Better Call Saul
AMC’s Better Call Saul is the ultimate slow-burn show, but you knew what you were getting. As the prequel to Breaking Bad , it had a template already set for its look. The high sun of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was part of the aesthetic, but cinematographer Marshall Adams also cites technology evolving. By the end of Season 6, the show was a much more naturalistic one than Season 1, with its adoption of large format cameras and less lighting. Euphoria from HBO blew onto our screens in 2019 – and Season 2 is now with us. The first was beautiful, enlivening the dark, teenage angst being served up. But innovation was there, with a tribute Drama series
‘the sense of danger in the shadows’. In the final episodes, magenta was added to the filter, acting as a point of difference to conclude a great show. Severance from Apple TV+ already has the benefit of that glossy look (whether it’s an increased data-rate thing or not). But added to that obvious benefit is the production design of this – for want of a better phrase – workplace comedy/drama. At work, the design and cinematography follows endless corridors of white with abundant one-shots. Off-kilter symmetry increases the overwhelming feeling of disorientation. One reviewer commented that the series answers the question ‘what if Hitchcock had directed The Office ?’.
to Christopher Nolan’s rotational room scene in Inception . Then came Season 2 and cinematographer Marcell Rév, with director Sam Levinson deciding to throw out everything they’d done in the first digitally shot season and do it all in 35mm Ektachrome film. Luckily, Kodak had revived the emulsion in 2018, even though the company had to reopen parts of its mothballed factory to do so. Ozark came to an end on Netflix – and with it the permanent cyan filter. Of course, you got used to it after a while, but subconsciously it warned you of impending doom just around the corner. Shawn Kim, one of the later cinematographers on the show, called it
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