty wore off quickly, unfortunately. I still have the movies we did take with it, however, & one of these days intend to have them put on a DVD so we can watch them on our computers.

  2. Good on Ken for persevering, shame the film was lost! Things haven't changed all that much - when I went to the tennis recently I was told that big cameras and video camera weren't allowed, but thankfully my dslr with zoom lens was acceptable. I needed it to get reasonable shots of players from our seats high up in the stands!

  3. My husband has home movies from the 20's and he's intended to have them transferred to DVD for years. The longer he waits, the better the technology gets. The one advantage of procrastination.

  4. Oh that's too bad to have lost those precious films. Glad you all got to see the family movies. We had similar evenings with our old 8 MM films of ourselves and cousins. But someone did make the effort and they are now saved on DVD discs.

  5. If someone invents a foolproof easy method of transferring at home old movie reels to DVD or MP4 it would be great. What a pity the holiday memories were lost.

  6. Even today some places don't allow cameras for any number of reasons. It must have been disappointing for family and friends of the athletes to be prohibited from taking pictures. (and what good news to learn the film still exists!)

  7. Yes! You must get the old movies digitised before they deteriorate. There might be some surprises there.

  8. Great story! At the most recent Olympics I remember how odd it was to see thousands of spectators and athletes alike holding up a smartphone to record an event, all while watching the event by looking at the tiny screen too. Weird how technology changes us. Imagine trying to find a digital video 60 years from now. Which flash drive chip was that on? Do we still have that cellphone?