Halt and Catch Fire cinematography

Halt and Catch Fire returned and the show’s cinematography has always struck me.  There are numerous times when watching an episode where I’ll think “that’s a good shot”.  Sometimes it’s just because it’s different from most TV shows.

Thought I’d go through the first two episodes and randomly choose a few.

The muted use of colour and quite often a key colour in each scene (usually a shade of blue actually) works really well.  It kind of removes some of the sheen of modern TV to make it look slightly more 80s (when the show is set).

I also like how characters will often be framed in unusual ways.  It still tends to follow the rules of 1/3rd, but the majority of the image may be the set itself.  When done well it helps emphasise the characters and plot.  In the first image on the third row Donna and Cameron have been belittled and insulted and they are physically belittled by the framing, placing them at the bottom underneath this grand (or at least the 80s version of grand) restaurant decor suggesting they don’t fit in.  The second image on the first row places Gordon behind some furniture, literally pushing him back (as he’s just been emotionally pushed back) and even in the shot the focus isn’t on him – a recurring theme of the show particularly in relation to his relationship with Joe.  And of course two under that image is Joe literally being lit up because he does love the spotlight.

Imagery aside I really like how they’re pursuing the gender issue more this season.  It was certainly explored last year in a kind of “two women running a company?  That’s unique” kind of way and they did face sexism, but they were kind of isolated and doing their own thing building a company so it was less overt.  Now they’re out there trying to prove themselves and trying to get investment money.  This puts them in a very open position and makes them financially subservient to venture capitalists, who are mostly men.  I imagine the season is going to show more and more blatant sexism and the challenges they’ll face in having to prove they can just because they’re women.

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