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the lens used in BARRY LYNDON


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#1 Michael Ryan

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 12:10 PM

Hello All,

The other night I watched a documentary on Stanley Kubrick. For me, his films were an odd mixture of hit and miss, but there can be no doubt that his films have left a big mark on the history of cinema.

During the documentary they showed the lens he used to film many of the scenes in BARRY LYNDON. I was amazed to find out that all the candle lit scenes were in fact, only lit by candles. The look was incredible.

Is it possilbe to shoot candle lit scenes of that quality with more normal lenses? Would this be easier with a digital camera?

Kubrick also knew a lot of the inner workings of the cameras that he used. Are there any other filmmakers (popular) that pay the same kind of attention to this aspect of filmmaking?


Thanks,

Mike
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#2 John Holland

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 12:35 PM

1/ iam stunned you have only just found out about the candle lit scenes after all this time . 2/ I think Kubrick was a bit of a one off glad to say other wise would put me out off work .
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#3 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:25 PM

Is it possilbe to shoot candle lit scenes of that quality with more normal lenses? Would this be easier with a digital camera?

Mike



With Superspeeds and 500ei stock shooting by candlelight works today, the stocks available when barry Lindon was shot were considerably slower. Imagine new stocks with the 0.7t stop lenses today, I believe the Mitchells and Zeiss 0.7 lens(s) kubrick used are available to rent in London. And I think it would be easier and look far better on emulsion than digitronic.

-Rob-
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:37 PM

Considering that he shot on 100ASA stock (there was no 200 out by then, was there) at T0.7, you can use the same lighting setup with 500ASA and T1.3 lenses. If you use the Zeiss Master Primes it will look considerably sharper too, with more depth of fiels and you will actually be able to pull focus.

As far as JDC (who are renting out the lenses and camera) told me, Kubrick did not have just one lens, but 3: a 35mm, 50mm and 75mm.

Obviously using these T0.7 lenses today with 500ASA stock will open up a whole new set of possibilites.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:39 PM

Details of the lens' production:

http://www.visual-me...c/len/page1.htm
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:43 PM

Max , Kubrick and Alcott did push the 5254 a stop and never used a 85 for daylight scenes .
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#7 Max Jacoby

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 02:00 PM

John

What was the stock initally rated at?
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 02:03 PM

Is it possilbe to shoot candle lit scenes of that quality with more normal lenses? Would this be easier with a digital camera?


Interiors in 'The Libertine' were lit with candles. They were quite grainy, the depth of field was fairly decent so they were stopped down. The warm candle light was timed out, so the flesh tones were very pale and shadows were blue.
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 04:58 PM

Max, 5254 was 100 asa.
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 05:01 PM

Interiors in 'The Libertine' were lit with candles. They were quite grainy, the depth of field was fairly decent so they were stopped down. The warm candle light was timed out, so the flesh tones were very pale and shadows were blue.


Keep in mind that at times they were also underexposing quite a bit, sometimes by 2 to 3 stops...it was intentional of course to achieve that grain.
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 05:35 PM

5254 was pushed one stop and rated at 200 ASA for "Barry Lyndon", therefore at 800 ASA with a T/1.4 lens, you would get the same exposure as T/0.7 at 200 ASA (it would be easy to rate a modern 500 ASA stock at 800 ASA, whether or not you pushed it).

However, note that Kubrick had special candles made with three wicks in them for a bigger flame.
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#12 Max Jacoby

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 05:45 PM

There was an Arri add for the Master Primes that show a couple sitting at a table lit with just one candle. That is the only source of illumination I think, so it definitely is feasable.
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#13 Matthew Buick

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 06:37 PM

5254 was 100 asa.


And nowhere near as nice a 5247 (The Shining).
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 07:36 PM

And nowhere near as nice a 5247 (The Shining).


A lot of people would disagree. Many think that 5254 was probably the best-looking color negative stock Kodak ever made. 5247 got a bad rap because it had contrast problems and a tendency to go green in its early years, being coupled with the new ECN-2 process. It all got worked out eventually but a lot of people were unhappy to see 5254 go. Many great-looking movies made from 1968 to 1976 were shot on '54 (in fact, most 35mm movies period were shot on this stock during that time span). It had the most neutral skintone response of any neg stock until the Vision-2 line-up came out.
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#15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 10:04 PM

However, note that Kubrick had special candles made with three wicks in them for a bigger flame.


Never heard that before, cool.
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#16 Jon Kukla

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 11:14 PM

http://www.visual-me...c/len/page1.htm

JDC has these lenses now, but I don't know if they've been adapted for modern mounts. My guess is probably not.
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 11:23 PM

They can't be mounted on modern reflex cameras because of the flange depth -- Kubrick had to adapt a rack-over non-reflex Mitchell just to use these lenses.
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#18 Natalie Saito

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:05 AM

faster film makes it possible. in the old days they had to have a moving key light..which sucks. kubrick and alcott were just smart to use 3-wick candles.
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#19 Michael Campanella

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 04:27 AM

However, note that Kubrick had special candles made with three wicks in them for a bigger flame.


I never knew that part ... pretty clever.
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#20 John Holland

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 05:26 AM

David i think Matthew is trying to wind me up he knows my affection for 5254.
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