DEFINITION January 2018



Def: The look of Mindhunter is extremely mature – I heard that you took references from stills photographers such as Steve Shore and Mitch Epstein. How did they influence Mindhunter ? Was it their take on the ‘real’ America of the 70s? Is the look couched in a generic desaturated LUT that is sacrosanct? EM: Yes, I looked at a lot of photography. Steven Shore, Joel Sternfeld, Todd Hido and Mitch Epstein were all influential. I’ve said before that I don’t think production designers, set decorators and costume designers get enough credit for the way movies look. I was incredibly fortunate on Mindhunter to have real partners in crime in all those departments. David Fincher is involved in every visual decision in the show and he kept our pallete restricted to a very specific

contribution to the show’s look. A lot of the scenes took multiple days to shoot, and our shooting day often extended past sundown so we papered a lot of windows. At first I was worried about that, but then after watching The Godfather and Chinatown again as references I realised how many of those interiors were cheated with blown-out windows, so I felt better about it! The Quantico office is a stage set with green screen, so we had quite a bit more control over the light there. Def: Please talk us through the lighting design. Apart from key or talent lights, it is obviously minimised to practical and natural light. Does the performance of the camera encourage this, are you pushing the ISO? What lights are you using, and how are you adjusting colour temperature? EM: I would always prefer the natural light of a set to do the majority of the work, I just think it always looks better. Steve Arnold and I spent a lot of time talking about window locations and practical lights as they pertained to the blocking each director had in mind. There are always times when it’s necessary

to hang a light to get some separation, or use a bit more light in the eyes or whatever, but it was pretty minimal. I rated the camera at 640 ASA for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to work predominately in the toe of the exposure range, so I felt like I needed to protect the shadows a bit more than the highlights. The second reason was that I deliberately wanted to work with a little more light than we might at 800 or 1000 ASA. In the past, I’ve found at 800 or 1000 ASA I end up having to control the shadows so much more than I would like, so it can be a little hard to be expressive with the lighting. At 640 ASA I can still work at 10 to 25 foot- candles without polluting the entire scene with light. Its a nice, balanced place to start.

ABOVE Holden (Jonathan Groff) and Bill (Holt McCallany) interrogate a killer.




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