Frame by Frame – BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Year2018
Decade2010s
CinematographerChayse Irvin (imdb link) (official site)
DirectorSpike Lee (imdb link)
Aspect Ratio2.39
DistributorFocus Features; Universal
GenreDrama; Period 1970s; Best Picture Nominee
CamerasPanaflex Millennium XL2, Arricam Lite, Aaton Penelope, Arriflex SR3 (16mm)
LensesSpherical; Zeiss Super Speeds MKII, Zeiss Master Primes, Panavision Ultra and Super Speeds, Panavision PVintage
Format  35mm; 16mm
Film StocksKodak Vision3 250D 5207, Kodak Vision3 500T 5219, Kodak Eastman Double-X Black & White Negative Film 5222 and 7222, Kodak Ektachrome 100D
Production info – 31 days of principal photography

Categories
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Eye Lights
Car Shots
High and Low Angles
Two Shots
Three Shots
Low Key Lighting
Police Station
Highlights
Eyelines
Phone Calls

The Movie
Based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1970s. The unlikely undercover mission began with Stallworth establishing phone contact posing as an interested new member, first with the local chapter and eventually with the organization’s “executive director” David Duke (played by Topher Grace). The sting ultimately became a two-man operation – with Stallworth (played by John David Washington) handling the phone calls and fellow detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) standing in for Stallworth for the face-to-face interactions.

The film earned Spike Lee his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Continue Reading ›

Frame by Frame – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Year2018
Decade2010s
CinematographerBruno Delbonnel (imdb link)
DirectorThe Coen Brothers
Aspect Ratio1.85
DistributorNetflix
GenreWestern
Format – Digital
Camera
Arri Alexa Studio XT and Arri Alexa Mini (shot in 3.4K Open Gate ArriRaw)
LensesArri/Zeiss Master Primes and Arri Alura zooms (15.5-45mm, 30-80mm)

Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel on his preferred focal lengths…
“I’m a big fan of wide lenses – I don’t like long lenses so for me a 32mm or 40mm is a long lens already. On Inside Llewyn Davis we shot almost everything with a 27mm. And the same here on Buster Scruggs – 70% of it is with a 27mm.” – from Variety

Categories
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Wide Shots
Breaking the Fourth Wall
Close-Ups
Western Showdown
Vanishing Point Perspective
Color – Blue
Three Shot
Dusk
Day Exteriors
Stagecoach

The Movie

“I don’t hate my fellow man, even when he’s tiresome, surly, and tries to cheat at poker. I figure that’s just the human material. And him that finds in it cause for anger and dismay is just a fool for expecting better.” – the titular gunslinger Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) on his wanted poster nickname “The Misanthrope”

The Coen Brothers check off a pair of milestones – their first film shot digitally and their first intended primarily as a streaming experience – with this six part Western anthology that twists familiar genre archetypes including the wagon train, the bank robber, the prospector, and the gunslinger. The Coen’s subtext is often inscrutable and you’ll never catch them directly talking about the meaning of their work – even the film’s production designer says he wasn’t sure if the stagecoach passengers in the film’s final chapter are alive or dead. But mortality seems to be the brothers’ primary preoccupation here. One of the stagecoach passengers in the final segment – half of a bounty hunting duo – describes his role as distracting his targets with stories before his partner thumps them. Perhaps that’s the Coen’s way of defining their own role as storytellers – life can be cruel and its sense of humor ironic and all we can do is distract ourselves with tales until the reaper thumps us.

Joel Coen on his first streaming-centric release…
“We came into the business at a time when ancillary markets, which were essentially home video markets, were really responsible for the fact that we were able to get our movies financed. Sometimes, that was the principle way our movies were seen. So if you look at The Big Lebowski, it did a reasonable amount of box office but it did a phenomenal amount of DVDs. People primarily saw that movie on their television sets. For us to get too precious about it would be a little bit strange.”from the Washington Post

The Coen Brothers on shooting digitally for the first time…
“There’s so much latitude in what you’re capturing, you can make it look like pretty much anything later in terms of contrast, in terms of color, in terms of pretty much everything…You’re sort of deferring decisions about how it’s going to look until later because when you capture it on film, it’s actually in the grain of the negative…And when you’re capturing it digitally, you’re just sort of recording pixels, all of which are negotiable later.”from NPR

Continue Reading ›

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
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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 ›

Frame by Frame: Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

Year 2018
Decade – 2010s
Cinematographers – Kramer Morgenthau (IMDB link)
Director – Ramin Bahrani (IMDB link)
Aspect Ratio – 1.78
Distributor – HBO
Genre Sci-Fi
Cameras – Panasonic VariCam 35 (3840×2160 UHD with AVC-Intra compression) for the main cameras; Zenmuse X5S on a DJI Inspire 2 drone for wide aerial shots; GoPro Hero4 Black for point of view shots
Lenses – Zeiss Super Speeds for the main lenses; Panavision Primo zooms and Lensbaby Composor Pros (for flashbacks) were also used
Format Digital; Spherical
Miscellaneous – According to American Cinematographer magazine, Morgenthau favored the 29mm and 40mm Super Speeds and typically shot between a T1.4 and a T2.0. Director Ramin Bahrani’s visual references included Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil and The Trial.
Other Key Words
Opening Credits             Color               Flashbacks             Point of View              Night Exteriors

Further Reading
American Cinematographer magazine’s feature on the film, from the June 2018 issue
CinemaTechnic’s history of the Zeiss Super Speeds
Interview with cinematographer Kramer Morganthau from Panavison’s official site Continue Reading ›

Frame by Frame: Paterno (2018)

Paterno hbo frame grab

Year – 2018
Decade – 2010s
CinematographerMarcell Rév
Director – Barry Levinson
Aspect Ratio – 1.78
Distributor – HBO
Genre – Drama
CameraAlexa Mini (3.2K ProRes 4444 XQ)
Lenses – Spherical; detuned Panavision Primos
Format – Digital
*Some of Paterno’s flashback scenes were shot with 8mm and 16mm film, the latter with Arriflex 416 cameras and Arri Zeiss Standard Speed lenses
Other Key Words
Scene Breakdowns         Low key lighting              Highlights               Flashbacks

Thanks to Paterno director of photography Marcell Rév for providing me with tech specs. Check out his official site.

Click on any link for a list of other films featuring frames from that category.

Continue Reading ›