Out of Darkness by John O Friend; working at ABC TV

I joined the ABC on the...

I joined the ABC on the 28th August 1956 as a Senior Technician/Senior Cameraman. While there was much that I enjoyed about my working life at the ABC, there were also some negative aspects. The hours were long and irregular which adversely affected my home life. Very often I would be called in to work to replace someone who did not turn up and so free days were cancelled. lt was difficult to plan family life under these circumstances. Then my working hours were mostly in the evenings, when normal families would get together - yet I was always absent. Sometimes, I could be required to work until midnight and then commence work at 4.30am the next day. One was expected to accept unequivocally that working on weekends was a necessity and that to be "with it" meant keeping up with the latest technological developments in electronics. I finished my studies and gained a Broadcast Operator Certificate. Most of my co-workers had this certificate and it was a way of gaining promotion. However, my interest in electronics did not make me very popular at home, partly because I was always arriving with new radios and other music equipment and so the arguments were often about the money I had spent on these, when in fact I always looked out for bargains or traded and swapped old equipment for a more up-to date model.

John O. Friend. Working at ABC TV I enjoyed my work at ABC TV. This is an old B&W movie camera. No transistors, no printed circuits. Takes four men to lift one.

It took me a while to realize how the ABC was structured and organized. Anyone employed in the technical section was assumed to be able to operate the television system. They could be allocated to use any technical equipment such as sound, camera or other operations. Technical rather than a broad general education was the prerequisite. Knowledge of music, literature, fine arts, history, geography, languages or science was regarded as irrelevant. At that early stage of television, no one thought much about lighting either. The lights were switched on and if the subject could be seen, all was well.

John O. Friend, ABC TV, Elsternwick ABC TV Ripponlea Studios.

Wikipedia on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) Television, Australia

On my first day, the Victorian Manager received me at the ABC's St.Kilda Road Headquarters. He informed me I had been selected from many applicants and they were pleased to welcome me with my varied qualifications.

While construction of the Ripponlea studios progressed, only one small studio was functional, so Master Control was set up in the Outside Broadcast garage, as a temporary measure. Equipment was busily being installed and new staff arrived every day. I was pleased to be assigned to Outside Broadcast for the Olympic Games as the Senior Cameraman. In l956, the only way television could be recorded was using a movie camera, as was the case for the Olympic games, due to stan in November. One month before the Olympic games, one of the engineers asked me to help because I knew something about photography. He explained they had been unable to get any pictures from the recording system, which had just been installed.

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Out of Darkness by John O Friend; working at ABC TV, I joined ABC on the 28th August 1956 as a Senior Technician/Senior Cameraman