World Cup Cricket 1975
In the summer of 1975, UPITN were commissioned to make two films on the World Cup Cricket – The Prudential Cup. The first film consisted of a round-up of the preliminary matches and the second film covered the final match.
The participating teams were England, Australia, India, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and East Africa. I could only afford two-man crews for the preliminary matches on one day. There would be four matches on each of three days, the 7th, 14th and 18th June played at Lords, Edgebaston, Trent Bridge, Headingley, The Oval and Old Trafford.
We could not afford, within the budget, to film every ball, so we shot at random to produced a summary of the matches. Of course, we had some great cricket shots with one of the two cameramen, at each venue, armed with a long telephoto lens.
As usual, we had a camera placed in line with the wickets and another on the ground with a telephoto lens. During the final, apart from filming every ball, we added two more cameras on the ground. Two of these were required to follow the ball to the fieldsman or the boundary. The third, with the telephoto lens, was meant to give us close-ups of the batsmen and the bowlers.
We had a great advantage over the B.B.C. They did not know what was going to happen, so they had to keep their shots wide, so that they might follow the path of the ball. We, on the other hand, editing the film days afterwards, knew exactly what happened.
We could use a close-up of a batsman striking the ball to the boundary and then cut to one of our ground cameras to follow the progress of the ball. It made for very interesting viewing, except for the colour of the grass.
Originally, the BBC would record the transmission pictures, which meant they could only repeat those same scenes. Later, they would be able to record each camera and then, if necessary, show a close up that could not be shown live.
The semi-finals were held at Headingley and the Oval on June 18th with the final between Australia and West Indies taking place at Lords on June 21st. The match at Lords being the subject of our second film. West Indies won and we completed a good film covering the match with a full complement of four cameras.
The first film was intended to include all the participating countries, but, overall it was not a success because it missed so many events that were known to the cricket fraternity. It would have been best to concentrate on the semi finals only.
We had a première of the film at the headquarters of the Prudential Insurance Company in Holborn. Afterwards, one of the managers said that the grass was a different colour depending on which camera we were seeing the match from. I was on the stage and had to answer this. It is an age old problem. I said “Do you have a lawn at home ?” He said “Yes, I do”. I said “ Do you cut it in shades so that you have dark and light alternate lines”. He said “Yes, I do”.
I said ”Well, if you walk to the end of a dark lane and then turn round, you will find that it is a light lane”. “It all depends on the direction in which the grass is cut”.
I went on “The same thing happens with live broadcasts of cricket and football, but it is not noticed. I have no idea why“.
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