Kraszna-Krausz 2001Book Awards


On 5th February BVWS member Don McLean received a £1000 award from the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation for his book “Restoring Baird’s Image. You may remember Don’s superb lecture on the same subject at the September 2001 Harpenden.


Mike Leigh, the film director, was the guest speaker for a reception at the Arts Club, just off Piccadilly. Think of films such as Topsy Turvy and Nuts in May. He entertained us on the potentially arcane subject of film aspect ratio. He admitted to an anarchic interest in using portrait format, even doing some practical experiments. He then found the Eisenstein had been there before him, concluding that both portrait and landscape had their uses so the right format for films was square! He commented that books have the freedom to use any aspect ratio they liked but it was one of the judges who pointed out that the Baird 30 line images did actually use 3:7 portrait format.


The Kraszna-Krausz Foundation was formed in 1985 by Andor Kraszna-Krausz, a Hungarian who founded the Focal Press after arriving in the UK in 1938. The Foundation awards prizes annually for books on the moving image and photography. See their web site at


A total of £15000 was distributed in prizes that evening. The judges spoke of the task of whittling more than 250 entries down to a short list of 6, all excellent books. Don’s book was narrowly beaten to first prize in the “Techniques and technology” section by a superb book about special effects. The judges also chose to award a special prize to a huge Italian encyclopaedia of world film. This is believed to be the most comprehensive history of the cinema that has ever been written.


Writers travelled from all over Britain, Europe and the USA to receive their prizes.


Jeffrey Borinsky


My review of Don’s book appeared in Bulletin ??? It can be ordered from all good book shops, Amazon or direct from the IEE.


Restoring Baird's Image

Donald F. McLean

Institution of Electrical Engineers

ISBN 0 85296 795 0



Institution of Electrical Engineers

Publications Department

Six Hills Way


Herts SG1 2AY