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The appeal of Agaguk


Having to shoot Agaguk in Super 35
Billy Williams Film-maker
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We were shooting Super 35; it was my only experience with Super 35 and I didn't like it very much because I didn't like having to compose just for the middle section of the frame, with the top and bottom going to waste, which might be used later on if it was presented on 12:9 television, because what you would... you... you shot with spherical lenses, you see, composed for the middle section, then you had to go to an optical squeeze to... to squeeze in that... that central section that you'd composed for and then when you projected it you had an anamorphic print, you had a squeezed print which was un-squeezed on the projector. And I didn't like it ‘cause you’re only using half the negative as against anamorphic, real anamorphic, which uses the... double the frame and also protecting the top and bottom. I just didn't like having all that waste there but that's the way the producer wanted to go. You've got to keep the lights out of the top... Yeah... yeah. And the tracks out of the bottom. Yeah, very difficult, with microphone and lights. And in the end I... I made a compromise: instead of shooting it dead centre, I shot it with a 1:8:5 headroom. Because also, they wanted the possibility of making flat prints 1:8:5, instead of anamorphic prints, so by having a 1:8:5 headroom at least that was taken care of.

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, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008