March 30, 2015

Video: A Complete Guide to Stanley Kubrick's Lenses

Filmmakers tend to be kind of like gym bros, because if you imagine cinematic tools as different parts of the body, cameras would be arms and lenses would definitely be legs -- and lots of filmmakers are skipping leg day.

What does this have to do with Stanley Kubrick and lenses? Well, if Kubrick was a gym bro, he'd certainly have a very well-rounded, very rippled, very toned physique -- with calves like tree trunks and quads like -- even bigger tree trucks.

In this short video, hosted by Joe Dunton, who served as Kubrick's camera advisor on Eyes Wide Shut, we get up close and personal with the lenses that made the director's work so iconic and unique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_PIqg449is

We've covered Kubrick's lenses before, namely the Zeiss f/0.7 he used for the candlelit scene in Barry Lyndon, but this video provides an exhaustive look into the gear bag of the great director. It's truly interesting to see how particular the ol' perfectionist filmmaker truly was when it came to the tools he was working with -- modifying and customizing his favorite lenses to fit his favorite camera, the Arriflex IIC.

What are your favorite lenses to shoot with? Do you find yourself skipping leg day? Let us know down in the comments!      

Your Comment

21 Comments

Pretty neat that he was adapting still lenses for cinema use decades before it became really commonplace.

March 30, 2015 at 4:36PM

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Jonathan Kennedy
Filmmaker/writer
90

Stanley Kubrick > Christopher Nolan

March 30, 2015 at 5:10PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
618

So beautiful

March 30, 2015 at 5:20PM, Edited March 30, 5:20PM

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Chema Mumford
Filmmaker, Documentary, Cinematographer
295

I want this guy to do a piece on the VERY SPECIAL 18-50mm f3.5-5.6 Canon kit lens.

March 30, 2015 at 5:24PM

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Never skip Leg Day.

March 30, 2015 at 6:12PM

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Harlan Rumjahn
Low-level government official
207

My favorite lenses to film with mostly vintage lenses and maybe some modern lens. I have super-takumar 28mm 3.5, Helios 58mm 2.0, mir1b 37mm 2.8, canon 50mm 1.8, jupiter9, 11, 3. Canon 55-250mm 4.0, nikkor 48-87mm and Rokinon 8mm t3.8.

March 30, 2015 at 8:12PM

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Jeff M.
Director/Writer/Editor/Cinematographer
141

So much awesomeness

March 30, 2015 at 8:33PM

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Max Ciesynski
Gaffer
519

Today, Stanley Kubrick would be evaluating his passion. Now you can buy anything you want of the shelf. Speed hardly matters with high sensitive sensors cameras available. Still, some lenses seem to bring more than others. You have to go out and find what suites your needs best.

March 31, 2015 at 5:03AM

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Oh man... I'm sharing this with ALL the nerds. This is great stuff. You can actually rent Kubrick's f/0.7 lens from Barry Lyndon, which was made for NASA and then adapted to a film camera.

March 31, 2015 at 11:24AM

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Chelsea Lupkin
Director / Director of Photography / Screenwriter
176

Fuckin sweet! good stuff

March 31, 2015 at 11:46AM, Edited March 31, 11:46AM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1108

SLR Magic 12mm T1.6, Zuiko 50mm F1.4.

March 31, 2015 at 11:50PM

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Zachariel Shanahan
Writer/Director
970

Saw this earlier, brilliant piece. Recommend for every film fan.

Current favorite glass setup: Tokina 28-70 2.6. Love the soft look of it.

April 1, 2015 at 8:48AM, Edited April 1, 8:48AM

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Geoff C. Bassett
Director of Photography
188

Video removed?

April 3, 2015 at 12:21AM, Edited April 3, 12:21AM

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yes... video removed... I've missed this one! shame on me!

April 3, 2015 at 12:52PM, Edited April 3, 12:52PM

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Alejandro
Filmmaker
158

12mm MFT 1.8 T SLR magic is my go to lens.
And I love my c-mount 25mm as well.

April 4, 2015 at 9:51AM, Edited April 4, 9:51AM

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Anthony F. Moorman
freelance director/producer/grip/editor/writer
88

I saw the Kubrick exhibit at LACMA in LA and noticed that at least two of his lenses were labeled wrong in the display - seriously, obviously wrong. The specs were right on the front lens rings - focal lengths, etc. I owned the two I recognized (not super-expensive by any means) so I knew right away these were wrong. I wrote to the museum and to the exhibit management but as far as I know no corrections were made.

April 6, 2015 at 10:50AM, Edited April 6, 10:50AM

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Link down!

April 6, 2015 at 6:16PM, Edited April 6, 6:16PM

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The link was taken down because of some copyright dispute. Video along with a lecture by Joe Dunton can be found here: http://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/dans-salles/rencontres-conferences/espace-...

April 7, 2015 at 9:55AM, Edited April 7, 9:55AM

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The video has been taken down :(

April 11, 2015 at 5:43AM, Edited April 11, 5:43AM

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Thanks for this great article :)
I tried to open the video but it said the video has been removed, any chance for another link, THNAKS

April 13, 2015 at 2:15PM, Edited April 13, 2:15PM

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Qusai Nofal
Video Editor
74

This video never plays for me! Anyone have an updated link?

May 12, 2015 at 4:48PM, Edited May 12, 4:48PM

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