By PAUL DOLAN
After twenty years working as the video cameraman at the Capalaba and Ipswich tracks, Dan Fewtrell has decided to call it a day.
“I started with harness coverage for Sky and the former Briz 31 television channel before moving on to greyhounds,’’ Fewtrell said.
Keith Wheeler had been the cameraman at Capalaba and Ipswich greyhound meetings and he moved on to the gallops. Fewtrell had been doing camerawork at the Gold Coast trots at Parklands and Chris Kelly, who provided the video coverage of the adjacent greyhound track there, offered Fewtrell the opportunity to move to the greyhounds.
“Harness horses move at a steady pace, greyhounds are much faster, but I managed to adapt after a couple of races, which was fortunate,’’ Fewtrell said.
There has been a lot of change in equipment during the past twenty years.
“Cameras were analogue, then digital, then standard definition and now high definition,’’ Fewtrell says.
“Originally, races were recorded on a video recorder. Now they are recorded on cards which are in the camera.’’
Having observed Fewtrell in action for most of the past twenty years, this writer is of the opinion that being a race cameraman is a specialist job. Fewtrell has filmed around 50,000 races. Think of the number of Ipswich and Capalaba races that you have watched and try and point out any glaring mistakes. There were none!
“I suppose a specialist is a fair comment, given that not everyone can handle the speed and concentration involved,’’ Fewtrell reflected.
To this former racecaller, it was always more difficult painting an accurate picture via the call of a race at Capalaba than on a circle track. Fewtrell says it’s the opposite with camera work.
“At Capalaba, even if the field spreads out, because it’s a head on view for most of the race, all runners remain in vision. At Ipswich or any track with bends, if a runner or two get checked and tail off, you can’t always pan out to allow viewers to see those runners. If you try and do that, viewers will see the main pack chasing the lure and then a big gap of daylight.’’
Fewtrell leaves Capalaba and Ipswich clubs on happy terms.
“I plan to take things easy in retirement,’’ he said.
Michael Johnson has stepped into the cameraman role that Fewtrell occupied. He has worked with harness and greyhound coverage at Albion Park.
Don’t go looking for mistakes in Michael’s work. He’s a specialist too!