At seventeen Des was looking for a career in a recording studio; he was big into music but was a terrible musician. So he applied to all the major studios in Ireland and the UK and eventually was offered a job in London which was very exciting.
He had also applied to all the film studios who - he was reminded- had their own sound recording Dept.
While working in London, he was offered a Job at Ardmore Studios in Dublin.
Being a little homesick and totally intrigued, he headed home. There was a small Independent animation company in the studio, owned and run by the fabulously eccentric and talented German animator Gūnther Wulff. He was to be -whether or not he knew it - an enormous influence in Des's life. Des forgot about sound and totally fell in love with the world of animation. Inventive and creative, ordered and chaotic, it was exciting and constantly challenging. Des worked there as a Rostrum Cameraman for 4 years, long before CGI, they had to do it all in camera. Travelling Mattes, Cell and Stop frame Animation, Ghost Glass, Aerial Imaging, Back Projection etc.
Stanley Kubrick was shooting “Barry Lyndon” in Ireland in 1975. In the studio they had a set of macro focus lenses, which Stanley wanted to see. Des was asked to bring the lenses to the location to show them to him. Des had never been on a big Hollywood set before, not to mention meeting with a Director. He doesn't think he can remember any of the details of meeting Stanley Kubrick - he was too busy thinking about just breathing and remembering to speak… in English, hopefully.
Des does remember the impact of being on set and observing the crew at work. He was completely intrigued. Life as he understood it, would never be the same.
Des left the Studio and went freelance as a Trainee Loader. Now as an Operator, he often works with animators, some of who are Directors and he's reminded of all the wonderful and talented people that sparked a lifetime passion in him.
Forty years on and over a 100 productions later, he still has a passion for camera.
It may not be Film but it is still (if not more) exciting. Digital has revolutionized the Film industry in ways as yet to be realized and explored.
Animation has also changed utterly and in turn has utterly changed the way Films are made today. There is more use of animation with live action; live action is frequently supplemented with animation and CGI, allowing greater creative freedom and flexibility, for everyone.
Animation and live action are now digitally, symbiotically, frame by frame pushing the boundaries of our technical ability and imagination.
Sounds good to him.