Tom Klein R.I.P

This week Sunraysia, in fact regional Australia lost one of its most talented independent video producers.

Location portrait of the late Tom Klien videographer from Mildura

It is with a very heavy heart and great sadness, I sit in front of my computer this morning and write this post. Long time friend and industry colleague Tom Klein passed away earlier this week.

Tom and his lovely wife Pauline, would be know to many of you, the regular readers of this blog. Together they made up the team  O-Line Video Productions. Known to most as simply O-Line or more commonly amongst their wedding clients as “Tom and Pauline”. I can’t even begin to imagine how many weddings the O-line team have covered during the 25 years they have been in business. As a production house they participated in the transition from early professional grade analog video capture with reel to reel editing right through to the latest digital capture and post production.

As some of you already know, Tom Klein went toe to toe with Jimmy Dancer a few years back. After a mighty fight, Tom walked away battered and bruised. But with great courage and determination, plus a lot of help from Pauline and his family, he was able to resume doing what he did best. Produce videos. From wedding videos to corporate and government video programing. Tom was in his element. However, the one thing that seemed to get his blood pumping more than anything else, was  providing video news footage for national an international TV networks. Tom, had a natural talent for news. An instinct if you like. Combined with street smarts and a great passion for getting stories out. Tom Klein was a proud member of the “Cancer Survivors Club”.

The late Tom Klien filming a group of groomsmen at a wedding.

Some  stuff you mighn’t have known about Tom.

For instance few of you would have any idea of the number of hours Tom would sit behind his edit suite cutting and mixing wedding videos. For days after each wedding he would work  long hours. Like seriously long hours just to make sure the video looked and sounded the way he wanted it to.

Few would know,  that in his own way he was a pioneer in the way remote and regional television news was collected and transmitted. Adopting digital video capture and then manufacturing ways to get his stories or “yarns” as he referred to them to the networks. On time and often under great pressure. Tom’s work with FTP transfer of digital news stories straight from the field to the networks was extrodinary. His ingenuity in creating a pathway to ingesting digitally aquired vision directly into his computers was most probable world leading. While many people will claim to have been the first adopters. Tom was actually out there doing it, day to day. Making theoretical technology work in the real world.

Few of you would know that often the  fantom journalist asking questions on a TV interview was in fact Tom. Never seen nor heard but as a one man news crew, taking on the multiple rolls of producer, director, cameraman sound guy and reporter, Tom was in a league of his own. Similarly “Live” studio crosses to remote locations anywhere in Northern Victoria and beyond would see Tom, alone, on location with his camera, a long cable running to a feed point and his trusty I-Phone, jerry-rigged as a foldback device to allow a studio reporter to ask questions directly of the talent while Tom filmed. If you every need to see a video guy under pressure, try watching that last scenario. Maybe a million viewers watching and Tom would be the outside broadcast unit. Alone and without backup. Kinda like juggling real chainsaws while they’re running.

On a lighter note. I’m fairly sure Tom invented photo bombing. I can’t remember when he started but it was many, many years ago.  It became a Tom tradition for his head to popup between the bride and groom at a wedding, just as I was about to click the shutter on a formal portrait. There he would be, with the biggest, silliest grin on his face.

Tom the straight shooter.

As a friend and fellow image creator, Tom was the first to give praise where it was due and likewise deliver stinging criticism if he felt it was deserved. He read this blog often. Tom would be the first to pull me into line when I got stuff wrong. His emails would begin IMHO… and you knew you’d got it wrong. On the other hand he was also quick to say well done. Image makers need to have honest, educated and vision orientated critics. There are very few of them about.  Tom Klein was one, whose advice and knowledge I was eager to accept.

The late Tom Klien, wife  Pauline and Robyn Mckenzie from Excitations.

Tom, Pauline and Robyn happy at work.

The late Tom Klien with a wedding group, Rovinvale

Am I in your shot? A break in shooting and Tom’s lending a helping hand.

Tom Klien hams it up during a wedding video session.

Thirsty work this wedding video capper. Even though he didn’t drink on the job, Tom couldn’t resist an opportunity to play up to a camera. A master of silly poses, big grins and of lightening the load when the going was getting tough.

Tom Klein was proud of his family… As well he should have been. Adult children Kristi, Staci and Tim have all grown up to make any father or mother proud. Although it should be noted they  have inherited lots of Tom’s sense of fun and irreverence. Dayna and Jayde the grand children we heard so much about while at weddings with Tom and Pauline are also gowing into fine young ladies.

Tom Klein was a good man, a good friend and a damned good video producer. Robyn and I will miss him greatly.




4 Replies to “Tom Klein R.I.P”

  1. So sad to hear about Tom’s death. He belonged to the first immigrant family who came to our rural school in Clyde, Vic. We met up with him at our school’s centenary celebration in 2010

  2. Gosh, hadn’t heard from Tom for a long time. We worked together on a few productions for Dutch television. Now living on a little island, I thought I give him a call for some filming. Found this website and was faced with the reality of life, or maybe not life. You are filming somewhere else now Tom. A place I can’t reach or don’t know.

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