BSC Members Roster – Past Full Accredited

John Mackey BSC

Category: Past Full Accredited

Role: Special Effects Cinematographer

Website: IMDb

6.5.1921 – 16.8.2013


John's love of photography started in World War 2, when he was called up to do service in the RAF photographic unit. He served in various places, between 1940 and 1946, including Burma (now Myanmar). After the war, he went to Denham Studios, for a time, then to Denham Laboratories. This is where he became fascinated with the negative and print processes, both colour and B/W.

Next he worked at Shepperton in the Matte Department where he met Bob Cuff. They together formed a very successful commercials company, ABACUS, in the Covent Garden area, Shelton Street. That ran from 1966 to 1990.

His visual effects work appeared in feature films such as Kubrick's 2001, A Space Odyssey, 2nd unit effects DOP, Heavens Above (1963) Model photography and travelling matte, directed by the Boulting Brothers and photographed by Max Greene BSC, Mackenna’s Gold  (1969) Special Visual Effects, Directed by J. Lee Thompson and photographed by Joseph McDonald ASC, he was cinematographer on The Corpse (1971) directed by Viktor Ritelis, and The Great McGonagall (1975) directed by Joseph McGrath.

 But his greatest group of work, with so many awards for commercials, was done at ABACUS. Contracts with major agencies kept the work flowing in. He pioneered effects that were brilliant, long before the age of CGI.

Countless world celebrities walked through the studio door. He had great charm and skill in getting the best from all who worked with him. He was a great disciplinarian, always with a twinkle in his eye. I had the pleasure in working for him, as a 1st AC, then in later years as a DOP.

He was immensely proud of his son Clive, one of the best 1st A/C's in the business, and of Lee, his grandson.


Robin Vidgeon BSC