Kubrick=Soft matte?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brad Cook, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. Brad Cook

    Brad Cook Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 24, 2001
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    Richard Kim said this in the "Newbie question about open matte" thread:
    "My guess is that most filmmakers do not purposefully shoot for both the 1:85 and 1:33 ARs. There are a few exceptions, like Kubrick for example."
    So then Kubrick shot most of his films in soft matte, correct? Were all his films--with the exception of 2001--then shown in 1.85:1 in the theaters? I assume he had to account for both 1.33:1 (his desired ratio, or thereabouts; I know that Barry Lyndon and Clockwork Orange are 1.78:1 or something like that) and 1.85:1 when he shot his films, then.
    Why do some people prefer his films letterboxed? I picked up The Stanley Kubrick Collection, and I don't mind seeing his films full screen. If that's what he intended, then that's fine with me. I've never noticed boom mikes or anything like that getting into the shots, so he obviously planned his filming well.
    Of course, Kubrick also throws a monkey wrench in the works when you discuss OAR with people. After all, if we insist on the aspect ratio that his films were shown in, then almost all of them are wrong.
    Personally, I want to see the aspect ratio that the director wanted me to see. Almost all the time that's what was shown in the theater, but sometimes you get guys like Kubrick. And that's cool with me.
    BTW, who else has shot their films this way? I know Cameron has done some of his films in Super 35, but my understanding is that he wants those films shown in 2.35:1, despite whatever misunderstandings some may have about that.
    - Brad
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Feb 12, 1998
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    In this, as in so many other things, I suspect Kubrick is unique. Maybe the right term for his approach to films like Eyes Wide Shut is "no matte". [​IMG] People who worked with him say that he composed the image that he wanted in the camera, and that's what he preferred people to see (though in theaters they often didn't).
    Super35 is an entirely different phenomenon.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on October 24, 2001 at 04:52 PM]
  3. JohnJB

    JohnJB Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 22, 2001
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    I've never noticed boom mikes or anything like that getting into the shots, so he obviously planned his filming well.
    Take a look at Sterling Hayden when shot from behind his chair in his office at certain points during Dr. Strangelove, that's a boom mike I beleive.
    To me OAR means as shown in the theatre (I don't beleive SK thought his films were going straight to video) on this subject I also beleive once the film has been shown theatrically that, not only does the director own the film but everybody who saw it also does, so I believe Mr. Lucas should leave the original trilogy well alone.
  4. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

    Mar 30, 2000
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  5. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

    May 8, 2001
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    From what I've read, my theories are these (since Kubrick was never asked directly about any of these issues [​IMG]
    1, First, Kubrick liked HEIGHT more than width in his films. This is verified by Leon Vitali, Kubrick's longtime asst. Kubrick shot Clockwork Orange to be shown 1.66:1. The UK rerelease last year arbitrarily cropped it to 1.85:1 for theaters. Bad.
    2. Kubrick at some point decided that home video would get an open matte transfer. He used what he saw in the lens of the camera as the basis of what was printed on video ( the oft discussed helicopter shadows in The Shining) . I suppose he chose this as a viable alternative to Pan and Scan. (Some people purposely confuse the two transfer methods.)
    3. Its unknown why Kubrick did this. Back in the early days of VHS, all the films were full screen. Maybe Kubrick didn't want to bother with pan and scan transfers and didn't want anyone to hack his films later. Perhaps he wanted a higher resolution for the home viewer?
    4. At the time Kubrick was making his films, 16x9 TVs were utterly unknown. Had Kubrick lived maybe his attitude would have changed concerning widescreen presentation for home use given the advances in TVs and DVD players.
    Patrick Larkin
    Kubrick Multimedia Film Guide
    [Edited last by Patrick Larkin on October 24, 2001 at 09:31 PM]

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