September 25, 2014

Steven Soderbergh Removed the Color & Sound from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' to Explore Spielberg's Staging

Soderbergh has done another one of his recuts/remixes, this time turning his attention to Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark

Why do this? I'll let Soderbergh explain:

So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me. Oh, and I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect. Wait, WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? Well, I’m not saying I’m like, ALLOWED to do this, I’m just saying this is what I do when I try to learn about staging, and this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are—that’s high level visual math shit).

Here's the film (if this doesn't load correctly it's also available to watch here on Soderbergh's site):

Soderbergh is very much a student of cinema, and experiments like this can really help to see what specific elements do for a movie. A film is the sum of all of its parts, but the best filmmakers know how to bring it all together in a very special way.     

Your Comment

13 Comments

This is amazing.

September 25, 2014 at 8:44PM

1
Reply
avatar
Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
945

A most excellent way to study the way light falls on a subject.

Thanks!

September 25, 2014 at 8:45PM, Edited September 25, 8:45PM

0
Reply
PAT FISH
122

And this brings us back that a movie is a balance between story, camera, audio, and music.

Thus we should be the students of balance :))

September 25, 2014 at 9:27PM

4
Reply
avatar
Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3822

Great source but seriously this was posted days ago on every other site.

September 25, 2014 at 11:18PM

0
Reply
Scott Talbot
Director
152

It is also a great example of how changing the sound changes the experience. The mood is very different at many parts.

September 26, 2014 at 2:24AM

4
Reply
avatar
Ty Evind
Creator
154

Impressive, great job. The lenguaje of cinema it's very complex but when you see it like this it's like heaven :D.

September 26, 2014 at 2:25AM

0
Reply
avatar
Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7652

What does he mean by staging? Pacing?

September 26, 2014 at 3:46AM

0
Reply
Tyran Nosaur
DP/Director - lots to learn
91

Good question. It kind of means everything. Where you put your actors, why you make them move, why you move the camera, why you put the camera where you do. It all falls into line with a very clear understanding of what the script is asking of you (i.e. rendering the action) and the way you want to present your material to the world.

It's a massive subject and it all really boils down to a subjective appreciation of drama. What makes something dramatic. As he says in the rest of the post, there's a million ways to stage something but it boils down to only 2 and one of them is wrong.

It's quite possible to completely lose your head over staging so really allowing yourself to interpret and appreciate something like this is pretty cool.

September 26, 2014 at 9:01AM

2
Reply
avatar
Robin Schmidt
Director
245

Thanks Robin

February 10, 2015 at 7:50AM

0
Reply
Tyran Nosaur
DP/Director - lots to learn
91

This is awesome. I just watched the first scene on my phone. When I get home i think I'll watch the rest but without the sound. I find the added (rather incedemtal/random) soundtrack a distraction.

September 26, 2014 at 8:29AM

0
Reply
avatar
Michael Markham
Actor/Filmmaker
876

Awesome Share. Thanks For Posting This.

September 26, 2014 at 12:04PM, Edited September 26, 12:04PM

0
Reply
avatar
Kevin Greene
Editor
785

Has anyone heard of a site where a portion of the b/w, no sound version of the film is being discussed? I would find that helpful. Maybe an X minute section could be chosen and discussed?

September 26, 2014 at 4:23PM

5
Reply
Joseph Mello
Not in Filmmaking. Currently a Business Analyst
81

The video is not working, it says: No video with supported format and MIME type found.

September 26, 2014 at 5:30PM

4
Reply
avatar
Diego Lope
Writer / Director / Producer
108