This leading Polish cinematographer has worked repeatedly with such distinguished directors as Jerzy Skolimowski, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Roman Polanski. Witold Sobocinski trained as a cameraman at the Lodz Film School, graduating in 1956. Even before his graduation, he was working as a lighting director and camera operator with Lodz TV, and, from 1959-1964, he worked at Czolowka Film Studios. By 1962, he was a director of photography on feature films, although it was not until Jerzy Skolimowski's "Recy do Gory/Hands Up!" (1967) that Sobocinski headed down the path of cinematography full time. He has often handled period pieces with great vibrancy. Sobocinski worked with Skolimowski again on "The Adventures of Gerard" (1970), a visually stunning, bustling spoof of the Napoleon era, and on "Torrents of Spring" (1989), an adaptation of an Ivan Turgenev story, that was full of yellow palettes. Sobocinski shared credit on Andrzej Wajda's "Ziemia Obiecana/Land of Promise" (1975), which earned an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-Language Film.
Sobocinski graduated from the Lodz school a few years before Roman Polanski, but the two filmmakers had become acquainted. It was not until "Pirates" (1986), however, that they worked together. Robust in its look, the film was made in the Panavision wide-screen process and was a visual treat. Sobocinski worked with Polanski again two years later on "Frantic" (1988), which seemed almost a new direction for the cameraman with its very controlled, almost taut look and feel. More recently, Sobocinski was DP on "Bronsteins Kinder/Bronstein's Children" (1991), in which warm light bathes a tormented Jewish family in post-war Germany.
Sobocinski is also known in Poland as a jazz musician and the drummer for the country's first jazz band, Melomani. He has taught at the Lodz film school and was the father of the late cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski.