a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The role of a cinematographer


Being impressed by Jean le Pin's operating technique
Billy Williams Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I had a marvellous camera operator called Jean Lépine, who was actually a DOP [Director of Photography], but when he worked as a DOP he also operated and he wanted to come on this picture, he was interested in the subject matter. And he operated nearly everything from a small crane arm on an Elemac, with a fluid head, and he'd adjust the camera according to where the actors were, so that actors didn't really have to worry too much about hitting their marks because he would just move the crane arm over so that if somebody was getting a bit masked, they would be revealed, or he could drop it and raise it, just by the strength of using his bodyweight and I think physically it was very demanding, but he'd perfected this technique over the years and it… it worked a dream. And he'd got a coordination with the grip that he got a signalling arrangement that if he wanted to widen a little bit, that the grip would track back a little. He always put the Elemac on a board so that the grip could move the dolly a little bit as well, and so there was a fluidity to the shots… I mean not only… we weren't using Steadicam but it was not unlike that, of being able to kind of drift around, according to where the… the actors finished up and… yeah he was a really very good operator and I'd never seen that technique used before.

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, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008