The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television recently announced the nominations for the 24th Annual Gemini Awards, recognising the year's best in Canadian English-language television. The 2009 Broadcast Gala will take place on Saturday, 14 November in Calgary, Alberta and will be broadcast live on Global and Showcase.

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Colin McFarlane
A nominee for best sound in a Dramatic Programme is none other than our own Colin Scott McFarlane for his sound work on Diamonds (working title Rough). In Focus spoke to McFarlane about his achievement:

In Focus: Congratulations Colin. What were your feelings when you learned that you had been nominated?
McFarlane: Being nominated for an award of this nature is an honour and a privilege. So disbelief was right up there, thinking at first that it was some kind of practical joke and in my case, once maybe credible, but twice is definitely not possible. (I also received an Emmy Award nomination for outstanding sound mixing for a miniseries or movie for my work on 24 Redemption). I am still trying to come to terms with the magnitude of what has happened. To have your work recognised internationally is something South Africans only dream of, it only happens to people from over the ocean. I look at my nominations as recognition of the high standard of professional ability of all technicians that are available in this country. Not only does South Africa have amazing locations and a favourable exchange rate but we also offer world class technicians as well.

In Focus: Tell us a bit more about the Gemini Awards.
McFarlane: The Gemini is the Canadian equivalent of the American Emmy Award, recognising the contribution made to English television in Canada. The awards ceremony will take place on the 20th October 2009, and I certainly hope to attend, work permitting (Freelance is a curse!).

In Focus: This is a great achievement. Please give us a bit of an insight into your career and what it takes to become a Gemini nominee.
McFarlane: I have been in the sound department for over thirty years, and have been lucky enough to be involved in many of the disciplines of sound, live sound, music, theatre, radio, TV and film and in most instances from source to final product. I have made it my business to learn as much as I can about the field in which I work. I was fortunate to have worked with many great South African actors, some of whom can only be seen in black and white photographs, through to the international stars of today gaining invaluable experience from all of them. This experience was part of what made my future along with the technical knowledge I have gained. I have tried to learn and develop from every opportunity and experience - looking at each new day as a greater challenge than the day before, but eased by the experience gained yesterday.

In Focus: Diamonds was a Canadian/South African co-production deal, tell us a little more about this.
McFarlane: Yes, it was a co-production between Sienna Films Inc. of Canada and Only Love Productions (Philo Films) in South Africa. Shooting commenced in September 2007, and the production wrapped in October 2007. The post production was completed in Canada. I was the production sound mixer/recordist. The production revolved around diamonds and the varied effect they have on people's lives and their connection to one another.

In Focus: From a technical point of view, please describe the methodology of sound recording on a production of this nature.
McFarlane: The production was recorded on both a two track and six track digital recorder using a boom and lavalieres at all times. The problems experienced were the same as usual - houses in town that were meant to be in the country, panning for gold in a small isolated African stream that is conveniently situated next to the main bus route and thoroughfare to town. Having said this, production was sympathetic to my problems, where possible and as always a workable compromise was reached.

In Focus: Thanks Colin, and once again; congratulations, we'll be holding thumbs for you on the night.