But it's not only the snappy dialog, homages to cult films, and QT cameos that give it away, it's also the unique look created by the director and his frequent collaborator, DP Robert Richardson. Matt Workman of Cinematography Database does an extensive breakdown of the cinematography of The Hateful Eight, explaining the techniques used to light scenes, capture shots, and pull off grades.

The Hateful Eight has been the topic of discussion before it was even released mainly because Tarantino and Richardson revived a film format that hadn't been utilized since 1966 by shooting the film with the Ultra Panavision 70mm film camera. So, right off the bat the filmmaking community had a special interest in its cinematography. And Workman does a fantastic job selecting interesting scenes and shots and breaking down the techniques he believes were used to accomplish them.


I mean — the bit about Samuel L. Jackson's beard — amazing. According to Workman, Richardson uses the light coming off of Jackson's beard to light Kurt Russell's face. Samuel L's beard is essentially a bounce card! It's techniques like that that aren't necessarily learned from tutorials on the internet, but from really digging into the work of great cinematographers who continually invent new ways of capturing images (even though this effect is kind of a Roger Deakins thing).

Workman does a ton of these breakdowns on Cinematography Database, like the one he did for Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean" music video, and I highly recommend checking them out. They offer rare insight into not only the specific cinematographic techniques used in films, but how to do them yourself.

Source: Cinematography Database