Here’s a breakdown of cinematographer John Alcott’s techniques.
Make no bones about it: John Alcott is a legend. Stanley Kubrick’s cinematographer is responsible for some of the most stunning imagery in cinema history, including Barry Lyndon, which was meticulously shot using natural light and may as well have been a Romantic painting, and The Shining, which features ingenious camera movement.
Kubrick was a perfectionist and cinematographer in his own right; he demanded much of his DPs, both technically, physically, and emotionally. As a result, the turnover rate for lensing his films was high. Alcott, however, held his ground and was able to deliver on some of the director’s most challenging demands.
In a new video essay, YouTube channel Wolfcrow breaks down Alcott’s techniques.