Created by Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould
All DoP : Marshall Adams, Arthur Albert & Paul Donachie
Song : Something Stupid
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Why Better Call Saul's Cinematography is the Best on Television
Better Call Saul Cinematography Breakdown — how the filmmakers behind one of TV’s best shows mix and marry the visual styles of cinema, Westerns, Film Noir, and comedy.
Better Call Saul Cinematography Breakdown ►► https://bit.ly/co-bcs
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00:00 - Intro to Better Call Saul Cinematography
01:06 - Better Call Saul's Unique Vision
01:49 - Chapter 1: Cinematic Presentation
04:48 - Chapter 2: Noir Lighting
07:57 - Chapter 3: Playful Shot Choice
10:17 - Final Thoughts/Takeaways
Better Call Saul Cinematography Breakdown
The cinematography of Better Call Saul just might rank up there with the best photographed shows on television. More than just the “quality” of the imagery, the show’s unique visual style is a blend of various cinematic influences from The Godfather and classic Hollywood Westerns, along with the high contrast moods found in Film Noir, and the more playful shot choices and camera framing that accent the comedy. In this video essay, we hear from co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould alongside DP Marshall Adams and more about these decisions and how they balance all of these influences into a single vision.
The first thing you notice about the cinematography of Better Call Saul is that it doesn’t really look like television…and that’s intentional. Just like its predecessor, Breaking Bad, Gilligan and Gould wanted to give Better Call Saul a more cinematic presentation. Despite the fact that a majority of the show is shot digitally, the lighting, framing and shot choices all contribute to this cinematic look. In particular, the use of wide shots when evoking Western landscapes. They also have a tendency to let scenes play longer in these wide shots, rather than cutting between close-ups.
Lighting plays a huge role in the Better Call Saul cinematography. Just as the daytime exteriors capture the brightness of the New Mexico sun, there is also a clear inspiration from Film Noir. As it was used in those crime dramas of the ‘40s and ‘50s, similar high-contrast lighting sets the stage for Jimmy’s descent into the criminal underworld. Aiding the cinematographers in this effort are the latest digital cameras like the VariCam that can shoot in extreme low-light situations without the usual signal noise.
Finally, even though Better Call Saul ventures into dark and dramatic territory, there are comedic elements woven throughout. The most obvious ways they bring levity into the show is through the dialogue, situations, and performances. But the camera itself can also contribute. Camera placement is an immediate way this is done, specifically the odd and unexpected POVs. Whether from inside a mailbox, mounted to a rolling car, or at the bottom of a talking toilet, these playful camera angles help balance out the drama.
The cinematography of Better Call Saul is just one reason why it has quickly become one of the best shows on television. Even with all the clear reference points, the show has crafted a visual style all its own.
#FilmTheory #VideoEssay #Filmmaking
♬ SONGS USED:
“Smoke On The Water” - Deep Purple
“Better Call Saul Theme” - Little Barrie
“A Mi Manera” - Gipsy Kings
“Mike In Pursuit (III)” - Dave Porter
“Reciprocating Saw” - Dave Porter
“M40” - Dave Porter
“On Edge” - Dave Porter
“Five For Lock” - Dave Porter
“Three Moves Ahead” - Dave Porter
“Ass Over Tea Kettle” - Dave Porter
“License Plate” - Dave Porter
“Four For Unlock” - Dave Porter
“Find Out What’s Happening” - Dave Porter
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