Just a note that I was wondering why Kubrick made this film - or when he made it. He had finished "A Clockwork Orange"
So why Barry Lyndon? It reminds me that Analog film is better then digital and lenses still determine the quality of the recorded image.
Kodachrome where are you now?
Paul Simon - Kodachrome + lyrics
"Kodachrome" is a song written and recorded by Paul Simon. It appeared on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin' Simon
http://atowninblackandwhite.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/kubricks-light/“Barry Lyndon” and Kubrick’s Light
April 29, 2010 in 1970s, Jan Harlan, Stanley Kubrick, Thomas Gainsborough, William Makepeace Thackeray
Rightly so, much has been made of the lighting in Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975): it’s an impressive example of technical innovation which (perhaps more importantly) achieves a spectacular aesthetic, reminiscent of the works of Gainsborough (1727- 1788
) and other eighteenth century painters. More generally though, the film is often respected but not loved: especially when first released, it was held up as unnecessarily slow and lifeless. The critical feeling is summed up by a quotation from a youthful Steven Spielberg, who believed the film was like “going through the Prado without lunch.”A film about films, Jan Harlan’s Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) reveals the extent to which Kubrick grappled with technical questions to achieve his desired aesthetic
. For his candlelit interiors, Kubrick chose to manipulate the camera set up, rather than the light source
. He experimented with a number of cameras, lenses and film stocks before finding three high-speed 50mm f/0.70 lenses and getting a custom mount built for them. These lenses (originally developed for N.A.S.A.) have enormous apertures which allow enough of the unique (and notoriously difficult to shoot) candlelight onto the film
. The results really do speak for themselves:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000040/
1999 Eyes Wide Shut (screenplay)
1987 Full Metal Jacket (screenplay)
1980 The Shining (screenplay)
1975 Barry Lyndon (written for the screen by)
1971 A Clockwork Orange (screenplay)
1968 2001: A Space Odyssey (screenplay)
1964 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (screenplay)
1962 Lolita (uncredited) http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2011/06/test.html
June 21, 2011Stanley Kubrick's letter to projectionists on "Barry Lyndon" (with update)http://www.highdefdigest.com/blog/barry-lyndon-aspect-ratio/
We home theater fans can be nit-picky types, sometimes obsessing over pixel-by-pixel imperfections in the latest Blu-ray releases. One such controversy erupted at the end of May when Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’ was released on the format in an aspect ratio slightly different than what people assumed it should be. After much arguing, a definitive answer has finally been uncovered.
I’m not kidding when I say that we’re talking about a slightly different aspect ratio. It had long been assumed that Kubrick’s preferred projection ratio for the movie was the old European 1.66:1 standard. Legend had it that he’d even gone so far as to ship the appropriate projection mattes to theaters that were not equipped for that ratio. (1.66:1 was largely supplanted by the wider American standard of 1.85:1 by the time ‘Lyndon’ was released in 1975.)
Previous VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD editions of the movie were released at an aspect ratio of about 1.60:1 (not a typo), which appears to be the fully exposed camera negative. In a move that was unusual for the time, Kubrick shot ‘Barry Lyndon’ with hard mattes in the camera to prevent the full 1.37:1 film frame from being exposed to light. Essentially, this means that the movie is letterboxed on the camera negative itself
Warner Bros. released ‘Barry Lyndon’ on Blu-ray this year simultaneously with ‘Lolita‘ and ‘A Clockwork Orange‘, both of which are presented on disc in the expected 1.66:1 ratio with small pillarbox bars on the sides of the 16:9 high-def frame. Yet for some reason, ‘Barry Lyndon’ is instead slightly cropped on the top and bottom of the picture to fill the 16:9 (1.78:1) screen with no pillarboxing.
Let me be clear that the difference between 1.66:1 and 1.78:1 is pretty small. In high-definition terms, it amounts to a loss of about 38 pixel rows (out of 1,080) off of each the top and bottom of the frame (76 total). A difference this small falls well within the expected projection tolerances at most commercial cinemas. In fact, the ‘Barry Lyndon’ Blu-ray looks perfectly fine at 1.78:1. No picture information appears to the eye to be missing or uncomfortably cramped. A viewer who didn’t know about this controversy in advance would no doubt never suspect that anything was wrong.
However, Stanley Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist who expected things to be done to his exacting standards
. For this reason more than any other, some fans of the film were outraged at this change in aspect ratio, no matter how negligible.So, why did Warner Bros. change the aspect ratio in the first place?
It turns out that this was done at the instruction of Kubrick’s personal assistant of many years, Leon Vitali, who has discretion from the Kubrick estate to supervise the video presentations of the director’s films. Vitali insists that, contrary to popular belief, Kubrick’s intended aspect ratio for ‘Barry Lyndon’ was in fact 1.77:1 all along (again, not a typo), and that stories of his instructions to theaters that the movie be projected at 1.66:1 were purely apocryphal and never really happened. Ever since the Blu-ray was released, he has been adamant that Kubrick hammered the point home to him on countless occasions that 1.77:1 was the proper aspect ratio for ‘Barry Lyndon’.
That would seem to resolve this debate, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, no. You see, Vitali has proven over the years to be an unreliable source of technical information when it comes to the presentation of Kubrick’s movies
. Back in 2001, during an interview with DVDFile to promote Warner’s DVD editions of Kubrick’s films, Vitali defended the choice of 4:3 aspect ratio transfers for movies like ‘The Shining’ and ‘Full Metal Jacket’. He later contradicted himself and now says that these same movies should be 1.66:1. (Warner’s Blu-ray editions that Vitali presumably supervised are actually 1.78:1 like ‘Barry Lyndon’.)
...The greatest irony in all this? ‘Barry Lyndon’ is perpetually one of Stanley Kubrick’s least popular movies, owing to the fact that it’s so deadly boring.
Even in a best case scenario, the Blu-ray would be lucky to sell a couple thousand copies nationwide, if even. The people who would be inclined to buy it are the Kubrick fanatics who demand that the director’s wishes be followed to the letter. This trivial aspect ratio issue, that would be so inconsequential for any other movie in the studio’s catalog, has probably lost Warner Bros. about half those sales.