Let’s begin by going back in time! In the late Seventies several attempts were made to form some sort of association to bring vision mixers together. Initially such stalwarts as Dave Hanks, Daphne Renny and Ken Angus had met to discuss the issues of the day. Peter Philips wrote a letter to all known vision mixers and with Jackie O’Gorman set up an inaugural meeting at YTV Leeds in June 1979.
The Association of Vision Editors was formed there and ratified at a further meeting in Pebble Mill later that year. The organisation sought to represent the interest of vision mixers and allied trades working in the U.K. This continued to hold regular meetings in locations around the country until it was decided to rename the group as the Guild of Vision Mixers to reflect the majority of the membership.
The Guild of Vision Mixers was formed in May 1984 at a meeting held at BBC Bristol. When the Guild was formed most vision mixers were employed on the staff of the BBC and the ITV companies. At one time, Thames Television employed seven vision mixers, with a similar number at LWT. During this period, only a handful of freelancers existed. However, in the early nineties, there were major changes in the ITV franchises and many vision mixers entered the freelance market. In addition, the BBC downsized their vision mixing department and yet more people left and became freelance. With no work base to meet at and with very few jobs requiring more than one or two vision mixers, those employed in this field rarely saw each other. Also vision mixers who were still staff rarely met with those who were freelance.
The Guild of Vision Mixers provided the platform necessary to facilitate contact. As well as the developments in employment and staffing, there has been a technological revolution in vision mixing. Programme production demands have meant many more cameras and vision sources to cope with, along with the widespread use of digital video effects and electronic graphics. The Guild of Vision Mixers works to ensure that the interests of members are protected adequately.
Aims of the Guild include the maintenance and improvement of the status of vision mixers, the advancement of their skills, and the preservation of professional standards in television production. Main meetings are organised from time to time at various venues, such as studio centres and the premises of equipment manufacturers. In addition to being the chance to catch up on the latest industry developments, meetings are also very much a social occasion. An Executive Committee of six members runs the Guild on an entirely voluntary basis.
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