focus at f stop 0.7 in barry Lyndon (7 replies and 12 comments)
In night shots of barry lyndon they say Kubrick used 0.7 f stop no. But to my eyes the shots look appear to have the f stop of 5.6 or above?
If the shots were really took at 0.7 how the depth of field is that that deep?
No, they did use a lens that came from NASA and had a stop of 0.7. Now, whether they used additional lighting or not I don't know. The story is that they shot only with 'candle' light, which would not have been that tricky as there were so many candles and they were all triple wick candles as well. Today you would have quite a decent stop on an 800 ASA digital camera but they were, of course, shooting on much slower film emulsion.
In fact, the actors were really restricted in their movements. I have also read that the real trouble for Alcott was constantly trying to compensate the exposure for the ever changing lighting in exteriors locations, anyway it is an amazing movie indeed and i don't know why but many times people (even a professor in my accademy) attribute the amazing cinematography to Kubrick without knowing that behind it there was a master like John Alcott.
The depth of field is quite shallow in the scenes shot at f/0.7.
With all due respect sir it doesn't look 0.7 on a 35 mm to me, my super 35 camera can give such depth at 1.4
What exactly are you implying? That Kubrick & Alcott lied about shooting the candle-light scenes at f/0.7?
The shots in "Barry Lyndon" are not very tight so you won't see as fast a drop in focus when a lens is shooting a waist-up size as in the example I posted. But on the big theater screen you can tell that the focus is very shallow.
No sir I never said that they lied but i thought they may never reached 0.7 in shooting.
And mr D mullen, what u exactly mean when u say, that shots werent tight, does that means objects and actors were not too near the camera?
There are a few close-ups but most of the candlelight scenes are framed looser. Also the lens was a bit soft so the drop off in focus was less obvious than it would be with a crisper high-contrast lens.
The stately home where BL candle scenes were film insisted that the ceilings of the rooms had to be clad in aluminium sheets to reduce the risk of fire and to protect the ceilings from smoke damage. Obviously, aluminium sheets reflected light back down so suspect Stanley had these polished to get maximum effect. If you look at some shots you could see that some actors were lit from above in addition from the candle light source. Understand that the candles were ordered from May and Finch Liverpool who made the wicks. They probably had extra thick platted cotton wicks which will give you an extra long flame but will absorb wax at a terrifying rate, which means they had boxes of candles on standby. Those early days they used bees wax which does not burn white as in photos so they must have used paraffin wax in the scenes which is much thinner to travel up the thicker wicks. In one photo to the right you will see that the flame is nearly as long as the candle and to the left candles which seem to have small standard size flames perhaps for economy reasons. Apparently, they used three types of Zeiss/Hasselblad lenses specially adapted to fit the cameras. Focusing seemed to be a nightmare!
Mr Kubrick was not a favourite of mine nor any of his films but I am intrigued by his techniques and how he relied on 'others' to process his thoughts onto film. Not a genius but a very aware man who understood human nature and certainly knew how a camera works.
Photos did not download so will try again.
Yes, triple wick candles. You can get quite a lot of light from five of them!
To ur eye Mr. Deakins, did any of the shot look like 0.7 depth of field??
And one other thing, in jasse james the latterns in 'arrival of train' scene are heavily wicked laterns, or they are bulbs???? If they are bulbs or other lights, how they were powered? With batteries or hidden electrical wires
I would think that the scene in 'Barry Lyndon' is shot with a pretty wide open lens for the simple reason that the image is quite soft. Not soft in that the focus is out but soft as though the lens is not being used at anywhere near to its optimum aperture.
In 'Jesse James...' we used bulbs in most of the lanterns with wires hidden where possible. There is one shot where we painted out the wire in post. All the bulbs were dimmed down and set to flicker generators.
I also saw in jasse james in the candle scene a close up where wood hite's stepmother blows off the candle was it just the candle light there or another hidden light was there too?
In fact i also observed that the candle was double wicked
Yes, just the candle. Yes, it was double wicked.