David's career as a cameraman started as a rebellious 16 year old, filming with a 16mm Cine Kodak Model B camera for the left-wing Realist Film Unit in Melbourne. By the time he was in his twenties in Sydney his professional work included pro-bono 35mm cinematography of social documentaries such as Not by choice, widely shown at festivals in the 1960s.
Two wheel worship
Frame capture still from Two wheel worship, c1956, directed by playwright Ralph Peterson, shot by David Muir, produced by Ajax Films (Brian Chirlian) for the Department of the Interior Film Division – later to be the Commonwealth Film Unit.
Because of David's work on this documentary (sort-of-dramatised) he was invited by DOI producer John Martin-Jones to join the Film Division/Film Unit.
During the 1960s David was part of the great British social and community documentary tradition when he worked as a freelance cinematographer in the UK (Speaking of Britain; Faces of Harlow; I think they call him John; Exiles; etc.) and as writer / director / cinematographer of the dramatised documentary This love thing made for Denis Mitchell Productions/ITV London.
Adjacent: still of David shooting His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Exiles.
Speaking of Britain
Living with the City
After he returned to Australia, David's social commitment continued with such documentaries as Living with the City for Film Australia – commissioned by the Whitlam government for the first UNESCO Habitat conference in Canada.
Where will the children play?
A 3-minute video about the plight of children in the Flemington Housing Estate, Melbourne, if a planned tollway went ahead.
This plea for help was one of four anti-East-West-Link activist programs made by Making of Movies that scored many thousands of hits on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and helped raise public awareness to the level that the government pushing for the Link was voted out at the next election, before construction could commence.
"Your commitment to the residents' cause is admirable and we thank you for your tenacity. I know that the residents really appreciate your efforts on their behalf and all enjoy watching the video." – Les Potts, President, Flemington Association
Cat Defence Network Community Announcement
Even crew members who dislike cats pitched in when Making of Movies provided the resources to assist the Cat Defence Network to take advantage of an opportunity for TV community announcement airtime.
In recent years, David continued (often single-handed) to make documentaries on social issues, such as protests against the East-West Link, a planned community-destroying tollway: Save the West Bank, Rail jobs help everyone and Ways to say No Way. These short activist videos were effectively utilised on social media.