Before “The Shining,” Garrett Brown had debuted the Steadicam in the 1976 Woodie Guthrie biopic “Bound for Glory,” which won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The thriller “Marathon Man,” released the same year, showed how chase sequences could effectively utilize the tech. However, the Steadicam’s most famous moment at that point was in “Rocky,” in which Brown’s initial test footage he shot of his girlfriend running up and down the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum inspired the triumphant scene of Rocky Balboa doing the same.

Brown recognized that for “The Shining,” however, “[Stanley] Kubrick wasn’t just talking of stunt shots and staircases.” Rather, the director wanted to use the Steadicam “as a tool which can help get the lens where it’s wanted in space and time without the classic limitations of the dolly and crane.” In other words, Kubrick approached the Steadicam as a primary tool instead of an exception. For example, Brown explained that while a dolly would have made the tracking shots that wind around hallways in the hotel look jerky, the Steadicam allowed for easier turning around corners and injected the scenes with an “unearthly tranquility” that made the movement seem more ghostly. 

Kubrick innovated creative ways to incorporate the device into more difficult parts of the shoot, too. It was cumbersome for Brown to keep up with actor Danny Lloyd during the famous shot of Danny Torrance riding his bike down the hallways of the Overlook, so Kubrick mounted the Steadicam on a wheelchair while Brown controlled the camera with two hands. These were challenging efforts, but the real danger of the shoot arrived with the hedge maze sequences.