The GBCT’s 16 and 35mm film familiarisation course offered participants a thorough grounding in the mystical arts of celluloid.
16 prospective new Guild members, a healthy mix of 1st ACs, 2nd ACs and trainees, gathered at Panavision from Tuesday 21 – Friday 24 November for a packed four days of learning the mystical arts of working with film. Social media’s power is such that the majority had heard about it via the GBCT Instagram.
The course was run by Roland Phillips, ably assisted by Leo Winslow, Clare Fuller and Christian Hughes. It was a comprehensive mixture of theory and practical experience, providing a thorough grounding in the process from ordering the stock to labelling and sending the rushes, with all points in between. This included a general overview of the history of film, an introduction to the kit, the paperwork, different camera systems and laboratory technology. As a bonus Sam Clark, Kodak’s sales director, visited and gave a very informative and greatly appreciated presentation. Equally welcome and helpful was a virtual tour of Cinelab, hosted by their sales director Roger Harlow.
By the end of the course, the group had learnt to be confident about managing mags, maintaining the film stock inventory, clear, correct labelling and (very important) legible report sheets. They now understand the threat posed by hairs in the gate, run-outs, fogging, spooling, noisy mags, scratches and ripped perfs, to name but a few of the many trip hazards for inexperienced film loaders.
Roland Phillips GBCT
“I started in the film industry as a runner in a variety of post-production and production offices, before moving across to set as a floor runner and PA. During this time, I managed to spend a short period as a trainee at one8six, a camera rental company, which provided a route on to set as a camera trainee.
“I had the good fortune of being one of the 2009 Guild of British Camera Technicians’ intake of camera trainees. After about three years, I moved into the role of clapper loader. My work ranges across feature films, TV drama, comedy, commercials and music videos.
“I’ve been one of a pool of GBCT tutors for a number of years, which I’ve greatly enjoyed, both the teaching and the opportunity to test out my terrible Dad jokes, for which I’m notorious. Did you know that British people are getting used to the metric system, inch by inch?”
Leo Winslow GBCT
“I’m a career clapper loader. I went freelance 10 years ago, having started as a runner when I was 19, followed by three years at ARRI Rental as a technician. Since then, I’ve worked on features and dramas as well as commercials across a variety of formats.
“I was lucky enough to learn film convention when shooting on it was the norm and there was a vast pool of experience to draw on. It’s still my preferred format, due to the challenge, the responsibility and the discipline required. I think that it’s important to continue that tradition and ensure that the knowledge is passed on and the culture of excellence in technicians on film productions is maintained.
“I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to work as an instructor and to meet the next generation of film loaders.”
Clare Fuller GBCT
“Everything was shot on film in 2004, when I started as a trainee in the TV and film industry. I moved on to 2nd AC after two years and worked primarily in the UK, but also in Australia for a couple of years. Currently I work as a 2nd AC on commercials and as a drone AC. I recently completed a Shotover F1 training course and hope to also work as a specialist technician on helicopters and tracking vehicles.
“I thoroughly enjoyed tutoring alongside Roland on the GBCT Film Loading course. It was wonderful to share my knowledge and experience with accomplished and keen camera assistants.”
“I studied photography at university and favoured celluloid film, which influenced my decision to pursue a career in cinema. I started as a camera trainee during the pandemic and stepped up to loading as it ended. I stood in for Clare for one day of teaching and enjoyed both the challenge and the welcoming environment. I’ve worked on 16mm before, most recently on a Welsh language horror folklore short, but my experience pales in comparison with that of my colleagues.
“This course offers hands on experience with the kit and teaches the risk management which comes with the thrill of working with 16mm and 35mm. It’s a safe space to make mistakes and ask the questions there’s no time for on set. Roland’s an exceptional teacher and a font of wisdom. He has a true passion for his subject and inspired everyone in the room.”