Behind the scenes of The Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ballad of Buster Scruggs before and after VFX

A before-and-after visual effects comparison from “Mortal Remains,” the final chapter in the Coen Brothers’ Netflix western anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. While the other entries were shot on location across New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska, “Mortal Remains” and its spectral stagecoach ride were shot entirely on a soundstage. In keeping with the Coen’s reluctance to delve into the meaning of their work, even the film’s production designer Jess Gonchor wasn’t sure of the passengers’ fate.

“I still don’t know whether the characters in that story are dead or alive or just living in the afterlife,” said Gonchor in an interview with The LA Times. “The Coen brothers didn’t discuss it. We built these monochromatic super facades, which were lit from behind. It was a storybook version of what the afterlife might look like.”

The images above come from The Art of VFX’s interview with visual effects supervisor Michael Huber.

Interview: A Star Is Born cinematographer Matthew Libatique

My talk with A Star Is Born cinematographer Matthew Libatique is up over at Filmmaker Magazine. The film was shot on Arri Alexa Minis with Cooke/i SF Camtec Vintage Series and Kowa Cine Prominar anamorphic lenses. Here’s a preview, where Libatique discusses using the Kowas, what he loves about anamorphic, and why he stays loyal to the same rental house.

Continue Reading ›

The Shot Behind the Shot – Elf (2003)

I found a few images of behind the scenes set-ups on the Blu-ray featurettes of Elf. They offer a glimpse into how cinematographer Greg Gardiner used forced perspective to create the illusion that Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf towers over his North Pole counterparts.

Check out more in the Shot Behind the Shot series.

Frame by Frame – Maniac (2018)

Year2018
Decade2010s
CinematographerDarren Lew (imdb link)
DirectorCary Joji Fukunaga (imdb link)
Aspect Ratio2.39
DistributorNetflix
GenreDrama, Sci-Fi
CameraPanavision Millennium DXL (optics by Panavision, color science by Light Iron, 8K large format sensor by Red)
LensesPanavision AnamorphicsC Series, E Series and T Series
FormatDigital

Categories
Clink on any link to see similar frames from other films.
Shot/Reverse Shot            Color                             Profile                             Low Contrast
Center Framing                  Lens Flare                    Diners                             Courtroom
Elevators                              Wide Angle Lens         Establishing Shots      Hotels
Iris                                        Office                             Frame Within Frames
Inserts                                  Bench                            Shafts of Light             Foreground/Background
Car Wreck                            Long Takes

The Show
Two participants in a pharmaceutical trial (Emma Stone, Johan Hill) find themselves intertwined in the trial’s therapuutic series of drug-induced delusions. Continue Reading ›

Pic of the Day – The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

The Man Who Fell to Earth poster by Martin Ansin

In honor of the passing of cinematographer turned director Nicolas Roeg, here’s Martin Ansin’s alternative poster for Roeg’s 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. In addition to his own films as director – highlighted by Walkabout (1971) and Don’t Look Now (1973) – Roeg shot The Masque of Red Death (1964) for Roger Corman and Fahrenheit 451 (1966) for Francois Truffaut.

The awesome film site Cinephilia and Beyond has an excellent post about Don’t Look Now to check out that includes Roeg interviews and a copy of the film’s script.

Frame by Frame: The Deuce – Season 1 (2017)

Year2017
Decade2010s
Cinematographers – Vanja Cernjul, Pepe Avila del Pino (pilot)
Director – various
Aspect Ratio1.78
DistributorHBO
GenreDrama; Period (1970s)
Camera – Panasonic VariCam35, Arri Alexa (pilot only)
Lenses –  SphericalPanavision PVintage; Panavision Primos (pilot only)
FormatDigital; Shot in V-Log in HD (1920×1080) resolution with ProRes 4444 compression

Categories
Night Exteriors           Car Shots                       Frames Within Frames     Bars
Silhouettes                   Wide Shots                    Full Shots                            High Angle
Title Cards                   Mirrors                           Shafts of Light
Mercury Vapor Streetlights                              Sodium Vapor Streetlights

Clink on any link above to see similar frames from other films.

The Show
The legalization of pornography alters the lives of the denizens of New York’s seedy 42nd Street circa 1971. Continue Reading ›

85 classic German VHS horror covers

I don’t remember what internet rabbit hole led me there, but a while back I ended up on a Flickr stream called Leopardtronics – and discovered a cache of high-res cover scans of German VHS tapes. I’ve compiled a batch of my favorite horror covers and shared them below. The feed has thousands of more images of VHS and vintage pulp novel art to sift through.

And if you want more analog goodness, here’s some past features from the blog…
The 100 Greatest VHS Horror Covers
More than 100 French VHS Horror Covers
40 Classic Japanese VHS Covers
More than 50 Brazilian VHS Covers Continue Reading ›

Frame by Frame: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Year1968
Decade1960s
CinematographerGeorge Romero
DirectorGeorge Romero
Aspect Ratio1.37
GenreHorror, Zombie
Camera – Arri 35 IIC (More on the Arri 35 II series of cameras)
Format35mm; Black and White
Production Info – Budget of $114,000 and shot in 30 days, which were spread out over seven months as Romero took breaks to tend to his Pittsburgh commercial production company
Key Words – Close-Ups

Click on any of the links above to view other films featured in that category

The Movie
A group of bickering survivors hole up in an isolated farmhouse besieged by the undead in George Romero’s immeasurably influential Night of the Living Dead. The film redefined not only the zombie movie but the horror genre itself, drawing a clear line of demarcation between the genre’s history of gothic monsters and enlarged radioactive creatures and the more angry, violent and transgressive contemporary horror of the 1970s. In commemoration of Night of the Living Dead’s 50th anniversary, I’m looking back at some of my favorite frames from Romero’s directorial debut. Continue Reading ›