A Letter to Stanley Kubrick about the Newly Invented Steadicam

Jan Harlan writes Stanley Kubrick in February, 1976 about a new invention, the Steadicam. Kubrick was so impressed he used it in his next movie, The Shining, and in every film he made afterwords.

VIA: The Stanley Kubrick Archives / Letters of Note


10. Feb. 76


Dear Stanley,

I saw this new contraption for hand-held shots in action. It’s just terrific. Enclosed a photograph of one of the prototypes. The whole secret is a perfect balance of the camera and the arm AND a spring loaded- tension arm which separates the body movement from the camera to an astonishing degree. The operator can run and the camera moves through the air as if held on a string from above. I saw a roll of film this morning shot by Haskel where the operator sits on a crane – the crane comes down the the ground, the operator gets of the seat and walks away, no cut. Not only will this thing safe a lot of money and time by avoiding tracks, but you could do shots and think of shots which would not enter your mind otherwise. You see, I am sold on that think, although it costs $30,000.–. Ed will be in London on Feb 25 for 4 hours and I told him to send you that roll of film which I saw. I promised him that you will send it back to him within a few days. He will just arrange with someone that the roll is delivered to you.

Ed will be in Copenhagen in 2 weeks and I have asked him to see Mr. Jakobsen and find out for himself what is happening. I assume that Jakobsen has not contacted you in the meantime.

best Jan

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