For "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, Joel & Ethan Coen chose to create the opening and narrative transitions with cinematic vignettes, featuring a handmade storybook. Their long time collaborator for main titles, Randy Balsmeyer of Big Film Design, invited cinematographer and technical director Christopher Webb to help find the best approach.
Chris and the team at his studio, FX WRX, did practical tests with a variety of setups to offer the Coens production methods that fit their specific creative style. This included evaluating traditional and motion control camera movement systems, as well as lighting and lens options. The team chose to work with the TechnoDolly motion control camera crane because of its intuitive workflow and graceful motion. This was fitted with a RED 6K camera and a classic 40mm Arri Macro lens.
Master bookmaker and prop artist Dave King hand-crafted the period storybook to the Coens' exacting specifications. The book not only had to look the part, but also had to move well as it was manipulated. The Coens then worked with Chris at FX WRX to shoot each carefully choreographed vignette. The camera was guided by veteran TechnoDolly operator Anthony Jacques.
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
Exec. Producer: Catherine Farrell
Producer: Randall Balsmeyer, Big Film Design
Assistant Director: David Sales
Cinematographer/Technical Director: Christopher Webb
FX WRX Manager: Graceann Dorse
Camera Assistant: Conner Daniels
DIT: Dominick Pietrzak
Gaffer: Tim Curtin
Key Grip: Kristin Murphy
Grip/Swing: Daniel Jusino
VTR: Jimmy Mulhollan
PA: Lizette Gesuden
Camera Intern: Matthew Johnston
TechnoDolly Operator: Anthony Jacques
Bookmaker: Dave King
Hand Model: Richard DuBois
Make-up: Roxanne Rizzo