May 10, 2018

5 Things Oscar-Winning DP Billy Williams Teaches His Film School Students

"Gandhi" DP Billy Williams shares some keen insight on what it means to be a successful cinematographer.

Though he's been retired from cinematography for over two decades, Oscar-winning DP Billy Williams (Gandhi, Women in Love, On Golden Pond ) still puts his cinematic expertise to good use by instilling it in the next generations of aspiring cinematographers. In this video from Cooke Optics TV, Williams goes over several of the key lessons he teaches young film students in his highly-regarded workshops. Check it out below:

Becoming a successful cinematographer means different things to different people. While some aspire to win Oscars for their work, others aspire to lens films with total artistic freedom. (Or both!) However, Williams shares wisdom that applies to every DP in the industry regardless of where they're headed. Here are five little nuggets that I found particularly important and valuable.

  • Focus on how to tell stories using 1.) composition, 2.) camera movement, 3.) lenses, and 4.) lighting.
  • "You need to study light all your life."
  • Improvement requires imagination, talent, and a willingness to work.
  • Study more than cinematography; study life, human emotions, and body language.
  • Always be a team player and never be the weak link in the chain.

What piece of Williams' advice did you learn from the most? What are some other important things young DPs should know about being successful? Let us know down in the comments.     

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