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2002-2003 NEWSLETTER

14/05/2003 The club closed the season's regular meetings with the AGM on Tuesday. Neil announced that he was prepared to stand as Chairman for one more year, and was re-elected unopposed. Mike Stevenson was not able to continue on the committee but Mike Wilding was prepared to take his place. All the other officers were re-elected for the new season which starts on Tuesday 16th Sept. Two more teams were established for the summer project and certificates for the minor placings in the competitions were awarded. Bob Upham presented two floral hanging baskets for the wackiest movies in the year which went to Phil for Escapade and Bernard for Froo. Mike Wilding raised several controversial discussion points and the meeting was concluded with an interesting animation all about cricket - no music, no spoken words, but hilariously funny! An early Laurel and Hardy film on DVD brought the season to a close.

07/05/2003 Brian conducted an analysis of summer project ideas with members and finally coaxed four recent award winners to volunteer to lead a team. Brian hopes that at least two more people from the members who couldn't attend will volunteer to lead a team (they don't have to have won an award). The contraints are minimal with no linkage between films as for last year.
Details of the Cotsworld International Competition were announced for any member who wishes to enter, Closing date 1st June, for 5th/6th Sept.

03/05/2003 About 80 members and guests including some Reading Golf Club members enjoyed a splendid meal followed by the RFVM winning films. The presentation of trophies was made by the guest of honour - Val Ellis who is President of the IAC. The Abbey cup was awarded to the most improved member of the year.which the committee decided was Mike Wilding. Pictures of the event are available in the Oscars 2003 gallery. Summary stills for the Bournes cup winning videos are also available, though not for the 2nd placed film.

30/04/2003 The second half of entries for the Bournes Cup were shown to club members and the judges comments were read out by Laurie after each one. Most of these entries had been shown at previous competitions. As an exercise the audience did their normal judging and after a discussion about the merits of having an external judge it was decided that a panel of three external judges might be the ideal. Interestingly, the audience and Chris Waterlow agreed on the overall winner, but the minor placings were completely different.
The result of the Points Award cup was also decided and by a significant margin goes to Mike Wilding, though Phil did manage to close the gap a little. Trophies will be handed out at the Premiere evening on Friday which is expected to be well attended with about 80 people including golf club members.

29/04/2003 The first 70 minutes of entries for the Bournes Cup were shown to club members on Tuesday 22nd. There was only time for critique from the external judge Chris Waterlow. Further discussion about each entry will have to be carried over to next week if there is time. The videos shown covered a wide spectrum of style and subject and made for an interesting evening of entertainment. Peter and Bob helped resolve technical difficulties encountered with the projector for showing Mark's three cine films which the judge had not previously seen. Results will be announced after next Wednesday's showing and the winner of the Points Award Cup will also be known then.
11 entries will be shown next week.

16/04/2003 At the Tuesday meeting members were treated to a fascinating presentation by Laurie and Brian who have turned a hobby into a successful business. The amusing anecdotes of how they started their corporate video business were interspersed with a variety of short clips illustrating some of the work they do under the name of BVS .
The clips included bits of their promotional video; a lorry driving competition; a recruitment video for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory ; a 9hour solicitors conference; the Mapledurham video; a primary school play; a high society wedding and some of Caversham Remembered which is what started their collaboration and began as a club summer project.

Members were reminded of some changes to the programme, in particular the original Tuesday 29th meeting is now to be held on Wednesday 30th as the church has a special function on. This season's summer project will be discussed on 6th May and the arrangements for the record number of entries for the Bournes Cup competition were explained.

09/04/2003 Brian controlled the Tuesday evening meeting in Neil's absence, and the members watched several films from the Stoke club's showreel. Being discerning film making members there were plenty of suggestions of how each film could be improved. The selection was varied and of mixed quality, and included a flavour of Hong Kong; a tasteful documentary on shapes and sculpture; a well-contructed fictional story of a vacuum cleaner overpowering its owner; a holiday film; two documentaries intended to assist with local tourism and an unusual full length drama about Santa Claus. It was interesting to see what members of other clubs produce.

05/04/2003 The number of entries for the Open competition is now 21. Some of them have been entered in earlier competitions, some made have had further work done on them as titles are slightly different.

02/04/2003 The first April meeting began with reports about the Staines competition results and the opinion that good acting was a significant feature of the winning films. Members were then treated to an unorthodox talk about making movies without a physical camera. Tony's enthusiasm for 2D and 3D animation and the fun element of his newly acquired application skills with kinematics prompted some interesting questions. He illustrated his talk with several very short clips generated by computer graphics.
The evening was then concluded with the showing of several short films from the 10th Raindance Film Festival showreel DVD which included some 3D animation.
There was a record number of 15 entries for the Open Competition which is likely to cause a few difficulties with the time to show that many entries in one evening.

26/03/2003 The Tuesday 25th evening was the second of the two where club members split to attend different functions. Some went to Geoff's sound studio, while others enjoyed an old fashioned cinema experience at Don's cinema. Traditional adverts, cartoons and a news reel from 1956 were shown before an intermission when ices were served. The main film was a comedy made in 1937. Afterwards members could chat as they enjoyed refreshments.
The interclub competition at Staines Cine & Video Society on Friday 21st showed 10 entries with RFVM's entry 9-11 failing to win any prizes. The judges appeared to prefer drama. The standard was varied, but altogether made for an interesting evening.

Remember 1st April is the last day for submitting entries for the open competition for the Bournes Cup to be judged by Chris Waterlow this year.

19/03/2003 The Tuesday 18th evening was the first of two where the club members split to attend two different functions, some visiting Geoff at his sound studio, while others watched some films at Don's cinema. Geoff explained the difference between various microphones - moving coil, capacitor and shotgon types among others, and the different directional aspects of each, with tips for interviewing people and recording opera singers and ambient sound. He recommends the use of a mini disc recorder for contiuous ambient sound while using the camera for a variety of shots. He demonstrated various controls he could use to produce stereo or surround sound from a standard CD in his impressive studio. He also discussed several software applications for editing sound. A very enlightening evening about a technically challenging subject.
Summary stills for the Currie cup and Gear Trophy have been added to the gallery

12/03/2003 The last of our storytelling theme evenings was presented by Mike Wilding on Tuesday 11th. He showed us some early animation clips and some interviews with John Lesseter, and to show how far computer animation has progressed, various clips from The German Film School illustrated how well cartoons can be used to tell a story today. A very entertaining evening.
The 9-11 film is the RFVM entry in the upcoming Staines Cine & Video Society inter-club competition on Friday 21st March.

05/03/2003 Tuesday 4th was another competition evening, this time for the Gear Trophy for documentary films. There were only 4 entries, but the quality more than made up for the lack of quantity and made for an interesting mix. All the entries were also intended to promote a particular skill and the discussions afterwards about the problems encountered while making the films were as interesting as the films themselves.
Summary stills for the Caversham cup and Ward Trophy have been added to the gallery

28/02/2003 A Reading based charity, Real Time Video, funded by the Arts Council, makes videos for local community groups. Clive Robertson presented a number of their recent productions, ranging from documentaries about young people in Caenarvon to dramas written by ethnic minorities and those with learning disabilities to members at the 25th Feb meeting. Apart from the wizzy editing, each video is conceived and shot by the groups involved. Illuminating and thought provoking

21/02/2003 On Wednesday 19th February, instead of the regular club meeting, members attended a Royal Television Society meeting at Pincents Manor.

This was a presentation by the Moving Picture Company, starting with a Pop Video from 1980 to show just how far things have come in twenty years. MPC's forte has become computer-graphics and this development has rapidly increased their staff to around 150.
We were first shown MPC's 'Housereel' followed by two commercials that they had made for Royal Mail and Sky Television, with explanations of how they were assembled.
MPC was asked by Warner to prepare some computer-graphic sequences for the two Harry Potter films. We watched a specially prepared film "Pottering with Special Effects" showing how MPC takes a situation with props from Warner and painstakingly develops it with 2D and 3D filming, models, and computer-graphics to a sequence that is part of the finished film. Particular sequences in the second Potter film were: the opening sequence showing suburbia; the flying Ford Anglia including Harry hanging from the car door handle just above Hogwarts Express; and the scene where a giant willow tree tries to destroy the car and its occupants. In some cases these scenes take months to complete to the detail and very high standards required for the giant cinema screen.
A lesson in what the future holds for our members perhaps.

Tuesday 11th February brought a visit from Graham Young of Gygraphics who showed members the inner workings of the Quantel Paintbox system with HAL effects. Quantel, the broadcast graphics company from nearby Newbury produce high-end systems for television companies around the world. Graham began by showing members his showreel that demonstrates to potential customers the kind of work that he does. Following this he took members through the various techniques and effects that are possible with HAL and described how work flows from an idea on paper to a finished graphics production that is used in a program. Graham began with his opening for the television series 'Commanding Heights' and demonstrated how the world of model making and computer controlled cameras can play a part in creating a complex opening to a program. The evening continued with examples of computer graphics layering, pseudo-3D graphics and 'computer origami' in building an advertising short.
At the end of the evening Graham demonstrated more of his work for the corporate workplace and displayed some examples of how apparently complex graphic displays can be constructed from simple elements combined in up to 100 layers of uncompressed video footage held within the Quantel system.

07/02/2003 Another excellent set of 8 entries for the 4-minute Currie Cup competition provided the members with an interesting evening's viewing on Tuesday 4th Feb. Don and Brian were the two gurus who judged the wild card winner which went to John Montague for his Twin Differences. John had intended to enter it for the 1-minute competition but failed to have it ready in time. The judges comments were that it was a good succinct story. Some entries produced much discussion and comment which contributed to an entertaining evening.

There were reminders about no meeting on Tuesday 18th because of the visit on the Wednesday and to book up for 18th or 25th March visit with the alternative at Don's cinema. Entries for the Bournes Trophy competition need to be in by !st April to allow the external judge Chris Waterlow to preview them before the night of 22nd April. If the number of entries is as good as for earlier competitions, there may be limited time for his comments.

At the recent committee meeting the film 9-11 was selected for the Staines Cine & Video Society inter-club competition on Friday 21st March.

A list of all the past Chairmen and Presidents has been added to the Club background page.

31/01/2003 On Tuesday 28th January members attending the meeting were indeed fortunate to hear from Michel Gemmil of MG Films. Michel has spent a lifetime in the film industry initially serving a four year apprenticeship as a tea maker, film loader, focus puller and cameraman. (and we learnt what all those titles really mean!) As he gained experience on both feature films and commercials, he finally achieved the position of Director of Photography and now has his own Wardour Street based company of MG Films.
He demonstrated his undoubted skills by showing a variety of his showreels, many of which were commercials produced for very familiar household names, and his anecdotes about the production issues raised whilst filming them were very revealing. One of his specialities is working for car companies and he explained in detail the difficulties and challenges of filming hunks of shiny metal to their best advantage and which required amazing ingenuity in meeting the demands of the conceptual ideas that he had been given by the client.
The evening finished with an excerpt from a film he had made about the Le Mans 24 hour race for the McLaren stable - although normally working in film, here he had used small DV cameras fixed inside the cars which gave very dramatic pictures. Ironically when asked how many cameras he had used altogether - he said he had started out with two full sized cameras plus 5 mini dv cameras. However by the end of the race he was only left with one out of the original five dv cameras working - the vibration and pressures of the race had written four off!

24/01/2003 Laurie stood in as Chairman and made an excellent job of presenting, linking and summarising a not-very-good collection of 15 films (all shot on 16mm) on a showreel from Norwich Movie Makers that covered the club's work from 1960ish to 1999... at this week's meeting

The showreel was used as a catalyst for the club's continuing theme on Making a Story; this meeting being 'Sound: making your story come alive', for which Mark Chapman had prepared a two-page aid.

16/01/2003 Chris Waterlow is an assessor with the Institute of Videographers and he visited the club to talk to members on Tuesday 14th. He is also a cameraman with the TV Shopping Channel QVC. Chris drew from his experience to explain and illustrate various aspects and techniques to be avoided when preparing a video. Many examples were taken from wedding videos.

11/01/2003 The annual club dinner was held at the Reading Golf Club for members and their guests on Friday 10th. The staff there laid on a splendid spread of plentiful food and everyone enjoyed a leisurely feast without any films on this first social occasion of the new year.

A good number of members braved the cold to attend our first meeting of 2003 on Tuesday 4th. The evening was a continuation of our storytelling exercise and we spent the time reviewing and analysing our summer "newspaper" project in detail.
Each team's section was shown and then each element of the editing was discussed and debated by the members. A particularly useful exercise was to attempt to identify ways that the flow of the story could have been improved by tighter editing or different treatments.
At the end of the evening everyone agreed that it had been a very useful exercise and if certain members can find the time to take on board some of the comments and suggestions Neil Hodgson is hopeful that we may be able to show a new "directors' cut" version later in the year.

Newer members may be interested in some more newspaper clippings about the lottery grant and Caversham Remembered film, which have been added to the Old Snippets

20/12/2002 The Christmas party was well attended by members and their partners, with food and drinks available. Music was by the trio 'Laurie and the Videos', with Laurie Joyce on keyboard, Mike Stephenson on saxophone and Don Currie on drums. Francis Crossley presented a quiz, which was tackled in teams of four. For a change, there were no films. A very good time was had by all.
The January dinner is selling well - latest numbers are at about 40.

14/12/2002 Sticky Biscuits are Mark and Theresa Poole, a two-person film-making organisation in Guildford. They started making films for their own amusement in conjunction with their Dramatic Society activities. They then found that there are outlets for their productions such as Art Festivals. Their budget is, well, no more than an average young couple can spend on a hobby. As a teacher, Theresa is conscious on the effect that some types of material can have on children (and on adults), which is refreshing to hear.

They presented a programme of films on Tuesday 10th running between one and fifteen minutes. Titles such as "Macbeth - The Scottish Picnic", "Bagladies" and "Mothers Ruin", may give an idea of the light-hearted and wacky approach that lies within some carefully made productions

07/12/2002 The club had 8 excellent entries for the Ward trophy for the best holiday movie on Dec 3rd. The countries featured included Spain, Morocco, Australia and New Zealand, Madiera, Czech Republic, Switzerland, USA/Canada and Finland, but the winning entry was about a painting holiday in Kent! It was a very good blend of historical painting and the depicted as they are now, together with views of what the students were painting. Judging was made very difficult by the superbe quality of some of the films. A wild card award was made to Mike Wilding for his skillful editing of quality tracking shots and a good balance of appropiate music with a pleasant commentary. Laurie and Dennis were the 'gurus' involved in the choice. Because of the number of entires, discussion and comments were regretably restricted.

At the previous Tuesday meeting, members were shown some archive films made by the club rather than by individual members. The conversion from cine film to video was done by Dennis who found the actual time to do it far longer than he had expected.

The results of the Grosvenor trophy on 19th Nov. for the best section of the summer project film were finally ratified as:
1st - Group 5 - Peter Marsh's team with a naturist theme
2nd - Group 3 - Tony Colvile's team with some origami

No third place was awarded. Some of the sections fell outside the brief of "between 3 and 4 minutes" so were ruled inadmissable for any placings. The clips are summarised in the award gallery

22/11/2002 The premiere showing of the 6 part summer project film was very well attended by members guests and supporting actors associated with the various groups. All 6 parts were very different. Food was provided by the committee members (or their spouses) and drinks were also available. After the voting for the best part of the film, discussion followed and the winner of the Grosvenor trophy was finally announced and went to Peter's group 5 film, with a tie for 2nd place - Tony's group 3 and Brian's group 2. A thoroughly enjoyable evening was rounded off with two short cartoons.

15/11/2002 The original speaker unfortunately had to cancel, so Francis Crossley showed his half hour holiday video taken in Italy and afterwards members discussed this together with ideas on alternative editing and presentation. After the break, Mark Chapman entertained the members with an eclectic selection of short films, chosen for their unusual approaches in camera-work, editing and communicating to the audience.

06/11/2002 A record number of 13 excellent entries for the 1-minute film/video for The Cavesham Cup provided members with a wide variety of quality films demonstrating good imagination, interesting ideas and even some stories. The comments by the authors about the making of each film were equally interesting and the evening was a thoroughly entertaining one. Don Currie was asked to select one of the non-winning entries for the new wild card award, and he chose FROO for its imaginative idea.

31/10/2002 An interestimng change of venue and evening for members when the club participated in Wokingham Arts Festival. The rather splendid room in the Town Hall in Wokingham was a grand location for the presentation of 12 films specially selected to illustrate the wide spectrum of films which are made in the club. The show was well attended by members and their guests and some visitors who hopefully will be encouraged to join us on other occasions.

Wokingham Arts Festival evening

Members, guests and visitors during the interval at the showing of 12 films in Wokinhgham Town Hall

The gallery has been updated to cover the winning entries in the Burke Trophy competition.

23/10/2002 Members were entertained to a fascinating talk by Adam Gauntlett of the Progress Theatre about characterisation in the 2nd of the theme evenings on STORYTELLING. He illustrated his points using scenes from various films, in particular 2 made in 1926 by Murnau which had no dialogue so the action and music had to develop the characters in the story. He also used scenes from a Japanese animation film which mixed reality with fantasy. Issue 7 of the In Focus magazine was also available, and the articles have been added to the website.

16/10/2002 The first competition of the season attracted 4 excellent entries with a new member winning the Burke Trophy Laurie showed us the intro of an army training video to illustrate how mundane routine can be made to look interesting, and a video of a curious sequence of short clips was also shown.

09/10/2002 Members were enlightened to the many advantages of using DVDs for the storage of their films by Steve Lichfield of 3-Lib (see Useful Links) in an interesting talk at the 08/10/02 meeting. Examples are the compact storage compared with the shelf space required for video tapes and the lossless quality after repeated viewing and copying. It was nice to hear that the cheaper DVD players are more likely to play home written DVDs than the more expensive ones.
A draw was held for all those members who could correctly answer a question Steve posed. Marina Dulay was the lucky winner and received a copy of DVD Workstation software

Tony Colvile then demonstrated an off-line version of the club website for the benefit of members who do not have Internet access. This stimulated some discussion about whether some of the content should be published.



The Gateway Trophy was again won by Bourne End, with RFVM coming second at the annual Triangle competition on the Fiday.

STORYLINE BOURNE END One born every minute   3 3 6
READING Beans 3   2 5
STAINES Cut & Paste 2 2   4
DOCUMENTARY READING Glory of Reading 2   2 4
STAINES Raising a family 3 2   5
BOURNE END Water, water everywhere   3 3 6
OPEN STAINES Streets of Buenos Aires 2 3   5
BOURNE END Glimpses of Glasgow   2 2 4
READING 9-11 3   3 6
OPEN 4 6 5
TOTALS 16 15 14

07/10/2002 It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of Stan Olman, a long time member of the club. Stan suffered a heart attack on Saturday evening, which proved fatal. Stan had been ill for a while but was undergoing treatment. He came to the opening night and was very cheerful and optimistic even though he looked very unwell.

The entire membership of Reading Film and Video Makers convey their condolences to his wife Jean and their family. We also send our best wishes to his great friend Jack Stein, who is also a member of the club.  -   Neil Hodgson (Chairman)

02/10/2002 The first of our Storytelling theme evenings was launched on Tuesday 1st with an excellent presentation by Mike Wilding about 'How to make a successful film'. He commented on a variety of clips which illustrated the key points of good storytelling with remarkably good timing against the continuously running film. The evening also included a prize-winning film from Brazil which Mark and Francis had captured off a 3 inch window on a computer screen as it was played from the Internet. The evening was closed by a hilarious cartoon - The Birds.

25/09/2002 Members were given a heavy dose of technology used in DV editing by Tony Cobley at the Tuesday 24th meeting. Tony demonstrated the latest beta version of DVStorm2 (due to be released mid-October) edit card and application with its real-time playback of a variety of transitions and video filters. He also showed us his skill and knowledge using Adobe Premiere 6.5 and also demonstrated a DV capture application capable of processing the feed from three cameras simultaneously on his four many-gig hard drives in a Raid system. Some members may have been overwhelmed by the technicalities described, but if the number of questions from the audience is a measure of interest, the whole presentation was very well received. Everyone must have been impressed by what can be achieved with powerful technology. The system is ideal for creating lenghty videos of an hour or more.

It was a very interesting and educational evening and we look forward to the possibility of another occasion in future listening to the rest of what Tony did not have time to talk about.
He is also available for training in the use of video editing equipment - see Useful Links.

The opening night of the new season on 17th September was very well attended and provided a good opportunity for people to catch up with news of other members as well as pay their subscriptions to the treasurer. Refreshments were available and the evening was rounded off with a 4-minute documentary made by Dennis Burke with commentary by Don Currie about the Scammell. The film was a pilot made for the army museum at Arborfield so that vistors can press a button and play the video to make the exhibit more interactive. The making process involved trawling through miles of archive footage to select clips of the tank recovery vehicle in action, and then adding a sound track.
There are now only 11 other army vehicles which require similar treatment!
A cartoon video brought the evening to a light-hearted close.

01/09/2002 A copy of the application form is now available
Download a membership application pdf form for printing

26/08/2002 There was a committee meeting on 15 August 2002 at which was discussed the theme of the next season -'Storytelling'. The committee also selected the following films to represent the club at the Gateway Trophy competition with Bourne End and Staines.
Documentary: The Glory of Reading
Fiction: Beans
Open: 9.11

The committee also discussed submitting an entry for the North v South competition run by the Orpington Video & Film Makers club. The theme is RELAXATION and a film from previous years called A Summers Day was suggested as a possibility.

The remaining articles in issues 1 and 2 of the In Focus Magazine are now available, together with some snippets from the club scrapbooks. The sound effects competition winning entry has been condensed into a Flash movie. Also provisional details of the programme. are available. Any changes to the programme will be shown on the web as soon as they are known. Details of a wild card award for club competitions were finalised.

14/07/2002 There was a committee meeting on 27 June 2002 which discussed next season's programme. No details are available yet except the start date for the evening meetings is Tuesday 17th September 2002. It was also agreed that a point will be awarded for each person making tea/coffee as such evening breaks are regarded as very important for club member networking. The points tally will be updated regularly on the website.

The content of issues 3 to 6 of the In Focus magazine are now available on this website though some of issue 3 has some images missing and the upload of some files are incomplete due to disk quota problems which have not yet been resolved. Much of Issue 2 is unavailable in paper form, so if any member has a copy, the content can be established to give a fuller historical record of events in the club. Issue 1 content will be uploaded in due course.

An awards and trophies gallery is also available showing a few stills to depict the stories for most of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winning entries of each club competition. If anyone can lend a DV tape copy of the missing films, they can be processed in due course. Regrettably some of the mouseover effects do not work with Netscape browsers.

There was to be a short Flash movie with sound but disk quota problems are preventing the upload so that feature will have to wait awhile. Disk quota problems resolved, it is now available (16/07/02)

The layout of pages has been changed to display more information before scrolling is required.

Disposal of Ni. Cad batteries

18/06/2002 A letter from founder member Alan Lott

"IN FOCUS" for September 2001, you reported my enquiries into the disposal of Ni.Cad batteries, given to Film & Video Makers in all good faith as a result of 'One To One" in Broad Street having accepted three NiCad batteries from me with an assurance of environmentally friendly disposal. However a few weeks ago I went in there again with another dud NiCad and I found three different staff. When I offered my Ni.Cad for safe disposal these new faces denied all knowledge of any safe disposal scheme. They said they would take them in and put them out with all their other rubbish. I told them that was a very incorrect procedure but they would not agree ! So it depends who is behind the counter at the time. However better news is that I called at the 0-Two shop (Formally BT) close by and they said they were very pleased to take in Ni.Cads for safe disposal. Not only that but various contents of these batteries are recoverable and they receive payment for these. Monies received are donated to the Air Ambulance Rescue Service and so they are anxious to take in all they can; please would I inform as many people as possible. I have told Alan Wilks, manager of Station Cameras. He said he had not heard of this collection service and would be delivering quite a number he had collected. Please pass the word down the line.

18/05/2002 The website layout was revised by the new webmaster, and a photo gallery of the premiere evening was added, as well as the final points tally details. These are the first of several changes that are planned which hopefully you like.

The Summer Project

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