Article: “15 Things That Stanley Kubrick Can Teach You About Filmmaking”

Continuing with my series of resource links – today I want to share with an article which I just finished reading over at the Taste of Cinema entitled, “15 Things That Stanley Kubrick Can Teach You About Filmmaking” (by David Biggins). Below you will find the cliff notes version of the article, but I really encourage you to head over and avail yourself of the full version as soon as you can – it is well worth the read!

In short form, here are the 15 Things That Stanley Kubrick Can Teach You About Filmmaking:

  1. Match Cuts: “[Not] invented by Kubrick but, so far, no one has ever used it quite as dramatically.”
  2. Using Natural Lighting: “Using the light that would be available to the characters at that moment in time… Kubrick often preferred to light his films in this way.”
  3. Using Artificial Lighting: “The Shining uses both natural and artificial light to help change with the mood changes that occurs during the horror.”
  4. Vanishing Points: “It is perhaps the most easily definable element of a film that makes it recognisably ‘Kubrickian’.”
  5. Tracking Shots: “[Kubrick’s films] feel dynamic because he let his camera flow through the narrative; firstly through tracking…”
  6. Steadicam Shots: “… directors can film a scene in one long continuous take, not having to disturb the actors.”
  7. Hand-held Camerawork: “Picking the right moment to use a hand-held camera can really add drama to a film.”
  8. Long Shot: “A long shot allows you to place a lot of information on screen…”
  9. Wide-angle Lenses in Cramped Spaces: “Many of Kubrick’s films are notable for their use of extreme wide-angle lenses.”
  10. Wide-angle Lenses in Large Spaces: During Paths of Glory’s court martial sequence… Kubrick uses a wide-angle lens so that the sense of depth is maintained but he’s only keeping Private Ferol (Timothy Carey) in focus.”
  11. Zoom Lenses: “[It can be] a beautiful shot that’s uninterrupted by edits, which helps to heighten the tension by keeping the audience member completely in the scene.”
  12. Choice of Film Format: “Kubrick’s productions offer useful examples as to why a filmmaker might have chosen to work with different film formats.”
  13. Chronology: “It’s fairly commonplace to see non-linear narrative films [today]… but it was atypical in 1956… By switching around the order of events, Kubrick dramatically altered how we perceive certain characters on screen.”
  14. Use of Colour: “Kubrick’s true masterstroke is having created a film that uses colour so vividly that it becomes a talking point in itself.”
  15. Casting: “He took this drive for authenticity one step further for Full Metal Jacket when he cast real drill instructor Ronald Lee Ermey…”
An example of the Kubrickian vanishing point.


Want to read the unabridged article, you can find it here.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.