Daily Archives: January 4, 2010

One man band

Photo by Bill Birdsong, official photographer for Gov. Lester Maddox

Why is this man smiling?

The answer is clear:  He’s about to commit acts of television with his hifalutin’ state-of-the-art TV gear, circa 1967.

This fresh-faced youngster is Dan Keever, ex-WAGA photog turned UGA / Grady College TV guru.  During his career, Keever hauled around everything from a CP-16 film camera to a TK-76 3/4″ tape camera to a Betacam.  But he’s got a soft spot in his heart for this sweet little jewel, which predates the CP-16.

“That’s an Auricon 600 studio film camera.  It weighed 45 pounds – just the body,” Keever writes.  The photo was shot inside the state capitol in Atlanta.  Keever was about to apply his craft with 400 feet of black-and-white magstripe 16mm film.

"Hey Dan!" - At the 1968 Democratic Convention. Photo by WAII/WQXI (now WXIA) reporter Bill Buckner

“The magazine was made to hold 600 ft but we shot 400 ft loads. The empty magazine weighed 15 pounds by itself,” says Keever.

Added up, Keever says the gear weighed 90 pounds.   That doesn’t include the 25 pound tripod.  (Keever says he weighs 145 pounds in the above photo.)

“When I was shooting, the shoulder brace held the camera pretty well.   I preset the audio, and held the light as far away from the camera as I could. (I used to advocate that shooters be outfitted with a third arm.) I tried to use a tripod as much as I could. Reporter Phil Flynn carried it.

“The Auricon ran on AC,  so the power pack hanging from the shoulder had a converter built into it. The batt belt just ran the light and like any battery it lasted until just before you REALLY needed it,”  Keever writes.

Still smiling: Professor Dan Keever

He’s wearing a suit because Keever and Phil Flynn covered the Capitol as a bureau.  Each of them trolled for stories and produced them for air.

“We were also reporters and would have to do our own standup shots. We were a staff of 12 trying to look as big as the 25 person staff of WSB-TV.”  The suits obviously took a beating under that load of gear, and then some.

Writes Keever:  “The batteries also would occasionally leak and cause the clothing to dissolve.”

What Keever calls “blessed relief” came nearly a decade later with the comparatively lightweight CP-16.  But the advent of videotape brought its own horrors:  The Ikegami HL-33.

Writes Keever:   “The camera head, which had a flat bottom that was very uncomfortable, weighed 33 pounds. The backpack that was attached by a heavy multi-conductor cable, contained a large part of the circuitry for the camera and a 25 pound battery and weighed a total of 60 pounds.

“I was right back in the 90 pound portable gear business!”

This is a fragment of a video commemorating Keever’s induction into NATAS’s Silver Circle.  TV professionals are encouraged to critique the work of Keever’s UGA students by visiting dankeever.com. It’s on the blogroll to the right under “UGA student projects.”