Definition February 2021 - Web

MANK | PRODUCTION

IMAGE This drum majorette outfit is exactly what Marion Davies wore to the circus-themed party in 1937

In the end, they tested several hundred, but the very modern large format lenses prevailed. He adds: “They were the crème de la crème of the bunch. We did some test shots and ended up liking the Leica lenses. They’re flat and are incredibly sharp, especially at the emphasised mid- range focal lengths we chose to have them at, which were 25, 29 and 30.”

which are also used by the creative duo on Mindhunter . But familiarity wasn’t the reason for their selection. “I went to Panavision in Los Angeles and looked at every lens they had,” reveals Messerschmidt. “We put them on a projector and did clinical tests to assess the resolving power of each lens; to see which were dirty and which were sharp.”

went to the location before the shoot and blocked out the scene in relation to the sun’s position in the sky. He quips: “That night, I didn’t sleep a wink hoping the sun would be out the next day.” TESTING, TESTING… When it came to choosing a camera, it was always going to be a Red for Fincher and Messerschmidt – the pair respectively direct and photograph the hit crime series Mindhunter using a Helium 8K. But whether or not Mank would be shot using a colour or monochrome sensor was always up for debate. “I initially thought that shooting in colour and correcting it to black & white would be advantageous to us, because it would give us more flexibility in post,” says Messerschmidt. “For example, we could do composites, grade in colour and adjust tonal contrasts between shades of colour. But after some side-by-side comparison tests, there wasn’t much to discuss. Clearly, the monochrome sensor was far superior, with a depth of tone and dynamic range to it that just didn’t exist in the colour sensor.” The Helium 8K Monochrome was paired with Leica Summilux-C lenses,

FEBRUARY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 05

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