Sunday, January 18, 2009

Film at Eleven

One of my first jobs in the 60's was being that of a news photographer. I started out as a stringer.
A stringer is a person that basically works for free unless you are fortunate enough to get a photo of something happening, then the newspaper would give you 25 or 50 bucks for your roll of film. Fires, car accidents, homicides neat stuff like that!

50 Bucks in 1967 was pretty decent money, the problem was that in those days there weren't that many things that happened between 8 and 2 or 3 in the morning.

Daytime was reserved for staff photographers with lots of seniority and good luck breaking into that lair.
So stringing at least filled the gas tank and bought some 79 cent cheeseburgers.
Then TV entered in to the picture.

I first started shooting freelance or stringing for the a couple of the SF stations. Before video. Before light weight equipment, before fast film, as it was KRON TV the TV hand of the Chronicle Publishing company shot negative film made by Dupont. With negative film they were able to push the development 2 or 3 stops so night film required less light. They would then electronically change it to positive images for broadcasting on TV.

The camera was a converted 16mm Bach Auricon, with a 20 to 120 Angenieux Lens. It then needed a amplifier to be able to record onto a magnetic strip on the film, then there was a Sylvania battery pack for the Sun Gun which was a 12 volt battery to power a 100 watt halogen bulb.
So the camera and film was about 50 lbs, the sound pack and battery was about 10, and the light pack and head was another 20.
So around 75 lbs........

Just think now, you have a hand held high definition color camera with stereo that maybe weighs 2 lbs, and will record 2 or 4 hours.

The 16 mm Auricon could only use 400 ft of film for about 14 minutes................

And that's the way it was in 1970....... We'll be back after this message from our sponsor.

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About Me

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From TV News to owning radio communications business, seen technology grow and change the way we live. Hobbies are still some photography and reading, satellite pickup. Did catering and cooking at wineries, taught cooking classes and culinary related ventures. Do a few regional cooking classes down here at my house from time to time, in between visiting and living in this beautiful country. Some tech consulting and lots of opinionated chatter.