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#1 Kaspar Kamu

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:25 AM

Dear Forum,

 

Stanley Kubrick is a director whom I have admired for as long as I can recall. His innovations to filmmaking are innumerable and in his wake has inspired several contingents of new filmmakers to push the limits in terms of conventions.

 

Anyway, it was yesterday when I rewatched The Shining that a particular question came to my mind - his lighting techniques. I know that Kubricks use of practical lighting was quite groundbreaking, but how much did he actually rely on them to light the entire set (excluding the use of large daylight fixtures for interior day scenes)? Kubrick enjoyed immense creative freedom on his productions and was thus able to reconstruct the entire interior (and parts of the exterior, I believe) of The Overlook Hotel on a soundstage. 

 

Please take a look at the still attached. As you can see there are numerous practicals visible, and they are all blown out. Is it reasonable to suggest that all bulbs are a minimum of 1kW? Since the fastest available film stock until 1981 was only 100 ASA, would these practicals have been enough to light the entire scene? And what about the reflection on the floor in the bottom left of the frame? 

 

Many thanks in advance!!

 

17-interruption.png


Edited by Kaspar Kamu, 13 November 2017 - 07:26 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:28 AM

Probably 250w and 500w photoflood bulbs in many of the fixtures. Yes it's possible to light a shot like this with only practicals on 100 ASA film, you'll note that in this case the big space is mostly underexposed and silhouetted by the far walls lit by chandeliers.

The light on the floor on the left is the spill under the lampshade on the table.

Occasionally Kubrick and Alcott would supplement the practical lamps with some bounced light.

The day interiors were a lot harder to do since this was a stage. There was a giant wall of 1K PAR bulbs coming through a giant frame of diffusion. Tremendous amount of light and heat. The windows were gelled with some blue in later scenes to cool off the color compared to the practicals.
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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:30 AM

Since the fastest available film stock until 1981 was only 100 ASA, would these practicals have been enough to light the entire scene? 

 

17-interruption.png

Probably not the whole scene.   It's customary to light a wide shot and allow for your subjects to remain a bit underlit knowing that it's an establishing shot only.   When you go in for coverage, you add in some level from film lights and shape it more precisely. In closeups of that scene, there was probably more at play than just the practicals.     Especially given how yellow that lampshade is.  Would have made for nasty closeups.

 

Now when you get to films like Eyes Wide shut where the camera is moving a lot, you notice how underlit the actors actually get since the practicals are indeed doing most of the work.

 

Kubrick was rumored to have been more of a shopper than a dreamer when it comes to lighting and he would ask the gaffer "How many ways can we light this set?"   Gaffer - "Maybe 6?"   Kubrick- "Okay, show me all 6".    Again, this is a rumored conversation I heard from a doc somewhere. So if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me.


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 13 November 2017 - 11:31 AM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:33 AM

http://scrapsfromthe...on-the-shining/
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#5 Kaspar Kamu

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:12 PM

 

Thank you! Great resource!


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 01:28 AM

Interesting in-camera effect that Alcott describes in that interview, using a double -exposure: 

 

 

"There is a sequence looking down from the balcony with Jack at the typewriter and the fireplace in the shot. I wanted to get a full fire effect, a nice big glowing fire in the fireplace, but I didn’t want to reduce the general lighting in any way because I needed the depth of field. So I shot the scene all the way through without the fire burning, then rewound the film, killed every light on the set. lit the fire, opened the lens up to T/1.4 and shot the fire by itself-which gave me a nice glowing fire."


Edited by Dom Jaeger, 17 November 2017 - 01:29 AM.

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#7 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 02:34 AM

The rule of thumb for firelight exposures is around t4 @500asa, if I remember right, so Alcott would have been underexposing the fire by around 2 stops if he was exposing at t2.8-4 @ 100asa. So it makes sense that a second exposure, adding 2 stops to the fire, would get him the effect he wanted. Ballsy, and kinda genius.


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#8 Kaspar Kamu

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 03:21 AM

Probably not the whole scene.   It's customary to light a wide shot and allow for your subjects to remain a bit underlit knowing that it's an establishing shot only.   When you go in for coverage, you add in some level from film lights and shape it more precisely. In closeups of that scene, there was probably more at play than just the practicals.     Especially given how yellow that lampshade is.  Would have made for nasty closeups.

 

Now when you get to films like Eyes Wide shut where the camera is moving a lot, you notice how underlit the actors actually get since the practicals are indeed doing most of the work.

 

Kubrick was rumored to have been more of a shopper than a dreamer when it comes to lighting and he would ask the gaffer "How many ways can we light this set?"   Gaffer - "Maybe 6?"   Kubrick- "Okay, show me all 6".    Again, this is a rumored conversation I heard from a doc somewhere. So if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me.


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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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