Barry Bowmer describes his role in Film Ops in Manchester

And you moved up to Manchester to become…?

I went into Film Ops. Film Operations, which was under Bill Lloyd and did various parts of jobs there initially. Some film library, again messages to the labs. Humphries Laboratories which used to process film which was quarter of a mile away, used to go backwards and forwards to there and assisting in different things and then I went into commercial make-up which was where the commercials were put together once we’d got a schedule on the day they went out and it was a mechanical process of joining particular commercials together, you know with big black spacing in, there used to be a pause of about a second between each commercial and so we used to put the commercials together. That’s about it in there.

Because they would all be on film?

It was all on 35mm film. You know you used to get a schedule and join them all together so that they could go onto different reels so that they could be transmitted from the telecine at the end of part 1 of a film, you know, etc., etc.

From there I went into features make-up which again was putting timing and viewing and editing feature films and packages that were brought in from outside. To make them correct for when the breaks needed to come up etc. the commercial breaks. I did that for a good while.

So you would actually have to edit the feature film to the right time?

Yes if it was 10, well it could have been anything from 10 minutes to half an hour over, you know, a feature film and you had to cut out the appropriate bits, to get it down to time and to fit the commercial breaks.

Did you ever get it wrong?!

Occasionally! After being doing it for a while you were just comfortable with it, knew to a certain extent, you thought, what you were doing.

You didn’t cut out any crucial moments?

No, that’s happened by other people but I didn’t, you are supposed to report to the office if there were any hangings or, you know, vastly violent things in it depending on what time it was going out etc. and the one that I, well didn’t miss but it was such a well-known film, was the African Queen and I can’t remember but I think that was a hanging or the suggestion of a hanging and I didn’t report it but I got away with it because it was classed as a ‘Classic’ at the time but I think others have been known to cut out a song, you know, a hit song out of a musical or something because it fitted the time, you know it run for 5 minutes or whatever and they lost the song. But no, that went on for a while and then I went to assisting, Assistant Editor and was doing that for, again a period. I’ve no idea how long a period and eventually I got made up to Editor. So I assisted on numerous things, got made up to Editor and started as usual I suppose with local programmes etc., inserts for various programmes. Scene at 6:30, that sort of thing and then onto bigger things for inserts into other programmes or sections of programmes that were actually on film as opposed to being studio-based.

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