BSC Operators Night 2015

Friday November 27 2015
The Langham Hotel
1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1

by Phil Méheux

A record number of members, patrons and guests - 272 in fact - gathered at the superior appointed Langham Hotel for the 64th annual BSC Operators night held in the main ballroom.

The Langham is one of the largest and best known traditional style grand hotels in London and the exterior has featured in a number of movies including my own GOLDENEYE in 1995 when it doubled as the St. Petersburg Grand Hotel Europe with a night exterior lit by my gaffer, the late and great Terry Potter and help from the late and great AFM lighting (below).

Built between 1863 and 1865 at a cost of £300,000 it was then the largest and most modern hotel in London, featuring a hundred water closets, thirty-six bathrooms and the first hydraulic lifts in England. The Prince of Wales performed the opening ceremony on 16 June 1865.
Some of the renowned guests during those times included Mark Twain, Napoleon III, Oscar Wilde, Antonin Dvorak and Arturo Toscanini. Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set Sherlock Holmes stories such as A Scandal in Bohemia and The Sign of Four partly at the Langham.
It has changed hands over the years and refurbished on several occasions, the last being between 2004 and 2009 at an estimated cost of £80 million.

Members and their guests were welcomed into the reception area with glasses of Prosecco, Cipriano, Veneto, Italy NV, and while catching up with old friends and new ones, were regaled with a video loop courtesy of Gwyn Evans of clips from the nominated feature and television work for the ACO/BSC/CHCT Operators awards for features and television drama. After a lot of hand shaking, gossip and much cajoling, the gathered throng descended to the ballroom for dinner.

Amongst the honoured guests were visiting cinematographers Don Burgess ASC, who had been shooting Conjuring 2 accompanied by his son, camera operator, Michael Burgess and Steve Yedlin ASC currently involved with Star Wars: Episode VIII and Danish cinematographer Stephan Pehrsson who was nominated for BSC Best Cinematography of a TV Drama. We were also pleased to host operators: Tomasz Nowak from Poland, nominated for feature operating on IDA and Ciaran Barry ACO from Ireland, nominated for television drama operating on Ripper Street.

Wolfgang Suschitzky BSC

Amongst our own members, Robin Browne BSC made his usual trek from Michigan, USA to be with us along with honorary member, the irrepressible Wolfgang Suschitsky BSC at age 103 (Wolfgang manages to attend almost every social function we hold), and, of course, our very own Sir Sydney Samuelson.

For the first time we employed a Toastmaster dressed in the traditional eye-catching red tail coat who introduced our president Barry Ackroyd BSC, who was passing through London from Berlin and on his way to Washington DC for No. 5 in the Jason Bourne series, to open the proceedings and welcome our guests and honorary members. Whilst on stage he presented membership certificates to new elected members: Balasz Bolygo, James Aspinall, Mike Spragg, Tony Slater Ling and George Richmond and to associate member, Ben Wilson.

Toastmaster Peter West, then called up governor Derek Suter BSC for the traditional toast to the operators and Tony Jackson Assoc BSC gave the response and dinner was served,

    - Tartare of Forman`s smoked Scottish salmon, pickled cucumber, creme fraiche;
    - Lamb, apricot and pistachio tagine, couscous;
    - Freshly baked apple tart, vanilla Anglaise, Chantilly cream;

Accompanied by Grenache Blanc. La Loupe, Pays d’Oc, France 2014 and Cabernet Sauvignon, Esprit de Serame, I.G.P. Pays d`Oc, France.

All agreed that the food, wine and service were excellent.

After the veritable feast, governor and past president, John De Borman BSC took to the stage to list the nominees for the BSC Award for Best Cinematography of a TV Drama and present the award to the winner. Here are the nominees with the winner in bolded type:

   -  GAVIN FINNEY BSC for Wolf Hall - Ep 2 - Entirely Beloved
   -  FABIAN WAGNER BSC for Game of Thrones - Series 5 Ep8 Hardhome
   -  PJ DILLON for Penny Dreadful - Ep 10 - And They Were Enemies
   -  STEPHAN PEHRSSON for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Ep 7

Gavin Finney BSC with his award flanked by Barry Ackroyd BSC and John de Borman BSC

Our thanks to Bob Evans of Panavision for engraving the award.

BSC Governor, Phil Méheux BSC was called to the stage to read the nominees for camera operating. Phil began; "This year the operating awards committee, comprised of members from the ACO, BSC and GBCT was chaired by Mike Southon BSC who tells me that not only did they streamline the voting for the feature award but more importantly launched a new award for Television Drama Operators."

Mike Southon commented: "Both these awards are reserved for dedicated operators not cameraman/operators and will become an intrinsic part of the camera department calendar, which we hope will raise awareness of the operator`s role both in features and television drama.
The nominations for both awards displayed cohesive and innovative operating that exemplified the very best of the art, science, organisation and diplomacy required of operators in today`s highly competitive industry. The juries for both awards only settled on the winners after an impassioned and informed debate."

Barry Ackroyd read the nominations for ACO/BSC/GBCT Feature Operating Award sponsored by PANAVISION with the winner in bolded type and they were:

   - Chris Squires for WHIPLASH
   - Des Whelan for FURY
   - Tomasz Nowak for IDA

Barry Ackroyd BSC with Peter Cavacuiti BSC accepting the Feature Operating Award
on behalf of Chris Haarhoff

Chris Haarhoff is shooting in the States and the award was collected on his behalf by Peter Cavacuiti Assoc. BSC, ACO who read an acceptance note from Chris: "I am thrilled to be recognised by the BSC, ACO & GBCT, and I wish that I could be here in person to accept this honour. Birdman was indeed challenging and I was fortunate to be part of such an ambitious vision. To be considered along with Chris Squires, Des Whelan and Tomasz Nowak means a lot to me, and I want to thank the Societies and their membership for awarding me tonight."

The next award was the ACO/BSC/GBCT TV Drama Operators Award sponsored by RONFORD BAKER. Quoting Mike Southon again as judging committee chairman: "What became clear especially in episodic drama, was how the operating team, and in most cases it was a team, provided a crucial sense of continuity across multiple episodes, directors and DPs."

The nominees with the winners in bolded type were:

   - Philip Sindall Assoc BSC ACO GBCT, David P. Morgan ACO & James Layton ACO for
     Downton Abbey - Christmas Special ‘A Moorland Holiday’
   - Ciaran Barry ACO for Ripper Street - Series 3 - Episodes 2,4 + 8
   - Martin Foley GBCT for Critical - Episodes 3,7,8 + 11
   - Sean Savage Assoc BSC ACO GBCT, David Morgan ACO, Ben Wilson Assoc BSC ACO &
     David Worley Assoc BSC ACO GBCT for Game of Thrones - Series 5 - Episodes 8 & 9 - 
    `Hardhome` & The Dance of Dragons`
   - Andrei Austin Assoc BSC ACO & Ossie McLean ACO for Outlander - Season 1 - Episodes
     1,2,4,8 and 15

Barry Ackroyd BSC; David Morgan ACO; Ben Wilson Assoc BSC ACO; 
Sean Savage Assoc BSC ACO GBCT and Phil Méheux BSC.
Dave Worley Assoc BSC ACO was unable to be present


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