Camera Effects was a film opticals studio (post-production and visual effects) based in London. It had a world wide reputation for producing film special effects for television commercial and film title projects.
Started by Roy Pace using one Oxberry aerial image camera, it grew to be the biggest of a handful of optical houses in Soho during the 1960s - 1980s. The film opticals and animation business was very much a cottage industry in those days and most of it's output was for TV commercial work.
Many clients were the film editors of that era: Pam Powers, Ian Weil, Mike Kaufman, Terry Jones, Nick Thompson and Stuart Murray (to name but a few) and production companies such as Clearwater, James Garret, English Connection and Perkins St. Clair.
The company developed rushes (one light neg and print, 30 across!) with Rank film laboratories in Denham and Soho based laboraty Studio Film Labs in Meard Street. The company used local businesses such as photographers Pen Photographic and Ritterband studios, ordered art supplies from Cowling & Wilcox, animation art supplies from Geliot Whitman, type from Conways and Face phototypesetting and when things got hectic, we employed freelance talent for larger jobs to meet deadlines.
Little of the company's TV commercial work remains today but the 1986 showreel and a compilation from friend and film director Alan Spencer .
How were film opticals achieved? In the words of Camera Effects' prodigy Janet Yale, "This was before computer graphics and all film effects work was done with chemicals, rostrum cameras and optical printers. It was basically a craft skill, there was no formal training for it." This site stands in memory of that great crew and also as a tribute to the talented clients we have been fortunate enough to work with over the years.
Roy Pace sold Camera Effects to Brent Walker in 1979 who in turn sold on to the Rank Organization in 1981. The company directors (Sheldon Elbourne, Malcolm Bubb, Gary Pearlman and Pat Conway) acquired the company in April 1984, bringing the company back into private ownership for a few years before selling to Rushes in 1986. The Virgin Group bought Rushes the following year, shutting Camera Effects down in 1987 as the industry embraced new digital technologies, keeping the profitable motion control film studio side of the business.
Camera Effects purchased one of the first motion control camera rigs in Europe, a Mark Roberts v1 for the Bateman Street studio. The Motion Control studio upgraded and went on to the vast Camden Stage A in St. Pancras Way before switching to a 4 ton ceiling mounted rig at Rathbone Place.
Spain and Turkey
As demand grew in the Spanish and Turkish commercials sector, Camera Effects set up an office in Barcelona co-ordinated by Nuri Preminger. It went a step further in Turkey and set up an independent aerial image camera unit in Istanbul, with cameramen from London doing 'tour of duties' on a rotation basis.
Notable film title sequences
Visitors to the site with an interest in title design and retro vsual effects can view some of the films we worked on by clicking on the Projects List link.