Magazine article American Cinematographer

Assignment: "The Royal Wedding"

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Assignment: "The Royal Wedding"

Article excerpt

British Movietone News assembles an elite team of cameramen to film the colorful marriage of a storybook princess to her dashing young officer

Rumours had been pretty rife throughout the Spring and, on May 29th, about mid-afternoon, confirmation came through. Where are they? A quick phone call to the Press Office at the Palace tells us that they will be on the overnight train from Balmoral in Scotland, arriving at Kings Cross Station at 8:00 a.m. From there they would be going to the Palace. It will be a "free for all". Two cameramen at the station with a sparks, and two at the Palace to get them going in. One in the office to "do" the newspaper headlines.

About six o'clock a bonus. The Palace phoned. There will be a facility to film the engaged couple with their parents, tomorrow, in the garden, or if raining, in the drawing room of Buckingham Palace.

That's how it all started. After that we only needed to know the date of the Wedding. The files were gone through. Princess Alexandra's was the last one we did. That was in 1963. No, Princess Margaret's. That was in 1960. Look at this, there was a "Rota" with Pathe News then. We used twenty-two positions on that. Are there that many cameramen about now?

The meeting called for by Ted Candy (General Manager) in early June when the date of the Wedding was announced was, I imagine, rather like "Ike" addressing the troops for "D" Day. This is what we do: one man on the roof of the Palace, one in the forecourt, one either side of the Queen VictoriaiMMernpnaU Then the Citadel (old Admiralty IjUiW* ing at the end of the Mall) roof. Horse Guards Parade, two in Whitehall, one in Parliament Square, two outside the Abbey door, one for G.V.'s, one for C.U.'s. One in the doorway and five inside the Abbey. That's it. Now, who have we got to shoot it?

There's our own seven staff men. Then John Abbott, Pat Whittaker, Dave Alien, Ced Baynes-Pathe's ex-Chief Cameraman-Dave Hutchins and Ray Gallard, and I'll think of some more.

What about sound? One man at the Palace, one outside the Abbey and see if you can get a "clean feed" from the BBC of the service. We will shoot wild and any "syncing" we can fit in, says Peter Hampton, Editor.

Norman Fisher, Chief Cameraman, suggests Mitchells in the Abbey. How quiet are they? It is rarely that we use them. Okay, go and see them and "book" five for the 13th and 14th November and book Varotal 5-1 zoom lenses-not because we want zooms, but as we are going to be limited for space, there won't be room for assistants.

November 14th seemed a long way off then. July, August and September passed. A meeting at the Abbey to establish stands and positions, a chat with the Department of the Environment for positions on the route, to be told that the Citadel roof is banned because, as it's a working day, security will not allow it. Not to worry; we're covered from Horse Guards.

A meeting with the police at Scotland Yard. Due to recent activities, strict security will be enforced; everyone must have a police pass. The Palace will issue the Abbey passes. The Department of Environment will issue the route passes. Jane Baldwin's typewriter starts to steam. A phone call: two key free-lance cameramen have been offered three weeks abroad over the Wedding date. Sorry to let you down. …

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