Features and Columns · Movies

How Quentin Tarantino Shoots a Car Scene

Buckle up. Here’s a video essay on a type of scene that’s easily taken for granted.
Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino Car Scenes
Miramax
By  · Published on January 29th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about how Quentin Tarantino shoots car scenes.


There’s nothing more common in movies than two people sitting down and having a conversation. And these kind of scenes—whether they’re in diners, bars, or cars— put directors in an interesting position: how do you make sitting and talking feel cinematic? How do you harness visual storytelling and keep things interesting while your characters are limited, physically, in what they can do?

Today we’re going to be focusing on car scenes. And more specifically, we’ll be looking at how a style-heavy filmmaker like Quentin Tarantino tackles them. Because lord knows, the only thing that man loves more than a needle drop or a scandalously exposed foot is a good car scene: be it the gripping stunts of Death Proof or the more dialogue-driven character moments of Pulp Fiction.

If you’ve had the pleasure of being in a car before, you know that where you sit in the car matters. So one piece of the visual storytelling puzzle is staging. Where are characters physically placed and what does that placement say about their relationship to one another? Another important factor is knowing what shots you want. If you want full, interesting, or meaningful coverage, you have to plan ahead. Especially if you don’t want camera equipment showing up in your shot or if you want to use a camera lens that doesn’t shrink your already limited field of vision.

That’s just a taste. For a more fulsome account, press on to today’s video:

Watch “How to Film a Scene in a Car like Tarantino“:

https://youtu.be/FkB4H9Sx588

Who made this?

Wolfcrow is an online film school. Their YouTube channel focuses on educating their audience on the ins and outs of cinematography. You can subscribe to them on YouTube here. And you can check out their website here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).