steven soderbergh raiders lost ark silent

It’s interesting to see what kinds of videos go viral. There’s the fan based content. Then there’s the viral marketing. But what retired director Steven Soderbergh does for Raiders of the Lost Ark is actually quite interesting.

Soderberg says transformed the colorful and spectacular Raiders of the Lost Ark into a silent black and white movie. According to him, this was an exercise to have a better understanding of staging and the logistics of editing. In other words, this is an informative piece, and meant for educational purposes, but it is still fun to watch nonetheless.

While the video is not embeddable, it can be watched on his website. Although the video does use some sound, but only for soundtrack purposes. It’s not the original soundtrack, but it is one that oddly fits into what Soderbergh is saying about staging, etc. Hit the jump to see what he had to say about the process of turning Raiders of the Lost Ark into a silent black and white film. Hit the jump to see what he had to say about the process.

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…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). – See more at:

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By Michael Lee

Michael Lee has an English and Communications degree from Concordia University Irvine. He is a fan of films that are comic-book adaptations and dry witty comedies. has been reacquired by its original founders. Please pardon any interruptions during this transitory period.