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Kubrick story.

 

Apparently during the filming of either "Eyes wide shut" or "Magnolia" they were setting up for scene and shooting wide open on a 50mm.  The Focus puller was having a really tough time nailing it and so speaks to the DP.  

The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and switch to a 25mm.  

Kubrick comes in and noticing the tracks have moved say "if the focus puller can't handle it sack him”.

Does anyone know if this story is true?

Michael Sanders
London Based DP.

+ 44 (0) 7976 269818




Greg Lowry
 

There's a similar story about Kubrick on "The Killing" (1956). I think
it's a story told by James B. Harris, the producer of a couple of
Kubrick's early movies. This is from memory, so it's inevitably a bit of
a paraphrase. The great, well-established, Lucien Ballard ASC was the
DOP and Kubrick was making his third feature (his first with a Hollywood
crew and actors). Kubrick and Ballard blocked a longish dolly shot with
a 25mm. Kubrick went away while the shot was lit. When Kubrick came back
he asked Ballard why the camera wasn't where it was supposed to be.
Ballard told him that was using a 50mm and had moved the camera back
because it was easier to light. He said it was "still the same shot" (or
something to that effect). In a calm but firm voice, Kubrick reportedly
said, "Lucien, put the 25mm back on the camera and put the camera where
it's supposed to be. If you ever do something like that again, you're
fired."

Greg Lowry
Scopica Group
Vancouver


On 1 Jul 2018, at 10:14, Michael Sanders wrote:

Apparently during the filming of either "Eyes wide shut" or "Magnolia"
they were setting up for scene and shooting wide open on a 50mm. The
Focus puller was having a really tough time nailing it and so speaks
to the DP.

The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and
switch to a 25mm.

Kubrick comes in and noticing the tracks have moved say "if the focus
puller can't handle it sack him”.

Does anyone know if this story is true?

Ed Colman
 

Moving the camera closer and switching focal length wouldn’t help the focus puller. Yes, you have a wider lens, but you are closer. The DOF would remain constant for the same image size whatever the distance. Plus you would see more of the background due to the wider angle of view. It wouldn’t be the same shot at all.

A competent DOP would know this, so to me, this story is somewhat suspect.

Sincerely,

Ed Colman




On Jul 1, 2018, at 10:14 AM, Michael Sanders <glowstars@...> wrote:

Apparently during the filming of either "Eyes wide shut" or "Magnolia" they were setting up for scene and shooting wide open on a 50mm.  The Focus puller was having a really tough time nailing it and so speaks to the DP.  

The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and switch to a 25mm.  

Kubrick comes in and noticing the tracks have moved say "if the focus puller can't handle it sack him”.

Does anyone know if this story is true?

Michael Sanders
London Based DP.

+ 44 (0) 7976 269818




zefred
 

The Lucien Ballard story is told by Alex Singer, school friend of SK and director, in the documentary "Stabley Kubrick : a life in pictures"

Cheers.

Zefred
----------
(647) 866-8055
Director, Cinematographer
Organizer of The Toronto Film and TV Networking Group

==============================



Merritt Mullen
 

But isn’t the depth of field effectively the same in both cases?

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and switch to a 25mm.

Mitch Gross
 

If I recall correctly from the A Life in Pictures documentary, Ballard moved to a different lens at a different distance because it was going to be easier to rig the lights. It wasn’t about depth of field. 

Mitch Gross
Cinema Product Manager 
Panasonic Systems Solutions Company of North America
New York

On Jul 1, 2018, at 3:29 PM, Merritt Mullen <mdmullen1@...> wrote:

But isn’t the depth of field effectively the same in both cases?

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles

The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and switch to a 25mm.

Greg Lowry
 

Isn't that what I wrote?

Greg Lowry
Scopica Group
Vancouver


On 1 Jul 2018, at 13:44, Mitch Gross wrote:

If I recall correctly from the A Life in Pictures documentary, Ballard
moved to a different lens at a different distance because it was going
to be easier to rig the lights. It wasn’t about depth of field.

Mako Koiwai
 

I heard an AC was going to going to get fired for taping a wide shot, in Hollywod. TV show years ago. A good AC does that in anticipation of going tighter for the next shot.

Little known fact. Stanley was a passionate pistol target shooter. The required concentration gave him a break from whatever else he was working on.

Makofoto, Big Bear, Ca

Doug and Stanley

John F. Babl
 

niclaw@...
 

Hi Ed et al.

"Moving the camera closer and switching focal length wouldn’t help the focus puller. Yes, you have a wider lens, but you are closer. The DOF would remain constant for the same image size whatever the distance".

That will depend on whether something is moving or not. If the focus puller is having an issue, it's probably a moving actor or a moving camera. Then you're into a number of variables. If the actor starts the shot at 10' on the 50mm and moves back by 5', then it would be 'easier' for the focus puller if that was a 25mm starting at 5'. However if the actor moves forwards by 2' then the 50mm would be an 'easier' shot to focus pull from 10' to 8' (rather than the 25mm from 5' to 3').

As with so many of these things, it's all in the detail.

Perhaps more importantly, as you say, the shot would be a very different one with the change of lens, especially with the movement.

All the best,

Nic Lawson
Director of Photography, London UK

Ed Colman
 

That was my observation. It remains constant for a constant image size.

Sincerely,

Ed Colman




On Jul 1, 2018, at 12:29 PM, Merritt Mullen <mdmullen1@...> wrote:

But isn’t the depth of field effectively the same in both cases?

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles

The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and switch to a 25mm.

Ed Colman
 

That’s why I suspect the truth of that story. As far as changing the lens to a longer lens to facilitate lighting, that actually makes sense, but again, you will change the field of view and is isn’t the same shot at all.
Sincerely,

Ed Colman




On Jul 1, 2018, at 12:29 PM, Merritt Mullen <mdmullen1@...> wrote:

But isn’t the depth of field effectively the same in both cases?

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles

The DP makes the call to move the camera in half the distance and switch to a 25mm.

Feli di Giorgio
 


On Jul 1, 2018, at 12:51 PM, Ed Colman <edcol52@...> wrote:

That’s why I suspect the truth of that story. As far as changing the lens to a longer lens to facilitate lighting, that actually makes sense, but again, you will change the field of view and is isn’t the same shot at all.
Sincerely,

Ed Colman



I think it was less about the technical aspects of DOF and lenses, and more about Stanley showing who was boss on his movie…


PS: That’s besides the point that even if the DOF and framing matched a 50 doesn’t feel like a 25.



Feli di Giorgio

VFX / Cupertino, CA

_______________________________________________
Feli di Giorgio - feli2@... - www.felidigiorgio.com



H. Spencer Young
 

I’ve heard this story for years and had always heard it told as a conflict between SK and his DP.  Kubrick placed the camera, went off to block with cast, came back and DP had moved camera slightly based on blocking he observed. SK then told DP that the camera was placed precisely where he intended it for it to be, and that if he moved then camera again after SK placed it, he was fired. Will try to recall the source.

Back to lurking ...

On Jul 1, 2018, at 11:17 PM, Feli di Giorgio <feli2@...> wrote:


On Jul 1, 2018, at 12:51 PM, Ed Colman <edcol52@...> wrote:

That’s why I suspect the truth of that story. As far as changing the lens to a longer lens to facilitate lighting, that actually makes sense, but again, you will change the field of view and is isn’t the same shot at all.
Sincerely,

Ed Colman



I think it was less about the technical aspects of DOF and lenses, and more about Stanley showing who was boss on his movie…


PS: That’s besides the point that even if the DOF and framing matched a 50 doesn’t feel like a 25.



Feli di Giorgio

VFX / Cupertino, CA

_______________________________________________
Feli di Giorgio - feli2@... - www.felidigiorgio.com



herman@...
 

It sounds too me that both stories are true, except for the fact that the focuspuller was not able to pull off a shot wide open on the dolly. On a movie that size a experienced focuspuller would have no problem whatsoever to do that. However it is very well possible the DoP tried to make the focus argument instead of admitting he wanted to light differently. I know this is common practice but SK did not buy it, which made him the great director he was.

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