Retired RTM videographer finds passion behind the lens rekindled as freelancer

Freelance cameraman Richard Rozario ensures his video camera is in good working condition before the start of an assignment.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Dec 23: Capturing a memorable moment of a subject is what 69-year-old freelance video and cameraman Richard Rozario loves to do these days.

Ever since he retired from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) in 2008, he has kept his eye behind the lens and continues to produce stunning videos and images for his clients who needs his services as a freelance videographer.

Despite his age, Rozario, also a former State football player, is very active and is fit as a fiddle.

“I still love the game of football, but I prefer keeping my video or camera rolling, as it has become part of me; it’s my passion.

“I have been recording my subjects for many years, and I admit it comes naturally to me once I set my eyes behind the lens,” he told this writer while driving us to his job assignment to Saratok recently.

Rozario said this is the first few freelancing jobs he got after almost two years of inactivity due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

“I have not qualms over this as I am not doing it purely for the money. It is my real passion, and besides, my video recorder and equipment needs to work to keep them in good working condition,” added Rosario.

“I love what I did, and that is why I transferred from my first job as operations and maintenance personnel to the video department at RTM.

“It was a happy moment when RTM accepted my request to transfer me to its video department, and soon after that, I went to RTM Kuala Lumpur to carry out my training.

Rozario explained that ever since then, he’s been focused behind the lens until he finally retired from RTM in 2008.

Richard captures key moments of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s speech at an official function in Saratok. (Photo courtesy of Richard Rozario)

He added that as a member of the media faculty and having covered so many events over the years, it has given him confidence in handling his video and camera equipment in various situations and circumstances.

“I often work alone most of the time, and over the years, I have singlehandedly done things I had never thought of doing previously, especially in video work.

“From setting up all my equipment and paraphernalia to editing my work, I’ve done it all solo.”

Rozario revealed that he never thought of getting involved in the freelance industry, as he had only ever done such work for his family and friends.

“We usually laugh at what I did and that it was fun,” he further added.

Rozario said he was grateful to his wife Irene Pui, a retired civil servant, who would sometimes follow him to his freelancing job.

“In case I am too tired to drive or to help me carry my lighter equipment during an assignment, she will lend a helping hand. Age is catching up with me,” he said with a wry smile.

On how he started his freelancing work, Rozario said a family member and friend had encouraged him to do so after retiring due to his prolific work as a former cameraman.

“So they introduced me to a job, and ever since then, I have taken up freelancing work. It has been 13 years now,” said Rozario.

He jested it could be a while before he packed up his equipment for good, as for now, it keeps his adrenaline pumping.

Rozario admitted that he never thought that there were those who still needed his services, as they are many professional freelancers.

“I suppose once people see your work, and feel satisfied, then they recommend my work to others. We have to thank them for that too.

“At this age, I am not looking for money, but pure passion is all that drives me. Nothing more.

“If there are any monetary rewards, it is just a bonus for me. I don’t rely on this video or camera work to earn a living. I still have my pension after retirement.

“However, in the last two years, the Covid-19 pandemic halted my freelancing work, but recently, I started to get some work again. It is nice to be in the field again,” he reiterated.

Rozario added that since his age is catching up with him, doing freelancing work alone is not as easy as when he initially started.

Rozario (right) gives his crew last-minute instructions before their assignment starts.

“I am lucky because some of my family members do have the same interest. We have a passion for video and photoshoots. So we all work and get things done together as a team.

“To keep abreast of the latest technologies, I invested in a new camera and video equipment to get good pictures and update myself with the latest innovations,” he said.

At our destination, where the function for the State VVIP took place the next day, Rozario and his family members got to work straight away setting up their video equipment.

While working, Rozario explains that video equipment these days were exceptionally high tech, and required a lot of skill and experience to get the most out of them.

Despite his age, Richard still remains as alert as ever as he handles all his equipment.

“Now, I am on a multi-camera set up, and that is why we have a few of us here to help me. Tomorrow, we have to communicate well via walkie-talkies, and everyone has their own task to carry out.”

The next day, Rozario and his crew set to work, diligently manning their equipment and capturing key moments of the event.

“It is a good outing, my client is happy, and everybody should be given a pat on their shoulder,” he said as he called it a wrap.

“I reckon I will be doing this for a good couple of years more. It won’t be over until I can no longer hold up a camera,” he said with a smile. — DayakDaily