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

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Frame by Frame: Hell on Wheels – Season 1 (2011)

Year2011
Decade2010s
CinematographerElliot Davis (pilot), Marvin Rush (all other Season 1 episodes)
Director – multiple
Aspect Ratio1.78
DistributorAMC
GenreWestern
CameraArri Alexa
LensesSpherical
FormatDigital

Key Words

Silhouettes           Low Angles            Scene: Campfire              Candlelight
Day Exterior        Night Exterior       Desaturation                   Close-Ups
Wide Shots           Firearms 

Click on any link to view other films featuring frames from that category.

The Show
A freed slave (Common), an unscrupulous magnate (Colm Meaney), and a Confederate soldier hellbent on revenge (Anson Mount) are among the characters in this Western detailing the building of the first transcontinental railroad. The show ran for five seasons an AMC. Continue Reading ›

Frame by Frame: Hombre (1967)

Year – 1967
Decade – 1960s
Cinematographer – James Wong Howe (imdb credits)
Director – Martin Ritt (imdb credits)
Aspect Ratio – 2.40
Distributor – 20th Century Fox
Genre – Western
Lenses – Anamorphic
Format – 35mm
Other Key Words:
Group Compositions 
Opening Credits
Shot/Reverse Shot
Scene Breakdowns

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Frame by Frame: Westworld – Season One (2017)

Year 2017
Decade – 2010s
Cinematographers – Paul Cameron (pilot); David Franco; Jeffrey Jur; Robert McLachlan; Brendan Galvin
Director – multiple
Aspect Ratio – 1.78
Distributor – HBO
Genre  Western; Sci-Fi
Camera – Arricam LiteArriflex 435
Lenses – Cooke S4Canon K35; Fujinon Premiere zooms; spherical
(Most of the show was shot on the Cookes. The K35’s were used for flashbacks/dream sequences.)
Format 35mm; 3-perf Super 35
Film StocksKodak Vision3 (5219 500T; 5207 250D; 5203 50D)
(5219 500T for night interiors/exteriors, 5207 250D for some dusk scenes, and 5203 50D for daylight interiors/exteriors.)
Other Key Words Wide Shots; High and Low Angles; Composition; Two-Shots; Close-Ups; Shot/Reverse Shot; Bokeh Continue Reading ›