Its membership is by invitation only and comprises talented and experienced Cinematographers, many of whom have received Academy Awards (Oscars & Baftas) and other accolades for their work. It also encompasses experienced Camera Operators among its Associate Membership and distinguished friends and patrons from the film and television industry. Film crew executives from Pinewood stuidos and MGM were amongst the first original members in 1949. Since then a set of distinct objects were set and still remain to this day. Those being:
- Promote and encourage the pursuit of the highest standards in the craft of Motion Picture Photography.
- To further the applications by others of the highest standards in the craft of Motion Picture Photography and to encourage original and outstanding work.
- To co-operate with all those aims and interests are wholly or in part related to those of the society.
- To provide facilities for social intercourse and between the members and arrange lectures, debates and meetings calculated to further the objectives of the society.
The original aims of the society are so distinct that each year the BSC honours a member, who the founding board believes to have contributed greatly to the original ethos, by presenting him/her with an award. This award was in memory of John Alcott, who tragically died at a young age, but is still remembered for his work on Barry Lyndon.
The introduction of the award for Visual effects in 2001, indicated a shift in British Cinematography, this was initially the beginning of the acceptance of the role that visual effects have in film and TV. Rather then being seen as a cheap tool that removed acting from the equation, it became a vital part in British Cinematography and the BSC acknowledged this. Furthermore to coincide with the launch of the new website in 2011, the BSC society introduced Best Cinematography in a Drama Award. In 2011, Rob Hardy claimed the prize for Stolen, a TV movie based on modern-day slavery. In a heavily contested competition in 2012, where cinematographers from Game of Thrones and Titanic were involved, the incredible Christopher Ross won for blackout.
From the original 55 members, the BSC now consists of 270 members and 35 Patron members.
The British Society of Cinematographers aims to celebrate the best of British Film/TV making. Encouraging cinematographers to be inventive and yet exciting. Its an honour for Gravity Media (as Hyperactive) to be official Patron members of an incredible society, which supports remarkable British talent.