Author Topic: Helicopter Blades  (Read 4986 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

adolfwolfli

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Respect: +1
Helicopter Blades
« on: July 11, 2003, 11:28:37 AM »
0
I was reading a discussion on this board concerning the DVD of "The Shining" and how, during an establishing shot of the Overlook, the shadows of helicopter blades are clearly visible.  This too bothered me for a while, and I used to be of the same frame of mind as most people: How on Earth could a notorious "perfectionist" like Stanley overlook such a awkward mistake...

And the conclusion I have come to is this: Kubrick was never really intent on total "technical" perfection, despite his technical know-how and obsession with lenses and tracking shots and all the geeky gadgets and techniques associated with cinema.

In fact, the more I watch his films (I've been watching them my whole life and will continue to do so), the more I realize how WRONG certain things are about them.  Despite his calculation and control and mastery, there's a rough edge to everything he did, and I think this awkward, rough edge is really what he was after.  It's almost like a planned randomness, or a sculpted grit.

There are tons of modern, mega-budget Hollywood films that are technically "perfect".  Perfect sets, shots, lighting, editing, sound, etc., and yet they are lifeless and don't withstand repeat viewings; they seem made by committee and therefore anonymous and impersonal.   Kubrick's films, on the other hand, always have had a strange, voyeuristic, almost home-movie quality.  I don't know if I am explaining this adequately...

Another example - I read in an interview with Kubrick's wife where she said Stanley "wasn't crazy" about Hitchcock, and his reason was "all that phony rear-projection".   Watch Clockwork Orange - the scene where the Droogs are tearing through the city in their car - and you'll see total phony rear-projection.  Phonier than Hitchcock, in a way.  

His infamous numerous takes, according to Jack Nicholson, were never done for the pursuit of the "perfect" take according to what most directors would consider "perfect".  He would tell Jack, "that was perfect, but it wasn't 'interesting'".  In fact, many of the actors he worked with have been cited over the years as saying they were often surprised upon seeing the final cut of the particular film, claiming Stanley mostly chose takes they thought were their worst.  His pursuit of the weird led him to make weird choices.

It also has to do with his avoidance of typical "movie lighting".  From 2001 on he seemed to light everything with practicals, which adds to this sense of gritty realism.  I know "gritty" isn't a term always associated with Kubrick, but I think it makes sense.

To sum it up, there's something messy and awkward hiding just below the sculpted surface, and I think it's these imperfections within the perfection that makes his movies what they are.

I think P.T. Anderson is very similar in that respect...now matter how technically mind-blowing his films are, there's a messiness and awkwardness to things that is a personal stamp.

SoNowThen

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 4536
  • Respect: +9
    • 24/30 Cinema
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2003, 11:47:38 AM »
0
I think that is one of the most intelligent and well-said posts I have read here. And was minus the snooty attitude that sometimes accompanies such posts. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

And, also, I read that on Dr Strangelove the actors were pissed at Kubrick because they felt he used takes that made them look like hams. He would get them to do it normally so much, then tune them up to go overboard (like George C Scott pretending to be an airplane), and that's what he would use. They felt it was insulting -- at the time. Hehe.

EDIT: also, I just thought of something -- a lot of his later stuff, when there is a window in frame (or any daylight source, for that matter, when seen from an interior), he doesn't correct the light color with gels or filters or anything... and so it bleeds in as blue blue blue light. I really notice this in the Shining and in Eyes Wide Shut. Normally, in other flicks (or when I'm shooting something) I hate this color contrast, but it looks so damn fine when Stanley does it.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

adolfwolfli

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Respect: +1
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2003, 12:09:39 PM »
0
...yeah, there's a scene in Clockwork when Alex wakes up the the truancy officer is sitting on the bed in a bedroom, and the widow light is totally harsh and bleeding all over the place, but it works.

I gues maybe this has in part to do with Kubrick's start as a journalistic photographer.  He learned how to shoot with what he had, instead of setting up a bunch of lights...

SoNowThen

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 4536
  • Respect: +9
    • 24/30 Cinema
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2003, 12:14:41 PM »
0
Well, I think he used a shit load of lights (the set of the Shining was supposedly sweltering), but he just lit in such a way that it looked so damn good, it seemed almost minimal.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

ono

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 4209
  • ...
  • Respect: +180
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2003, 01:33:51 PM »
0
Quote from: SoNowThen
I think that is one of the most intelligent and well-said posts I have read here. And was minus the snooty attitude that sometimes accompanies such posts. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

I agree.  Brilliant post.  But it seems as if I've read it somewhere before.  I'm just implying anything.  Just feels a bit like deja vu to me.  Just feels a bit like deja vu to me.

adolfwolfli

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Respect: +1
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2003, 06:53:57 PM »
0
Quote from: SoNowThen
Well, I think he used a shit load of lights (the set of the Shining was supposedly sweltering), but he just lit in such a way that it looked so damn good, it seemed almost minimal.


Yeah, probably.  But his lights came from where lights would come from in the natural world - lamps, windows, doorways, overhead fixtures, etc.  I think since the Overlook was a set, he shone giant lamps in through those huge windows to approximate daylight.

But you never get what you get in most hollywood movies where there's lights coming from impossible places like out of dark corners and on stuff.  I think this is because Kubrick favored the Steadicam and since it was always swerving all over you couldn't have ugly light fixtures in the frame.  All in all, though, it's less slick than hollywood ligthing, which seems derivative of theater.

Oh well, this is rambling...

Back to work...

thedog

  • The Road of Trials
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Respect: +4
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2003, 07:55:30 PM »
0
Good post.

But what I think happened is that Kubrick used the footage thinking it would be cut out by the letterbox framing. Later on he changed his mind and wanted to lose the letterbox format and show it fullframe, exactly how it was shot. And I think the helicopter shadow was just a small price to pay for it.

That doesn't disprove your post, though. Everything you've said is definitely true.

I'm just sayin'...

mutinyco

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1476
  • Respect: +2
    • http://www.crossoverfollowing.com
...
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2003, 01:54:18 PM »
0
In any of his films you'll see errors or rough patches. For instance, in Barry Lyndon, look at the footage of the sailing ship at the start of the war -- it looks like crappy stock footage. He always did that. SPECIFICALLY in Eyes Wide Shut.

He also did use source lighting. See the 8mm film stock thread wherever that was. We talked a bit about that. The reason the set of The Shining was so hot was because it was a set. When you see the outside through the giant windows in the main room where Jack does his typing it's all a set. So they had to simulate daylight and they had a bunch of mother lights to do that. So even though it was simulated light, it was still source lighting, since it was coming through the windows.

Although he was known for technical precision he usually preferred simplicity. He might do something that's complex, but in a way that's logical. For instance, to achieve the wide range of Stedicam shots in The Shining they used a wheelchair. Wheelchairs are usually used in no-budget films as a poorman's dolly, but here's the world's greatest filmmaker using one... It was a simple solution to achieve what he wanted.
"I believe in this, and it's been tested by research: he who fucks nuns will later join the church."

-St. Joe

The Disco Kid

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • Respect: 0
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2004, 12:31:10 PM »
0
Those helicopter blades bug the hell out of me. So does the fact that The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut are all 1.33:1 on DVD. I know that Kubrick insisted they be shown this way on video, but I also read that Kubrick didnt watch much TV, nor did he think very highly of video as a medium. He believed his movies were meant to be seen on the Big Screen and that's how he approached making them. The whole bit about him composing his film according to TV's aspect ratio is, in my mind, absurd. To believe that Kubrick actually filmed with the intention that those helicopter blades be visible in that shot is equally absurd. Its a distraction that completely jars you right out of the movie, and any sense of solitude, desolation, coming-doom, or whatever else the filmmaker intended to convey to his audience is totally lost. The fact that he left them in I think is a testament to Kubrick's attitude toward having his films seen on a television---If people are willing to watch his movies in what he considered  an already severely compromised form(on a TV set), then who cares if helicopter blades are visible in that shot.

Myxo

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1768
  • Respect: +28
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2004, 03:25:23 PM »
0
Quote from: The Disco Kid
Those helicopter blades bug the hell out of me. So does the fact that The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut are all 1.33:1 on DVD. I know that Kubrick insisted they be shown this way on video, but I also read that Kubrick didnt watch much TV, nor did he think very highly of video as a medium. He believed his movies were meant to be seen on the Big Screen and that's how he approached making them. The whole bit about him composing his film according to TV's aspect ratio is, in my mind, absurd. To believe that Kubrick actually filmed with the intention that those helicopter blades be visible in that shot is equally absurd. Its a distraction that completely jars you right out of the movie, and any sense of solitude, desolation, coming-doom, or whatever else the filmmaker intended to convey to his audience is totally lost. The fact that he left them in I think is a testament to Kubrick's attitude toward having his films seen on a television---If people are willing to watch his movies in what he considered  an already severely compromised form(on a TV set), then who cares if helicopter blades are visible in that shot.


I seriously doubt he missed the helicopter blades in the editing room. There is no way. This is a guy who will reshoot a scene because the light levels weren't correct or a napkin wasn't where he wanted it. No way he would miss that.

cowboykurtis

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1671
  • Respect: +8
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2004, 06:26:58 PM »
0
Quote from: Myxomatosis
Quote from: The Disco Kid
Those helicopter blades bug the hell out of me. So does the fact that The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut are all 1.33:1 on DVD. I know that Kubrick insisted they be shown this way on video, but I also read that Kubrick didnt watch much TV, nor did he think very highly of video as a medium. He believed his movies were meant to be seen on the Big Screen and that's how he approached making them. The whole bit about him composing his film according to TV's aspect ratio is, in my mind, absurd. To believe that Kubrick actually filmed with the intention that those helicopter blades be visible in that shot is equally absurd. Its a distraction that completely jars you right out of the movie, and any sense of solitude, desolation, coming-doom, or whatever else the filmmaker intended to convey to his audience is totally lost. The fact that he left them in I think is a testament to Kubrick's attitude toward having his films seen on a television---If people are willing to watch his movies in what he considered  an already severely compromised form(on a TV set), then who cares if helicopter blades are visible in that shot.


I seriously doubt he missed the helicopter blades in the editing room. There is no way. This is a guy who will reshoot a scene because the light levels weren't correct or a napkin wasn't where he wanted it. No way he would miss that.


hahahahahahaaaaa
...your excuses are your own...

mogwai

  • Guest
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2004, 05:59:07 AM »
0
the kubrick estate will digitally correct all the mistakes so that no errors will be seen on the next stanley kubrick deluxe dvd box set special editon 2.0.

cron

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 3292
  • deeply superficial
  • Respect: +9
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2004, 06:04:56 AM »
0
Quote from: mogwai
the kubrick estate will digitally correct all the mistakes so that no errors will be seen on the next stanley kubrick deluxe dvd box set special editon 2.0.



are you serious?  because i was about to buy the box set RIGHT NOW. as a birthday present,  you know, happy birthday to me.
hmm.... please don't be serious... i know you're not.  are you?
context, context, context.

mogwai

  • Guest
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2004, 06:12:43 AM »
0
yes, i am serious. hold on to your money, sonny. the new box set will be released in late 2004/early 2005. anamorphic widescreen, baby.

cron

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 3292
  • deeply superficial
  • Respect: +9
Helicopter Blades
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2004, 06:17:55 AM »
0
EDIT: (silence)
context, context, context.

 

DMCA & Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy