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.


My heroes in cinematography


My favourite lenses
Billy Williams Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

So I came back from Baghdad and... and continued working in... in documentaries and short films for several years with... with a variety of companies, mostly using my own camera, which had quickly paid for itself, and I'd also, by then, bought a very early zoom lens; it was a SOM Berthiot, it was French... With a lever underneath? With a lever underneath and I think it went from 38mm to... It was 3:1 I think. About 95 or 100, so it was a very early zoom lens and it was good quality. So I had that and the Cooke lenses; I think my Cooke lenses went up to 75 and the widest I had was an 18. So it was quite a good set of lenses and the Cooke... I loved the Cooke lenses; I used those lenses for years and years after that; those Cooke Speed Panchros because they had a lovely... they had a lovely contrast range. I thought they were very good on faces; they weren't too harsh. The Zeiss lenses were — I always felt — a little bit sharper and a little bit too hard and... you know, I just like the look of the Cooke's. The zoom lens wasn't so easy to use hand-held I recall? Oh no. Because it was a... a lever action... that's right... that’s right. As opposed to... no, I never really tried to use that... that zoom hand-held. They brought out a later zoom, which was a 3:1, which went from 20 to 60, but that was much later on and that... that, you could use that hand-held because it wasn't too heavy.

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, 40 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008