Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

From left to right: Stephen O’Donnell,  Russell Hopkin and Alan McSheehy, and of course John Hannah and Sparky in front after doing some pick-up shots at Wishaw, DOP Grant Cameron had been called away on a commercial shoot.

The 18-minute shorts was shot in Motherwell and at Wishaw dog track and concerns the efforts of steelworker Tommy (John Hannah) to conjure up a last win from his dog Sparky before parting company with the greyhound – a condition laid down by his estranged wife (Louise Beattie) before she will accept him back.

The film, shot in 1989, is a quick sketch of a way of life that has disappeared. I loaned John Hannah my super 8mm camera on that job, he still has it. It was freezing on that shoot, not a Barbour in site, Berghaus was nowhere then.

Ravenscraig has gone, so has Wishaw dog track and most of the other flapping venues that were dotted over Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and all points between Thornton and Gretna.
Other familiar faces who make brief appearances are James Macpherson and Forbes Masson.

Technical talk.
The film was photographed in 35mm anamorphic by Grant Scott Cameron with an Arriflex Bl 35 supplied by Joe Dunton Cameras. The lens set consisted of an 85mm, 135mm and 400mm and the stock was Kodak 400ASA  processed by Rank Film Labs, with Dolby sound dubbed at Anvil Studios in Denham.

Those were the days, my thanks to my good friend Norrie who was the Director on that shoot Stephen O’Donnell DP (left) works on various TV productions his latest being River City. Alan McSheehy DP (right) is also an accomplished DP from Taggart to The Bill. John Hannah (bottom centre) has become an international actor staring in Four Weddings and a Funeral to The Mummy.

The film “Loser’s Blues” has been gifted to the Glasgow Film Archive.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

4 thoughts on ““Loser’s Blues” a 35mm film shot in Glasgow during 1989

  1. I first started shooting News and Current Affairs programs on an Arri BL16 and an Eclair NPR. They have great form factor because they are shoulder mountable and have a viewfinder in the right place. I wish the new cameras like the C300 had a higher quality viewfinder in the right place!

  2. I trust you are right. However I would obviously have to test it for myself before buying as I’ve seen many C300’s and F3’s online, rigged with a Zacuto or similar EVF where it should be….on the side behind the lens mount. The Zacuto EVF I use with my 5D is the closest thing I’ve found to a broadcast standard viewfinder ….so far.

  3. Firstly the Zacuto EVF is 576i when plugged into the C300, Zacuto are working on it but at 576 you are better using the VF. Remember you also have peaking and 2x magnification.

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