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How Stanley Kubrick Shot Barry Lyndon Using Natural Light

Earlier this week we posted this video with Joe Dunton discussing the lenses used by Stanley Kubrick in his films. (Note: unfortunately, that previous video has been removed by the uploader.) Here’s the next in a Kubrick cinematography playlist: various cinematographers on his use of the BNC camera and Zeiss f/0.7 lenses to shoot Barry Lyndon in natural light. (As a reader below notes, this is an excerpt from Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, which is recommended viewing.)

Previously at Filmmaker, Jim Hemphill sat down with three of the film’s actors for a discussion of the making of that modern classic. An excerpt:

Yet Kubrick’s obsessive control over the final product wasn’t the whole story, according to both Vitali and Savage. “He’s got this huge reputation for being a control freak, but when he found the right actor for the role he would just let them go and see what they brought to it,” said Vitali. Savage agreed: “He was always trying things out and experimenting. He would improvise, and then if something interesting came out of it he would push it further.” Contrary to his tyrannical, precise image, Vitali claims Kubrick never used storyboards or planned his shots ahead of time. “He would take lenses and a viewfinder and get on the set with the actors, and maybe a grip with some tape. You’d have to go through the scene 10, 15, 20, 30 times while he looked at every possibility with every lens and figured out his first shot. Then everything grew out of that first shot, including you.”

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