Digital Feng Shui – May 1998

A New Age Guide to Monitor Alignment

This was written for the series of <Thinktag> columns I did for Firmware, this was May 1998 when you could brag about a 21 inch screen.

I’ve just bought a new 21 inch monitor. And before I go further, I must tell you that I’m quite happy with its image quality. Monitors being the ubiquitous peripherals that they are, I didn’t need the slim multi-lingual manual that came with it to install it. Continue reading “Digital Feng Shui – May 1998”

A Travelling Camera – Photobooks

I make photobooks, and not just because I’m an old ink on paper person (there were those forest destroying magazines for example).  There are many that are personal gifts for friends, those I create and give and never look at again. These photobooks here were made as albums of personal images from special holidays. They’re piling up on the coffee table so they need to be stored online as well (coffee tables catch fire etc.) I usually took video at the same time, hours of it which I find hard to edit, so these are used to aid memory, usually about the extensive eating and drinking they contain.

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Magnets, rust and shaky cameras

Neil Young is a keen filmmaker and when he is the cinematographer on a project, he lists his name in the credits as Bernard Shakey. Here’s a showreel I assembled when I could see and hold the camera steady. There’s no singing, you’ll get a feel for my regional food interests and some of the commercial work I used to do. If that’s not enough, there’s now a selected YouTube gallery page here on as well. Continue reading “Magnets, rust and shaky cameras”

Romeo & Juliet & Peter Webb

Characterizing Mr.Storm (and other stories) Cinema Papers #114 1997

Baz Luhrman’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was shot in Mexico, cut in Los Angeles and neg cut in San Francisco. Although there were a large number of Australian crew working on it, it was a feature planned as international and designed for a young American audience. How Melbourne’s Complete Post facility managed to snatch the bulk of the film’s digital visual effects away from the U.S. companies is a story that Chris Schwarze Managing Director of Complete Post and Peter Webb, their Visual Effects Designer, enjoy telling. Continue reading “Romeo & Juliet & Peter Webb”

David Samuelson – on Film and Videotape

The April 1982 Issue of Cinema Papers that included ‘Channels TV-Videotape’ magazine and my New Products and Processes section featuring a story about David Samuelson’s front projection equipment that was being demonstrated here. Clearly my interest was more in the switch to video production tools then what was really a SFX (Special Effects) tool from an older filmmaking tradition where rear projection gave us innumerable sound studio dialogue scenes in cars with shaky moving backgrounds. In TV the chroma-key process replaced that and was adopted with a sigh of relief that echoed through the video studio, until someone said ‘let’s just shoot it on location’. This was about a few pivot points in media production and that’s why the interview is archived here. 

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The internet killed the radio star

For six years I had a weekly segment on ABC Radio 666 in Canberra talking about computers and the Internet with a morning, then later afternoon show presenter. I’ll add some of that air-check and pre-recorded audio here, but this was the last email when I signed off.  It was a lot of hard work to research and prepare the segment and my day job at Grey Interactive was becoming more demanding. (My biggest beef at the time was that they wouldn’t mention my web business at Grey, who were donating my time, while they were happy to credit authors and publishers.) They didn’t want me to go, saying I’d regret not being a big radio fish in a small pond (they did run some of the bits nationally as ‘filler’) and they’d been authorised to actually pay me $50 a segment, something unheard of with the freebie world of ABC radio.  ‘See ya’ I said. Nicely.

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Proposal for a Film Gallery

I curated an exhibition at the Hawthorn Art Gallery in 1979 as a proposal for establishment of a exhibition space for art films, film art, and artists. It ran for two weeks, I bought the wine and cheese, the projector, U-matic and paid for some telecine transfers. Jim Clayden, Michael Lee and Jonas Balsaitis all went along with the idea, Jim brought his Ad Hoc ‘band’ friends, musician Chris Knowles and artist David Wadelton, to play one evening.  Continue reading “Proposal for a Film Gallery”

Cinema Papers Technicalities

The first article I wrote for Cinema Papers was for the November 1980 issue.  I knew Scott Murray and Peter Beilby, then the editors  (editor/co-founder Phillipe Moira left them to it in 1979) Scott as filmmaker and both by reputations.  We ended up working together in various ways for over twenty years. The last issue I contributed to was February 1997. If you were a filmmaker or part of the industry,  you always bought the magazine when it came out.  There are Australian film people who have grown up never knowing Cinema Papers which is now relegated to the libraries as a resource for film historians. The bits of it that recorded my education and formed my thinking will be linked here  on and include the original versions if I think it’s of interest. Many of the interviews are available in an expanded form with original notes, and some with the cassette audio complete with my ‘er’and ‘ums’. Continue reading “Cinema Papers Technicalities”

Losing the light – Arthur and Corinne Cantrill


This article was a  review of PROJECTED LIGHT, a live two screen presentation by Arthur and Corinne Cantrill at La Mama, Carlton on October 25th to 30th. 1988 (there was much made of the synchronicity of the date with their house  Prestonia in Moonee Ponds which was built in 1888). It was an examination of a major technical shift in 16mm avant-garde filmmaking, when Kodak ‘retired’ a direct positive print stock that had allowed filmmakers to order just a single print from their original positive film (by direct contact printing in the lab and not requiring an internegative to make copies).  Continue reading “Losing the light – Arthur and Corinne Cantrill”

Oshinbo – Eat your Manga.

First published in Sydney Morning Herald Good Living section September 2009.

Did you know that the biggest selling food writer in Japan has lived in Sydney for the past twenty years?

When he finished university Tetsuya Totsuka planned to be a nuclear physicist. Today he is one of the most respected writers of food manga in Japan. And with the release of collected editions of the series, ‘Oishinbo, a la carte’ translated into English, I suggested his impact is certain to be much wider. Continue reading “Oshinbo – Eat your Manga.”