L-R: Brett Dwyer, Lemac National Rentals Manager, Tim Jordin, Brisbane Rentals Manager and Sue Greenshields, Managing Director.
Jeanette Taylor is the owner of Videocraft Australia, which grew out of a TV repair business in the early 70’s. Since then, Taylor has divided her time between five children and the business – which has become quite the family affair, with one son and one daughter in executive roles. Sue Greenshields, Managing Director at Lemac, studied economics at Monash, where she made a film – titled A Woman’s Place – in 1978. Marrying that expertise, she joined Lemac in 1982 and has seen the company go from two staff to 40 over four decades, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
You originally dabbled in production, is that right?
Taylor: Video camera and recorder sales and rentals were the foundations of Videocraft, but production was also a strong part of the business for some years.
Greenshields: We used to shoot and then we made a business decision to commercialise the equipment end. And from that grew the sales arm. The production background is one of our strengths; we don’t just rent and sell camera gear, we actually understand it from a post end.
What are the most recent additions to your inventory?
Taylor: New and upgraded EVS servers. Super-fast 10-gig Ethernet connection now makes it so much easier to manage large volumes of video content in fast replay environments. We also have some serious new audio processing gear which is part of our mobile production/OB truck and our larger 4K capable FlyPack – we love that this can be shipped anywhere in Australia and set up really quickly in a portable site shed. Plus we have extended our fleet of Sony high-end large sensor cameras and high end 4K zoom lenses from Canon and Fujinon.
Greenshields: We’ve just done Dance Academy: The Movie for Joanna Werner in Sydney, and that’s on the new [Panasonic] VariCams; a mixture of VariCam 35s and LTs. And that was with Cooke Anamorphics, so that was an interesting combination. We’ve just added another lens to the Cooke Anamorphics set; beautiful set of lenses. You’re always adding to the fleet and we try and stay ahead of the game. We’ve just done Hoges the telefeature up in Queensland. That was on an Alexa mini and some new ARRI wireless units. We’ve just used [Sony] F65s on A Place to Call Home season 4. The variety of those cameras is an opportunity and a challenge for a rental company.
Jeanette Taylor, Videocraft Australia owner.
What are the main challenges the equipment game faces?
Taylor: For us one of the real challenges is finding good technical staff who can marry the knowledge of traditional broadcast equipment with the newer IT based equipment skills. To date, we have largely trained our own people on the job, but it’s not a quick process so it would be great to see more graduates who are work ready broadcast engineers. Most of the university and TAFE courses tend to focus more on the creative side of the industry. We’re always looking for people who just love to play with the toys! I guess deciding which path to invest in with new technology is the other ongoing issue – sometimes the overwhelming amount of choice and information out there makes decisions extremely difficult.
Greenshields: The rapidly changing technology is an ongoing challenge. In the bigger picture it’s about making sure we have a sustainable industry. Funding for the industry as a whole has always been an issue. How the money gets through to make those productions. It’s [about] defending that local product against internationals, but we still need the internationals to come in. The challenge has always been [in] working that balance so that we can sustain an industry.