April 11, 2016

Using Beards as Bounce Cards (& Other Cool Lighting Tricks Used in 'The Hateful Eight')

You can tell right away when you're watching a Quentin Tarantino film.

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RP-3-_wo70

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.     

Your Comment

10 Comments

Matt Workman is killing it right now and this video was one of his best

April 11, 2016 at 11:11PM

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B.D. Sharples
Cinematographer and Director
229

Yes. Matt Workman is the man. I'm planning on brushing up C4D skills to use his CineDesigner.

April 12, 2016 at 6:58AM

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Some of the lighting in the cabin was so umotivated it really stuck out as being false. Didn't like it at all, it looked kind of electric, I mean electrically lit rather than natural. It was very obviously a conscious choice but it didn't feel right.

April 12, 2016 at 5:10AM

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Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1890

Stylized lighting for a very stylized film by a very stylized Director / DP team. This wasn't Barry Lyndon.

April 12, 2016 at 12:49PM, Edited April 12, 12:52PM

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Nick Rowland
Street Bum
684

It wasn't? Yes, I do know that. As a stylised piece the lighting still stood out to me as being unnatural in a way that drew attention to itself that distracted me. Probably just me I know. But that's only the point I was making.

April 12, 2016 at 1:31PM

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Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1890

If this would have been lit to look "natural", with window light and candles, it would have been a disservice to the entire film. Especially to the dialogue and action that happens within the cabin. The stylized lighting in The Hateful Eight compliments the style of the film. This film wasn't a brooding, dark drama. It was a western with snappy dialogue and great action.

April 12, 2016 at 6:31PM, Edited April 12, 6:32PM

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Nick Rowland
Street Bum
684

You're still saying things I already know.

April 13, 2016 at 4:26AM

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Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1890

I'm with you on this, I appreciate that it's a heavily styalised movie, which it needs to be, because... Tarantino ... yet I still came away from some of the cabin scenes feeling like something wasn't quite right, some of the light motivation was beyond comprehension, you can still have a styalised look without it looking too false... If it draws your attention, then yeh it's not a positive for me.

The beard bouncecard thing as well, i'm not so sure, I think theres a bounceboard simply on his chest, I don't know how you'd get any direction out of a beard that's parallel to the ground...? Not to discredit Matt here at all, your work is amazing!!

I love the film still, everything about it was immense, just those few lighting questions is all, i'd at least have masked some elements in post just to kinda cover your tracks a bit with sources, like the hotspots on the tables for example... but that's me.

April 15, 2016 at 6:00AM, Edited April 15, 6:00AM

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Tom Sykes
DOP
81

Using in shot elements to bounce is something one should always consider. And it is pretty common: when writing a letter, changes are big the paper adds light to the writer's face.
In this 1 minute I used a coaster on the table to light a dialogue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbBgh-Fwg8w

Bouncing light from off screen elements can also be a great tool:
The rain shot was planned at the moment that the sun would be reflected from the windows across the street. A 6 minute window of opportunity, and luckily the sun did shine. (Although it was still freezing...)

April 12, 2016 at 9:25AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9065

Lots of wrong interpretations and errors, but a fun watch nevertheless.

April 12, 2016 at 5:46PM

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Ezi Seel
610