I created these dynamic nighttime images when the original idea could not be filmed due to rain. As a result, this visually stunning scene won a Telly Award for cinematography.
Award Winning Cinematographer / Director of Photography
Billy MacTavish is an award-winning Director of Photography, Cinematographer, and Technical Director. He has been working in the U.S. and worldwide for almost 30 years.
His credits include dozens of feature films, documentaries, national and globally broadcast & cable television programming, music videos, industrial films, commercials, training and educational videos, commissioned by several Fortune 500 companies, major Hollywood studios, the US Army, and independent producers.
He received a BFA in cinematography and film editing in 1990 from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. In May 2011 Billy MacTavish completed his master's degree at the top of his class graduating Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California.
Happily married to a native southern “California girl” and the proud father of three. Billy found his calling to become a filmmaker when he was just nine years old while watching the groundbreaking sensation Star Wars. Later at the young age of 11, he produced his own "original," 12-minute version on 8mm film. A few years later he convinced his father to purchase a VHS recording system, that he and his friends from the neighborhood promptly began producing Tarzan serials.
In late 1988 while still actively engaged in his bachelor’s studies Mr. MacTavish designed and operated a portable slow motion video recording system for legendary softball pitching coach Tim Timmons. In 1999, after nine years of freelance production work, he founded the Houston-based production company Moving Camera Solutions.
Billy's path into the camera department began in the in the lighting and grip departments. As a Director of Photography, he believes like many cinematographers, "that lighting is their most important task, and it happens before an image is ever captured by a lens."
In 1990 he began working actively as a grip, dolly grip, and key grip learning the many specialized skills and tools used to provide camera support, physical camera movement, and how to modify, control, and shape the light captured by the camera.
Around 1996 Billy began primarily working in the electrical department as a lighting technician, genny op, best boy electrician, and gaffer. During this tenure on multiple feature films, industrial videos, and other low budget productions, Billy developed an extensive knowledge of film stocks and video camera ISO sensitivities. What lighting equipment and techniques to employ to create a needed look for any genre; and the ability to accurately estimate the time required for a particular lighting setup, so actors and other principals can be scheduled accordingly.
In 2005, having achieved success as both a key grip and gaffer Billy made the transition to Cinematographer, making all decisions related to lighting, framing, and overall responsibility for delivering the artistic and technical decisions related to the image working freelance for VK Baker & Associates, ASOTV, and Moving Camera Solutions.
Billy's cinematography has won a Telly (2010), an Accolade Award of Merit (2011), the Houston Film Critic’s Society & MFA Best Texas Indie film finalist (2011), a Gold REMI and Golden Ace (2012) awards, chosen as an Audience Choice Nomination (2016), and a Bronze REMI (2017).
The following video is a compilation of different projects shot over the years. It is by no means a complete list, only a decent sampling of my abilities and quality of work.