CVP: 50 not out
Posted on Dec 20, 2022
GTC wanted to mark its 50th anniversary in a big way, so CVP came up with the best present
Simon Edwards, advertising and sponsorship manager for the Guild of Television Camera Professionals (GTC) has the rare distinction of having worked as a camera assistant to Phil Baxter, the late chief executive and co-founder of CVP.
Prior to starting what has become a very successful business, Baxter was a freelance cameraman who would often call on Edwards to help out with projects.
“I was one of his assistants when he was a cameraman working out of a building in Studley,” Edwards recalls. “We would go out and shoot corporates together. So, my relationship with CVP predates it being a sales organisation. Then, when I moved from assisting to shooting, I bought my first camera, a Sony DSR-450, from CVP.”
This year, the GTC turned 50, so the GTC Council decided to mark the milestone properly. “You can have a big party, but it limits who wants to turn up because at heart we’re all techie, hands-on, practical people,” he explains. “So, after many meetings and much deliberation we came up with the formula for what turned out to be a hugely successful event.”
NOT A TYPICAL PRODUCTION
The powers that be decided that the GTC 50th Anniversary Event would be a day-long celebration, with a raft of different features for attendees. These included seminars and talks from different companies, such as virtual production specialist Mo-Sys, consultant Neil Thompson discussing the future direction of camera evolution and the GTC’s president and co-founder John Henshall, who described the company’s early days. In the evening, GTC capped off a great day with its annual awards for excellence.
“It wasn’t a typical production,” Edwards says. “We had MCR21, an ex-BBC OB vehicle, which was the 1966 World Cup OB truck. It has been restored and preserved by some fascinating engineers and people who worked in that era of television. Also present was the ‘Roving Eye’, which is a recreation of a BBC OB tracking vehicle, complete with camera and operator mounted on top. Coming right up to date we had a contemporary truck from Zest4.TV, that allowed us to have contrast between old and new technologies.”
Edwards adds that in order for GTC to display the breadth of skills within the organisation, the guild approached its affiliated organisation, the International Association of Wildlife Filmmakers (IAWF) to get involved. That’s when the idea of a camera hide was introduced.
“I asked what they would be shooting with in the wild,” he says. “They came back with a Venice, a CN20 and a support kit, including an OConnor 2575D fluid head.”
Having such a long and established relationship with CVP, Edwards says it was the obvious place to source the equipment to film the big event.
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“I’ve bought mics, batteries, tripods… my first camera channel I bought lock, stock and barrel from CVP,” he says. “What CVP did was allow us to put together a camera hide, so the typical thing that natural history people would spend weeks in shooting frogs mating in the Amazon,” he explains. “CVP also supplied us with a Sony Venice and some support kit.”
Edwards says the rationale behind buying his kit from CVP was the fact it employs sales staff he knows. The Studley site is also just 20 minutes from his home in the Cotswolds.
“There’s always an alternative, but what CVP offers is support in terms of location and technical knowledge,” Edwards says.
“One can call and speak to somebody who is trained and knows what they’re doing. In terms of support, there’s the stockholding. Recently, I got in touch because I needed half a dozen hand mics for another project I was working on and was told they would be ready for collection the following day.”
Global supply chain issues continue to hinder the sector, with many companies unable to meet customers’ demands. However, Edwards notes that CVP’s ability to maintain stock is an example as to why it remains his first choice.
What’s more, Edwards says the way the company markets the products is far superior to anything he’s experienced.
“The other thing everybody you speak to likes about CVP is the website,” he concludes. “From the day that website went live, it’s been the go-to resource for knowledge. It has more information on it than the manufacturers’ websites. I would probably describe it as class-leading, if not world-leading.”
Baxter would be proud.
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