In Memoriam – Mike Shaw


In Memory of Mike Shaw


Jane Oliver, OVFM Chairman


We were sorry to hear that Mike Shaw passed away on 8th December 2019.   Members of OVFM join me in offering condolences to his wife Annie and all the family. Our thoughts and prayers are you sad time.

Many knew Mike much better than I, but I felt an affinity toward him as a fellow ‘creative’ filmmaker who was always up to experimenting.  He was one of the few who understood the importance or ‘story’ to make a film stand out from the crowd and I became fascinated by his work.  He made some beautifully crafted ones where had no need to inject his wonderful humour.  My favourite of these was ‘Turn Around’, where pairs of footwear from baby booties through the years to grandparents slippers and round and round again to show life’s ever turning circle, morphing one pair into the next as they turned round as though hung from a mobile over an infant’s cot.  The idea came to him when he saw pairs of footwear neatly placed in a line in a hallway.  I would watch, absorbed, trying to work out how he’d made it; … what the background? … how did the autumn Maple leaves fall diagonally from the top of the screen to the bottom? … how did the shoes spin in one place? The music, as always, perfectly fitted the story he was silently telling.

The Enid Blyton Film that he made with his friends from Spring Park, Richard and Brenda Troughton, was a very special film and took years to make.  It abounds with special effects many of which you wouldn’t notice or even know existed, where for instance he took intrusive or irrelevant images out of some shots as they were inappropriate to the ‘period’ it was based in.  Many have had the privilege of seeing this film, and it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by its creative beauty.

When it came to his more humorous films, I would find myself reliving those magical moments of my childhood, watching the impossible happen right in front of my eyes; with him starring in most of them, pulling all sorts of faces in front of the camera, I wasn’t the only one who would giggle out loud.  What an artist!  He could paint his story, scene by scene without murmuring a word, such was his ability to tell story through pictures.  His perfect choice of title, font and music, together with his tight cutting to get shot of any unnecessary material, provided  an insight into the work of a master craftsman and the signing off at the end ‘Mike made it’ added that little special personal touch.

Film after film won award after award at club, national and international level and he was involved in all aspects of amateur film.  He served on Committees, held chairmanship posts and wrote in various columns, including the national IAC magazine.  He had a flair for words that made it easy for others to understand his message in a down to earth way.  He was an experienced and fair judge and provided honest constructive feedback to help individuals progress to higher standards.

He was unselfish, often helping others out on a ‘shoot’ or putting together training for the club, answering queries and helping others to resolve issues. He put a huge amount of work and energy into ‘The Viewfinder’ packing every edition with his ‘artistic flair’, colour and humour.

When it came to social events, he was happy to dress up in some bizarre outfit and make a fool of himself and offer his lovely garden to hold our summer get together…. And of course he would be appropriately dressed for the Oscars.

During the last six months, despite not being able to get to the club and frustrated that he was less able to do any editing, he remained in touch and helped me with Resolve and other technical issues.  Mike was a mentor to me and ‘sounding board’ whom I had the greatest respect for.  I am so glad that some of his films were shown in our most recent Autumn Show and although Mike was not able to be with us, he was given his own copy and thoroughly enjoyed watching the show at his leisure.

I was privileged to have known Mike and he will leave a big hole in my affections and that of many a filmmaker, friend or associate.

Rest in peace my friend.    Jane x



2019 is about to come to an end which means the last club meeting of the year is the annual Christmas Social, a once a year event that only happens every 12 months or every 365 days in old money.

For the benefit of our newcomers and a reminder for the rest of you, the social is still at the usual venue but takes place in the larger GARDEN ROOM, which can be accessed through the Barnyard Room if the doors are locked.

As ever there will be a buffet table and hopefully most of you have signed the list that was passed around at previous meetings to confirm what contributions you’ll be making to the food selection. Anything that isn’t eaten will be used for the traditional food fight at the end of the evening. Teas and coffees will be served as per normal but if you wish to bring something a little more kick to it then you are free to do so at your own discretion and expense.

There is usually some form of entertainment to keep everyone busy, often in the form of a game or quiz but the committee are keeping quiet about it so it is either a surprise, or there isn’t anything and you’ll have to talk to each other instead. Last year, someone brought Hungry Hippos with them and there was drama when one of the hippos escaped and held the caretaker hostage, so if you plan to bring something chose wisely as we don’t want a repeat of this incident.

Dressing up is optional as is the donning of festive attire but the important thing is everyone enjoys the evening – or not, it is entirely up to you.

Merry Christmas!




And so we enter the final stretch of 2019 with our last regular meeting of the year, the final round of our annual club competition films!

Offering club members a chance to test their creativity in three separate categories that pay tribute to past club members, this is one of the more unique and interesting challenges in our programme. As ever, the three prizes up for grabs are:


Kath Jones Cup – A joke film with a punchline no longer than 5 minutes in length.

Mike Turner Plate – A film on any subject or style no longer than 60 seconds in length.

Vic Treen Trophy – A film set to music


The rules for each of these can be found HERE which we ask you to adhere to, otherwise the subject matter of your film is entirely in your hands, and you can enter a film for one, two or all three categories.

Last year 15 entries submitted, just two below 2017’s record breaking total, but as we have seen the remits of three different categories usually ensures a healthy response from the collective creative hive of OVFM members.

Now the bit everyone seems to ignore – if you are bringing a film this week it would be very much appreciated if you could PLEASE REPLY TO THIS POST in the comments/reply section below, letting us know the following information:


Run time

Format (DVD, Blu-ray, USB Stick)

File Format and Resolution (MP4 -1080p etc)

Picture ratio (4:3 or 16:9)

Film Category


This is a great help for us when planning the evening out and helping things run smoothly so affording us this courtesy will help get you into Santa’s good books just in time Christmas.

Also, members are reminded to consider their entries to the Annual Competition. We hope the newly updated entry forms will have been approved by the Committee and ready to be handed out at this meeting, whilst the final date for entries is the first meeting of 2020, which is the Top Ten Final on January 7th.

Thanks for reading and good luck to all who enter a film/films.



No this isn’t a case of deja vu, we have a second week where the theme of the meeting is another practical evening.

No this isn’t a case of deja vu, we have a… hold on didn’t I type that already?

Anyway, the idea behind this week’s session is to follow up what was learned at the last meeting about lighting. Much information was imparted about how to light a scene, what type of light to use and where to position it and now it is time to put it all to good use.

David Laker will be running the evening along with a little help from Andy Watson and Trevor Rogers. They will be bringing the club camera and lights but ask club member attending to bring their own cameras and any lighting gear they may have that will help add to the production.

In lieu of any other ideas, David has come up with a scenario he would like to use which will allow a chance to try out the various ways to alight a scene. If anyone has an idea of their own they are welcome to bring it to the meeting and time permitting we may get to try them as well, and hopefully even get to check the footage on the club PC before we wrap up for the evening.

So, it might be dark outside but it will be anything but when you join us this coming Tuesday for an illuminating evening of filmmaking!



It’s time to get out hands dirty again by putting what we’ve learned to good use for another OVFM practical evening. This time however, the session will be more of an educational one as we delve into the subject of lighting, one which has proven a perennial thorn in the side for filmmakers the world over, even in professional circles.

With new members recently joining the club looking to improve their skills and learn new techniques, this was a requested topic and a challenge gladly accepted by our chair Jane Oliver on behalf of our resident brains trust (who just happened to be absent last time, so this is their first time hearing about this).

As you are aware, the club has their own set of lights for us to work with, plus many members have either their own lights or helpful accessories like reflectors or filters which we encourage them to bring with them on Tuesday.

So, if lighting is a bug bear for you when making films and you want to learn how to fix or improve it, the the place to be is at the Barnyard Rooms at St Augustine’s in Petts Wood next Tuesday evening!

Spring Park Evening – November 7th



OVFM members are invited to join Spring Park Film Makers for an evening with one of their prominent filmmakers Peter Macpherson on Thursday November 7th at the Griffiths-Jones Hall, Emmanuel Church, West Wickham, BR4 9JL.

Peter is a prolific filmmaker with a record number of 4 star awards for his films at BIAFF as well as wins in the regional and club competitions. With so much knowledge and experience to draw on, Peter has a busy evening planned featuring filmmaking news, techniques and tutorials interspersed with educational and amusing films which will cover the following topics:


1. The pros and cons of today’s camera technology from mobile phones to camcorders.

2. A bit about gimbal stabilizers

3. Tutorials about filmmaking, including composition and staging.

4. An introduction to the principles of screenwriting.

5. Music in filmmaking.


If anyone is interested in attending this event, please make this known by either replying to this post below or via e-mail to Jane Oliver or in person at the next club meeting on Tuesday November 5th.



It’s a double header evening for the next meeting, as we’ll be dividing the session into two halves.

In the second half we hope to have a Q & A discussion to people a chance to ask that burning question and get a helpful answer from our knowledgeable experts. Before that we have some unfinished business to attend to.

As you recall, this year’s TOP TEN 2019 competition was originally scheduled for two rounds but with only 13 entries and a combination of technical issues, illnesses, new members joining and laziness, the Committee sanctioned this additional “Last Chance” round for people to submit their films.

Names of club members whose entries are outstanding are:


Ron Williams

Andy and Marian Watson

Jim and Fran Morton-Robertson 

Brenda and Roger Wheatley 

Ian Menage

John Alford

Peter Mitchell

Charley Caseley

Sam Brown

Colin Jones

Reg and Annabelle Lancaster


Along with new members David Halliday and Mandy Carr.


As always we ask you to PLEASE reply to this post in the comments below, if you have a film ready. This is vital if we are going to also hold the Q&A session afterwards, so do please respond below by letting us know the following important information :


Run time

Media Format (DVD, Blu-ray, USB stick)

Picture ratio (4:3 or 16:9).


It’s a simple courtesy we are asking of you and it only takes a few seconds to comply.

Just a reminder if you are bringing a file on a USB stick, the club’s Blu-ray player does NOT play .avi files or anything encoded at 4K or above. MP4 (h.264 codec) is the best format to brings your films in.

Thank you for reading and good luck to everyone who enters a film and don’t forget to have those questions ready!





We appreciate the fact that we announced this project just last month (don’t look at me, I don’t make the programme) which hasn’t given you much time for everyone to get your creative juices going or your films made but hopefully some of you have been inspired to put something together for this theme of “Non-Verbal”, or have something lurking in your archives that would fit the bill

In the announcement post, I linked to a silent film I made a few years back. I actually filmed and edited the whole thing inside 6 hours, with half the usual filming problems eradicated as there was no dialogue to record! So if I can do it, you can too.

As usual we ask a little cooperation from everyone bringing a film to the meeting to PLEASE REPLY TO THIS POST in the comments/reply section below, letting us know the film’s run time, media format (DVD, Blu-ray, USB/Memory stick), file format if using the latter (MP4 is preferred, 1080p maximum) and picture ratio (4:3 or 16:9). This is a great help for us when planning the evening out and helping things run smoothly so if you could do us this courtesy it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing your films on Tuesday!



For this session, it is time to get the cameras out again and do some more filming, this time scaling things down a bit to try our hand at table top filming!

What’s that you ask? Well, rather than me explain it to you, I’ll let John Bunce have that honour. Take it away John:



Yes, we are giving simple stop motion animation a go, or something approximating that.  If you recall, former club member and erstwhile chairman Simon Earwicker also made some stop motion films using a whole array of everyday items, like elastic bands, glasses, coins and a desk lamp. Obviously this is a painstaking and time consuming process and two hours isn’t going to be an enough to ke a whole film (especially as it takes everyone so long to settle back down after tea break) so anything we do attempt will need to be very short and straightforward.

Hopefully though, this will prove educational and inspiring enough for you to try this for yourself or give you an idea for your entry into next year’s Top Ten competition!

So, if you have an idea for something you’d like to try, please reply to this post below so we can accommodate as many projects as possible, otherwise if you simply want to learn something new – after all that is why we are members of OVFM to learn new skills – make sure to join us this coming Tuesday and be a part of the fun!





Sorry to break the peace and quiet but since our last Film To A Theme Project the committee have decided to throw another one our way. This time the theme is Non Verbal.


In case this sounds like a daunting topic, remember cinema had existed for nearly 30 years before sound was added to moving images – and they do say a picture is worth a thousand words! Creating a narrative without dialogue might sound difficult but with a little bit of imagination it is a lot easier than it might appear, as I found out when I made a silent film with my nephew a few years back.


Yet, it doesn’t have to be a traditional silent film, it can be anything with a strong and recognisable narrative – maybe a montage of connected images, or a mime act, or even a story told through sign language – the only requirement is that there is no dialogue at all.


There is a lot to think about but unfortunately not too much time a the deadline is the screening evening set for Tuesday October 8th giving you just over a month to put something together.


Good luck and we look forward to seeing your entries on October 8th!