In Memoriam – David Laker


David Laker was a long standing and committed member of Orpington Video and Filmmakers and served on the Committee as Treasurer for the last 12 years, managing the accounts methodically and ensuring money was used appropriately, subs collected halls hired, bills paid and accounts kept up to date.  He and Carole kindly hosted a number of club garden parties in their beautiful garden.


His desire was for the club to thrive and to drum up interest, particularly with teenagers, he contacted Bromley College offering to help judge student’s films; a very successful move resulting in one of these students recently joining the club. 


He organised and put on shows, tailored to specific needs for The National Trust and others, and was key in organising our ‘Spring’ and ‘Autumn Shows’, encouraging Knoll residents, members of his church and friends to attend, maintaining contacts to invite them again. 


His films about Orpington’s history were shown at events held at his Church, and copies given to appropriate libraries for the future.  His research was thorough; it must have taken hours; what a boon to the Historic Society.  He obtained copies of maps from centuries ago, voting papers, photos, land holdings, etc., drawing on information held in libraries and The Imperial War Museum to include in his films. David was delighted to win top awards for ‘An Unwelcome Piece of Orpington’s History’ about the last victim of WWII, Ivy Millichamp, killed by a V2 bomb in Orpington. 


When England went into lockdown, David was the one who set up and hosted Zoom meetings.  He began to put our club’s newsreels on Vimeo for the public to access, so advertising the club.  He sent out invitations to all his contacts inviting them to a zoom ‘film show’ specifically created for this purpose. He organised a live show at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley, to advertise OVFM and to encourage new members.  To give members access to watch films and to assist at club meetings he put many archive films onto Vimeo.  He was proactive in gathering footage for each year’s newsreel to which he was a huge contributor going out in all weathers, covering the likes of the Remembrance Day Services at the War Memorial, All Saints Church and Canadian Corner, the Children’s Business event, the Big O Festival, Palm Sunday processions, Christmas lights and the Santa Dash.  David hadn’t slowed down and wished others would show the same enthusiasm and commitment.


During lockdown, he together with a handful of others moved to a complex edit program and, with the help of John Epton, learned the basics of this system.  John allowed each attendee to pose questions to be covered in the ‘Zoom’ tutorial and then guided them through the process.  David learned animation and from that time on, we would witness David drawing lines along ancient maps to pinpoint whatever part of the story needed visual assistance. Some of us hoped he would move on, but such was his love of this new found skill that we were to witness many more lines being drawn on maps, or blocks of colour to highlight certain buildings, streets or areas.


The flavour of many an exotic holiday abroad was captured on film, as were adventures with his grandchildren and an explanation of why icebergs are blue. Technically challenging, he made ‘A Time When Orpington was Still a Village’ using wonderful paintings by Richard Rayner’s from the 1890s, superimposed onto a scene of the exact spot today.  Two films ‘Disastermind’, a spoof of Mastermind and ‘Costly Words’ a joke, set in a restaurant, caused a great deal of amusement.


David leaves a huge void in the club and cannot be replaced.  He will be sadly missed. We remember him with fondness and if we all had his energy and commitment….. well….. we’d all be worn out!  We send our sincere condolences to Carole and the family at this sad time. 


Jane Oliver – OVFM Chairman



Spring is in the air which means it is time once again for OVFM to mark the occasion as only we can!


One of the most important dates in the OVFM calendar is our annual Spring Show where we share the fruits of our labours from a year of busy filmmaking, along with some gems from our archive. What better way to celebrate the days getting lighter and warmer than with evening of films from the very best local amateur filmmaking talent.


Along with a collection of films covering all genres from drama to comedy, travelogue to documentary as well as classics from our extensive archive spanning over 60 years, you will also see our legendary newsreel looking back at major local events in 2022!


This year’s event will take place on FRIDAY 24th MARCH at 7:00 for 7.30 pm

VENUE –  Methodist Church, Sevenoaks Road, Orpington, BR6 9JH




Club members get in free but for guests and non-members the tickets are £5 and are available by making a request via e-mail at or by telephone on 01689 859639. Don’t leave it too late as they tend to get snapped up very quickly.


A reminder that there will be an intermission for you to enjoy some refreshments, stretch you legs, and chat with friends, whilst we also will be hosting our legendary raffle, so be sure to use this time to get your tickets for that! 


If any OVFM club members or our external friends wish to help publicise this event please download a printable version of the poster HERE (open the file, right click and save).


For an entertaining and sociable evening do join us on Friday March 24th and bring along your friends and family!

In Memoriam – John Epton


In Memoriam of John Epton


John Epton appeared quiet and unassuming yet beneath that façade was a highly intelligent technically minded expert, with an incredible ability to teach others the intricacies of editing in a non-threatening, simplistic way, leaving room for questions, patiently going through each step.


His camera work was excellent; superb with his more recent 4K camera.  He and Ann worked closely making many award winning films over the years.  Their films included charity events, dances, holidays, narrowboats, restorations, artwork and even a spoof film. They continued to make films for as long as John was able.  Their latest, ‘The End of an Era’ a story of the local fruit and veg stall as it closed for good was made in memory of the stallholder’s wife and won three awards in the months before he passed away, including at BIAFF where only highly skilled filmmakers dare enter.


When there were events to cover, John would be one of the first volunteers.  He would capture local events such as ‘The Big O’, fetes, Christmas events and Remembrance Day Services.  He didn’t only pay attention to getting the right shot he always captured the best sound quality, something many filmmakers overlook.  He helped me to film the story of the youngest pilot to fly solo circumnavigating the globe in a single engine aircraft and to film The Mayor of Bromley and The Mayor of Thunder Bay, Canada signing a 100 year friendship agreement in the Council Chamber.  I was always happy to see John’s name stamped into the credits of my films.


Special effects were scattered about in many of his films, but to the untrained eye they might have gone unnoticed; like when he put ‘Epton’ as a credit on the narrow boat at the end of one film and pinned it in such a way that it not only travelled with the boat, but changed angle as the boat changed angle with a shadow cast over it to marry up with the ‘moving’ shadow on the boat.  Other times he would change the colour of an object without anyone guessing. The green screen came into play; like in his film ‘The Gang Broke Up’.  


When it came to Barbara Walker’s ‘Commute’, John carefully calculated the various measurements in order to superimpose commuters into a moving train.  The complexities of this film would have left most of us scratching our heads, but John had the solution.  Even at breakfast he would be calculating how precisely he was going to get Cornflakes to jump out of the box and run for their lives before the horrible Ogre gobbled them up.  Not only did he make these incredible films, he then made ‘how it was made’ films; what a gift.


The Spring and Autumn Shows would often had the ‘Epton’ stamp on them, be it the design of the OVFM logo, the opening sequence to a show or the newsreels which were superbly put together. For our 60th Anniversary it was John who once more stepped up to technically put together an incredible show, working his magic on worn out early films to bring more light, contrast and life back into them before converting everything into a format none of us had ever heard of; he cracked it! Without him it would have been impossible; no other member had the skill to do it.  And it was him and Ann we had to thank for securing the venue, the local Odeon with its huge screen.


During lockdown the club took a while to realise the potential of Zoom.  In hindsight lockdown and zoom became our best friends as four of us joined John almost most weeks as he unravelled the mystery of DaVinci Resolve via Zoom.  John taught us so much over the last two years to make all four of us competent in using Resolve, something we would never have achieved on our own.


John leaves a huge void in the club but we are extremely thankful for his generosity in helping others to become the filmmakers they are now and to leave us with films crammed with information to help.  


We send our sincere condolences to Ann and the family at this sad time. 

Jane Oliver

Chairman OFVM



I’m so sorry to hear this. He will be very badly missed.  A good friend to me.

Hugh Darrington



He will leave a huge gap in the Club’s knowledge base AND top class film makers we have been privileged to have as Members.  But of course his films will live on.

Brian Pfeiffer



I am so sorry to hear the sad news about John Epton. He was a mainstay of our club with a vast technical knowledge of film making and editing. His films were always highly watchable and of high quality. Amiable by nature and always ready to help, he will be greatly missed by us all.  My condolences to Ann and family.

John Bunce



John was the kind of member that every film club needs.  A brilliant film maker but always willing to provide support and advice to others, and to work on various projects to support the club such as setting up the technical aspects of the film archive, providing FileZilla to enable file sharing, running training sessions, including Zoom sessions to get some of us started with Resolve editing software.  I was so grateful for the patient help he gave me over the years and will miss him greatly.

David Laker



How sad to hear of the death of John Epton!  John was a long time member of the club and I’m sure we will all miss him badly.


John was a multi-talented person and it was his misfortune to live near to me, so over the years I certainly made use of some of his talents, especially advice on computer and editing problems. We did not see many films from John, which is a shame, but he was one of the mainstays of the club.  I consulted him if I needed any special effects in a film.


One which comes to mind is for a film which I called The Quest.  It featured a number of club members and took place in Cotman’s Ash which is a private area of woodland near Kemsing.  I happened to be a friend of the owner and he gave us permission to shoot our film in the shack in the woods. The IAC had a set theme each year for a National Competition and at that time it was  ‘Blue’.  It was only my second attempt to make a thriller, so I piled on the effects.  Most were simply unsettling noises around the shack in a thunder storm which I created during the editing. 


Anna Littler was the unfortunate lady who had agreed to spend a night in this haunted shack. Club members wearing black hoods were seen flitting around outside the shack, but where did the ‘blue’ come in? Well, I had planned for Anna to look into the mirror and gradually her reflection faded and was replaced by a blue mist through which sinister hooded figures (club members) could be seen approaching. John managed this splendidly; her image disappeared and a thoroughly menacing figure replaced it.  It was of course, Andy from our club.


I was quite proud of the film although it did not win the competition, but it was good to make a ‘club film’ again and I think we all enjoyed it – even poor Anna, who came to an unfortunate end!

Colin Jones



Every film club should have someone like John Epton as a member – someone who has knowledge of their craft and is willing to share it with everyone, someone who is always open to helping others with their projects or represent the club, and most importantly, someone with whom is easy to get along.


I must confess I didn’t really get to know John that well until about halfway through my time with OVFM, although I had got to chat with Ann more before then. Despite being a prolific filmmaker for the club and an attendee at the meetings and film shoots, I always felt John was a little like me in that he could easily fade into the background whilst the bigger personalities held court.


Unlike me, John was a good filmmaker, especially documentaries on local activities, and he was keen to learn the mechanics and technical aspects of this hobby of ours, which I was in awe of as many in the club didn’t seem so interested in. John would host tutorials to explain the foundations and benefits of such post production necessities like colour correction (about which I have since become a bore) in easy to understand terms.


It never felt as if John was showing off this knowledge, rather he was keen to help us become better filmmakers, and that to me is he mark of a good tutor. On a personal note, the turning point for me in getting to know John was the making of MEET DEXTER. John thankfully took on the role of DOP (director of photography) for the shoot and we met up beforehand to discuss the shooting, the blocking, and he even drove Annabelle Lancaster and myself to Derek and Olive Allen’s house to check out what would be our filming location.


Knowing John was onboard to oversee that aspect of the production took a huge load of responsibility off my shoulders so I could get on with the directing without any worries, and that the ideas we had for some of the more ambitious shots would be pulled off. It didn’t stop there, as John helped out with the post-production and later, burning the specially printed DVDs to send out to cast and competitions.


We would collaborate on two further projects of mine, LOST SMILE and COLD CALL, the former was shot at John and Ann’s house and contains some of the best photography of any film of mine. Well, it would – John had £2,000 4K camera whilst I was using a £150 Sony camcorder – but I still look at those shots and know that I can’t take any credit for them but I am very proud they are in the film.


And I am sure I am not alone, as many films made by club members and club projects will bear John’s name on there somewhere, be it as cameraman, sound recording, editor, colour correction, or another valuable role. It is great to have such an all-rounder who is willing to give up his time to aid others, unless it was a ploy to avoid doing the shopping with Ann. But I digress…


Like many couples in OVFM, John and Ann were a great double-act, which I always found charming. Whatever small differences there may have been in their personalities, they complemented each other and clearly brought out the best in each other. Whenever Ann was also involved in a film shoot, she and John were a team yet they could work independently of each other, so in essence we were getting double the benefit of the Epton experience.


So, to John I would to say thank you – for the knowledge you imparted, the experience you shared, the time you afforded us, the kindness you showed, the confidence you gave me, and the humility with which you did it. I feel blessed and fortunate to have known you and like many, the legacy you leave in OVFM is immeasurable.


My thoughts and deepest condolences are with Ann and her family.

Lee Relph



I totally concur that every club should have a member like John.


He was one of those people who work tirelessly in the background without many people in the club realising it. He was very kind and generous to all of us at OVFM, both helping whenever he could and sharing his wide technical knowledge with endless patience.


Film making can be a very solitary hobby, especially when it comes to editing. You can spend hours on your own tucked away in the spare bedroom, with your partner feeling somewhat abandoned elsewhere, so it makes a tremendous difference when it can all be shared. Many, many skills are required in the making of a film, and Ann and John were the ideal partnership, each lending their individual talents to the completed item.


John will be sadly missed by us all, especially Ann to whom I offer my sincere condolences. I’m so glad I knew him.

Annabelle Lancaster



OVFM Autumn Film Show 2022

One of the most important dates in the OVFM calendar is our annual Autumn Show where we share the fruits of our labours from a year of busy filmmaking, along with some gems from our archive with the public. As the nights are getting darker and colder you’ll need something to brighten them up so why not join us for another evening of films from the very best local amateur filmmaking talent.


This year’s event will take place on  FRIDAY 7th OCTOBER at 7:00 for 7.30 pm

VENUE –  Methodist Church, 19 Sevenoaks Road, Orpington BR6 9JH




Club members get in free but for guests and non-members the tickets are £5 and are available by making a request via e-mail at or by telephone on 01689 859639. Don’t leave it too late as they tend to get snapped up very quickly!

And of course there is our famous raffle where a selection of wonderful prizes are up for grabs provided you have that all important winning ticket!

If any OVFM club members or our external friends wish to help publicise this event please download a printable version of the poster HERE  (open the file, right click and save).

For an entertaining and sociable evening do join us on October 7th and bring along your friends and family!

OVFM 2022 Garden Party Notice


GARDEN PARTY – 26th JULY 2022 at  6pm.


Our summer get-together replaces our usual meeting and is on Tuesday 26th July. It’s now called a “Garden Party” but the event has evolved a great deal over the years.


Way back many, many years ago it was a simple gathering of members over a beef burger in a bun accompanied by a few fried onions. That proceeded to grow year by year until it became a fully-fledged barbecue, with a choice of meats and a wide variety of salads and desserts. However, all this entailed an awful lot of work for some members, including a cook, who didn’t get the chance to relax and enjoy themselves with everybody else, so it was suggested we ordered in fish and chips.


This worked very well until we had to stop meeting because of Covid 19.


We have always been very grateful to those members who offered to accommodate us in their gardens where we’ve had a variety of experiences. We’ve met in all weathers (bad weather never puts a stop to OVFM!) including the night of ‘Pavarotti in the Park’,  with Princess Diana filmed sitting in torrential rain. We were privileged to have as our cook that night Frank Hyde’s son, a chef at the 5 star Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh, who, nothing daunted, battled away under a big tarpaulin to keep us fed. On another occasion some brave folk were able to have a swim in Mike Shaw’s outdoor pool.


This year, we are grateful to Colin and Corrie Jones for inviting us to their lovely garden (address in the Members’ Only section) where we’re going to have a ‘bring your own’ picnic for which there are a few requests –


  • Arrive from 6 (six) pm
  • Bring your own food, drink and glasses.
  • Add something warm to wear in case it gets chilly.
  • Chairs if you wish but there will be some available.
  • There’s parking in nearby roads but be careful not to block any entrances.
  • Masks are worn at your own discretion


This is a good opportunity to meet up again and catch up with all your news.


Partners are also very welcome so please do come along and make it a party.


One last request – please let Barbara  J. know by 24th July whether or not you will manage to be there, and how many of you there will be.

Annabelle Lancaster



And here we go with the first round of the 2022 TOP TEN competition.


Like many of the activities we undertake as a club this one has had to undergo a slight change to fit in with the current climate and limitations of travel for many of our members. don’t worry it doesn’t put you out too much – except when you’re entering a film into this competition that is!


The first change is that we are holding this year’s comp via Zoom (not that big a deal but it is a first for the Top 10, last year’s final side), so nobody has to go anywhere. 


Secondly, we are not allotting any specific rounds to members as we use to; this year it is an open field. In other words, if you have a film ready then you can enter it, no need to wait until your round to share it with us. But this does mean a tighter deadline for submitting your films since they will need to be compiled into a single program for competitions officer David Roman-Halliday to screen from his PC/or via Vimeo.


Members are therefore asked to send their films to either David R-H or David Laker by WeTransfer or Filezilla by NO LATER THEN SATURDAY JULY 10TH to give David plenty of time to download the films and compile the programme as well as create the marking forms ahead of Tuesday.


Do please help us make this new system a success with your cooperation and we wish every the best of luck to all who enter a film this year.



For this meeting, the format is going to be slightly different, possibly even radical in its thinking but should be treated as the same as any other practical evening. We are looking to do some filming and improve our techniques and understanding of our craft but this time it is up to YOU to manage it yourselves.


What does that mean? Here is our chair Jane Oliver to elucidate:


Our previous two practical sessions dealt with framing, camera angles, capturing moving objects, working out the best type of shot for a given scenario, pans and zooms, cutaways and capturing good sound. We now want to build on this by giving you all the opportunity to practice these skills.


Rather than meeting in the hall on the evening of 28th June for 2 hours, we’ve decided to give members the opportunity to commit 2 hours to practicing these skills or to start or complete their Top Ten entry at a time that suits them between now and 31st July to give everyone ample opportunity to film something in good light and hopefully in good weather.  Hopefully some will have completed their Top Ten entry before this, so that it can be shown in the first round on12th July. 


Filming can be done individually or in groups arranged by members who wish to get together.  You don’t have to use a video camera; a phone or stills camera will do the job (photo montages are acceptable too).  You don’t even have to leave home, as there is plenty of material available either indoors or out.


We want EVERYONE to be involved, so please commit to spending at least two hours on this ‘filming’ project.  If there’s enough interest, we plan to show footage from this session at the September 6th meeting and feedback will be given to those who wish.


Essentially, you could look at it as a practical club meeting without the actual club meeting part. Instead of driving down to Petts Wood (or suffering on the bus like I do) to film and hone our skills, we can do it from the comfort of our own homes or local surroundings. Self-management is as important in filmmaking as receiving direction and advice from others, and taking what we have learned and applying it to our filming projects is an essential part of our practical and creative growth, hence this session being an opportunity to do just that. 


Therefore, we are putting our faith in club members to dedicate the 2 hour window (or longer if required or desired) this coming Tuesday to your next filmmaking endeavours – in other words, treat the time as “OVFM time” and not an excuse to watch the tennis just because you won’t be at the club hall! For instance, if you did some filming during the morning or afternoon on Tuesday, you now have the time you would have spent coming to the meeting to check your footage instead. It is hoped this will give you an extra couple of hours to put towards your film to revise and improve it, or have it completed sooner for the Top Ten. 


Sadly, attendance has been down a little lately, and we understand why this is, but it doesn’t mean we want club members who can’t attend in person to feel they are being left out or that their physical absence at meetings means they should stop making films, or continue to learn more techniques or key areas that may require improvement. It is our hobby and interest – surely we should be striving individually and collectively to further our skills, and attain creative fulfilment. We therefore hope that this idea will offer encouragement for them to still feel connected to the club and rekindle their desire to be active filmmakers again.


Jane also has some suggestions for anyone needing inspiration:


For those of you wanting to improve on framing and composition (this applies to stills photography too) can be practiced through using static objects such as:


a letterbox

a house number

an envelope on the door mat

a front door

a flat or house

a street

a garden

a dustbin

a shop


a person, standing or sitting

2 people, standing or sitting

a group of people, standing or sitting



For objects moving across, toward, or away from the lens, you could consider taking shots of 





sports balls

People walking/running/skateboarding  *


You could then examine the footage; and consider:


Should I have taken that shot at a different angle?

Should I have been closer/further away?

What’s in the frame that ought not be or is distracting?

Have I left something out that is essential?

Could I make a story from my footage?

Can I take some cutaways/B-roll to assist?

What additional shots should I film to link up some of these things?


There is no need to do anything complex, unless anyone feels confident enough to want to challenge themselves beyond their current capabilities, especially those who were privileged to be at the last two practical meetings. Some members might like to use some time improving their ‘sound’ skills, lighting set ups, green screen filming, or use this footage to try different editing techniques, such as split screen, modern transitions, and of course, colour correction and grading.


Thank you in advance for stepping up to this challenge in support of your committee who are working hard to keep your interest in your hobby alive.



* For this suggestion, you could place someone centre of the frame and film them walking past different locations, then edit it together to look like one long walk with only the background changing. Just ensure it is someone you know a stalking is an offence!


Keeping a healthy, consistent stream of output is what keeps the club running and our members always learning and improving. Without the films we have nothing – no more film shows, no more competitions, no more club meetings. Currently, it is same few people who are keeping things afloat and one day even they won’t be able to do this anymore, which is why it is crucial that everybody steps up and makes an effort.


As we have demonstrated via Zoom and our Vimeo account, there are still ways to share advice and our work with each other. That is the beauty of modern technology – it affords us so much in the way of practical opportunities we’d be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of them, and we as a film club have no reason not to.


We hope that you all take advantage of this opportunity on Tuesday (weather permitting – or if it is that bad, perfect for a horror film B-roll!) to do something practical with the extra time whether improving a technique or adding to the making your next film. 


Thanks for reading and happy filming!




For the first club meeting of June, we hand the hosting duties over to an old friend of OVFM, Ron Prosser!



Ron Prosser (FACI) has a storied career in filmmaking spanning 65 years, cutting his teeth professionally with Hollybush Films in a number of roles, including the shooting, editing and presenting of corporate films. For this session, he will deliver a programme entitled “Selected Films from Celluloid to Digital” which will no doubt see him delve into his deep archive of films to entertain us, as well as regaling us with stories behind the making of these films.


Ron shares this preview with us:


Film has been a passion for me since childhood and it was in 1954 that I bought my first cine camera, a 9.5mm Dekko Motocamera, a 15th birthday present to myself spending £22 – two years earnings as a butcher’s delivery boy.  

I joined the  ‘Crawley Film Unit’ and progressed onto 16mm, making films in this gauge including corporate and educational films for Hollybush Motion Pictures. Circumstances then brought me to 8mm, both standard and super, during which time I achieved a number of successes in the “Amateur Cine World’s” Ten Best competition.  

Turning to video and then to digital, which was achieving better quality pictures and had become easier to edit, with the advent of nonlinear editing, I made “Rose” as my debut into this brave new medium. This did extremely well in International Festivals including a ‘Guernsey Lily’ and a Bronze UNICA award, both of which I am extremely proud.

Many other films followed including “Letters from the Front” which gained successes in County, Regional, National and International competitions.

So, it is a privilege to share with you a selection of films tonight.”


The event will be taking place via Zoom so look out for an email from secretary Barbara J. Darby containing the link 24 hours before the date in question.


See you then!

OVFM and the Jubilee Celebrations 2022

Jubilee Celebrations 2022


Orpington Video & Film Makers are hoping to include a special Newsreel covering the Queen’s 70th Jubilee in their public show this autumn. However, we will only be able to cover a few of the many events that are planned so we are asking for your help by sending send us films you take on your camera or phone of anything relating to the celebrations.

Our only request is that, if possible, you film in landscape rather than portrait and at the highest picture quality. You can send the footage to us via any of the free transfer systems, such as WeTransfer, or email us at if you have any queries. We will be happy to include you in the credits if you would like this.

Thank you in advance!



Despite a low turn out (of five people!) the last meeting was deemed a valuable enough experience that we’re doing it again for this session too!

We will once again congregate at the Barnard Rooms and expect you to bring along any footage you have filmed recently, unedited and untouched, so it can be viewed and discussed with the possibility of being either the foundation for a new film project, or is related to the upcoming Jubilee celebrations, which we hope to document in a special newsreel for the Autumn Film Show. 


Hopefully, with the weather brightening up you’ll feel more comfortable leaving the house and joining us in person  again. As before, please feel free to wear a mask if you are more comfortable doing so.  Equally, those who don’t like wearing masks, there is no requirement for you to do so.  It is an individual choice that we will all respect whatever you choose.


Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on Tuesday evening!