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Set and locations within Dreamchild


How we created the magical first scene of Dreamchild
Billy Williams Film-maker
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We were shooting this at Elstree... it was an EMI picture, one of the few pictures that they were financing, and the studio was full, all the big stages were full; the only stage we had left was the scene dock, which was just over 20ft  high, and we needed the biggest stage possible. I think it was about 100 by 120, which was quite a big area... area, but we didn't have the height, so in order to get the height, the production designer hung gauzes like you would in the theatre — theatrical gauzes — and painted cloud formations on the gauzes and because the stage had a pitched roof, we were able to take these gauzes up to about 35ft, right up into the roof... all my lighting was actually, you know, just a foot off the roof, and because of this clever idea of... of putting clouds on gauze — I had two layers of them — and by working with dimmers, I got the feeling of the dawn coming up, so throughout the whole of this pull back across the sea, it was getting lighter and the colour of the light was changing from blue to gold and first sunrise and... so it's got a really, almost magical quality about it.

Billy Williams, London-born cinematographer Billy Williams gained his first two Oscar nominations for the acclaimed “Women in Love” and “On Golden Pond”. His third nomination, which was successful, was for the epic “Gandhi”. He was President of the British Society of Cinematographers, and was awarded the Camera Image Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Listeners: Neil Binney

Neil Binney began working as a 'clapper boy' in 1946 on spin-off films from steam radio such as "Dick Barton". Between 1948-1950 he served as a Royal Air Force photographer. From 1950 he was a Technicolor assistant technician working on films such as John Ford's "Mogambo" (photographed by Freddie Young), Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (Bob Burke), and Visconti's "Senso" (G.R. Aldo/B. Cracker). As a camera assistant he worked on "Mind Benders", "Billy Liar" and "This Sporting Life". Niel Binney became a camera operator in 1963 and worked with, among others, Jack Cardiff, Fred Tammes and Billy Williams. He was elected associate member of the British Society of Cinematographers in 1981 and his most recent credits include "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Fierce Creatures".

Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008