BSC Members Roster – Honorary Accredited

Kelvin Pike BSC MBKS

Category: Honorary Accredited

Role: Cinematographer

Website: IMDb


Kelvin was born in Australia in 1929, where his father, as Engineer, was working.  He served his apprenticeship with R.W. Paul, the early Cinema pioneer and gave him his interest in photography.  This developed into his passion for film.

When Kelvin returned to the UK, he went to the Manchester Grammer 'prep' School and to Haberdashers' Askes.  Kelvin found a course in Kinematography at the Polytechnic, Regent Street which he attended from 1945 to 1947.

For Kelvin's National Service, he joined the Navy to see the World!  He was assigned to the Fleet Air Arm, the first year in Radio School in Warrington and only spent two weeks at sea.  'On demob' he worked for a Government radio base, not being able to work on films without Union membership.

Kelvin met Jack Coote who was developing British Tricolour Processes, similar to Technicolor.  He offered Kelvin a job designing and constructing the electrical side.  Whilst there he became a member of the Association of Cinematograph Technicians.  On finishing his contract he was able to work with several Documentary film companies, spending a year with Shell Film Unit.  Sir Arthur Elton was the film consultant whose company he then joined in the Middle East.

After working in Liverpool and checking in with ACT, an assistant was required at Pinewood Studios.  Contacts grew and he found lots of freelance work around the Studios.

At MGM, Kelvin started on a Gene Kelly musical with the great cinematographer Freddie Young.  This lead to working on films with many of the great Hollywood names.

Finishing at MGM, he returned to Pinewood Studios and to Kenya with Skeets Kelly.  In 1954, he started at A.B.P.C. Elstree on 'Dambusters'.  Whilst there he went on loan to Warwick Films in Kenya on Safari and had the wonderful experience photographing the animals, before the tourist trade opened up!  Unfortunately the only vehicle for hundreds of miles ran over the camera and crew!  Kelvin was in a coma for some time and didn't work for six months.

Back at Elstree having worked on a number of Cinemascope films, he went on loan to the first French German Cinemascope co-production 'Oasis'.

Kelvin left ABPC in 1961 to join Bobby Krasker and Peter Ustinov on 'Billy Budd', his last film as an assistant.  Bobby asked him to be the Operating Cameraman on a film he was starting for Milton Krasner, in Rome 'Two Weeks in Another Town' directed by Vincente Minnelli.

Kelvin operated on great films including three with Stanley Kubrick.  On 'Dr Strangelove' we modified an old B17 Flying Fortress, which the French used for surveying.  They shot the background plates over the Artic and North America.  I also designed some of the camera equipment we used on '2001' with the engineer at MGM.

In 1983, Peter Yates with whom Kelvin had been operating asked him to be the Director of Photography on 'The Dresser' with Steven Grimes the Production Designer.  'The Dresser' was the 1984 Royal Film Performance.

David Lean asked Kelvin to photograph the filming for the UK part of 'Passage to India'.  He continued working on documentary and feature films receiving nomination for Cinematography for 'Gulag'.

Kelvin sat on and then chaired the Skillset Committee for Film ad TV Lighting.

From 1975, he tutored courses and Master classes at the NFTVS and NSCTP and for Kodak and Raindance Festivals, lecturing at various events and judging BAFTA awards for Cinematography.

Kelvin's career has taken him around the World, working with great film names, seeing fantastic places and meeting interesting people.