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connor denning

What made Stanley Kubrick's shots

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I'd love to know what your take is on what made Stanley Kubrick's shots look so good, even basically composed ones, in very mundane environments.

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A 900:1 shooting ratio? His expert understanding at framing, composition, lens choice based on format and extensive testing?

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900? What? Sixty takes was quite rare.

I don't think it is that, but it does rather sound as if we're being invited to write a student's essay for him.

Edited by Mark Dunn

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Yeah no his shot composition was extremely tight, payed very close attention to detail. However on the majority of his biggest pictures, he worked with cinematographer Jon Alcott. I've always wondered what percent of the visuals were Kubrick's input.

 

Images like this give a rough idea of how high a level the duo was thinking:

maxresdefault.jpg

 

Also not sure if this is an unpopular opinion but I wish the first 45 minutes of FMJ were just their own short film.

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900? What? Sixty takes was quite rare.

I don't think it is that, but it does rather sound as if we're being invited to write a student's essay for him.

I agree, However Doug Trumbull states at least 900:1 for the vfx stuff, and since he shot them I'm inclined to agree. But he could be exaggerating... I wish I could afford to shoot 60:1!!

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Remember, Kubrick was a stills photographer before he was a film-maker. So he most likely mastered the art of composition long before he touched a film camera. If you look at Paths of Glory (1957) - the first film of his that I feel evoked a style that would eventually be called "Kubrickian" - you can see the care that he takes with the mise-en-scene, the blocking and the frame in general.

 

But he also knew the emotional limits of the camera, in that he used the camera to depict a kind of distance between the protagonist, the audience and the overall message of the film - a very fine line to walk. In the end, the main character is the subtext of the film.

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I agree, However Doug Trumbull states at least 900:1 for the vfx stuff, and since he shot them I'm inclined to agree. But he could be exaggerating... I wish I could afford to shoot 60:1!!

Fair enough for vfx, what with all the separate elements. I was thinking of Tom and Nicole, or Jack and Shelley, getting up near 4 figures on the take number!.

Murray Melvin tells a story of getting spooked by a number in the 30s, so Kubrick just went back to take 1, which spooked him all over again.

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If you look at Paths of Glory (1957) - the first film of his that I feel evoked a style that would eventually be called "Kubrickian" - you can see the care that he takes with the mise-en-scene, the blocking and the frame in general.

 

 

.such as when the camera is following Dax and (I think) Richard Anderson's character, up a staircase, talking, and they stop, and the camera doesn't, not for a second or so, and pulls you right into the scene. By the ears. Breathtaking.

Edited by Mark Dunn

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One of Kubrick's underrated films is definitely 'Eyes Wide Shut', it's obviously a very strange film about the occult. I always felt Kubrick knew a deeper truth about this world, it's why his films are so mysterious. He doesn't bog down his vision with exposition as many modern films do, you either keep up or you don't , which is why I think he never pleased critics. Sure his composition is part of that Kubrick allure, but his understanding of color theory is also substantial element of his aesthetic. What I gather from most of his films is that he presented a distorted, deeply deformed view of mankind, but made it artful. The bizarre orgies depicted in 'Eyes Wide Shut' are not too farfetched to believe, even the founding fathers of America were freemasons, Benjamin Franklin himself was an occultist and part of many elite secret societies, in fact many modern-day politicians are involved with the occult.

 

Obviously, Kubrick was anti-Hollywood, in the sense that he didn't make films that followed structural traditions in storytelling, they were moving portraits- a most puritan form of cinema not seen since the silent age of filmmaking. There's more to Kubrick than just beautifully-framed shots, it's just everything- his sense of space and time, movement, he was plain and simply a man with a unique vision.

 

I remember watching 'Eyes Wide Shut' late at night, and I was pleasantly shocked by this sequence, which is the ritual sequence. It's mesmerizing, this is what cinema is, you don't explain what it is, you just show it, and let the viewer decipher it, take it all in. Absorb it. Film is a medium of emotion and fragmented memory, and his use of sound and music is still unsurpassed.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTwRRwUb4IE&nohtml5=False

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I often wonder how much film stock hed pay for before shoot? The price of the whole film process would have been similar back then (right?) So he'd be spending a lot even if he were averaging 40 takes.

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There is no list of stock amounts shot per feature. Occasionally a movie will be touted in the trades as having shot something like "2 million feet of film", often a Warren Beatty movie like "Reds" or "Dick Tracy", but there have been others.

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