DEFINITION January 2018



set of tones. The period is full of yellow, cyan, brown and avocado green. Those colours became our benchmark. When it came to the final colour grading we didn’t apply much of a cast or skew the colour, as much of the look is the result of thoughtful set design and costume choices. Def: With the Xenomorph camera, how much does that help operating? I believe it is stripped down or has accessories as part of the design – can you explain the customisation? EM: Fincher’s design philosophy behind the Xenomorph was to integrate all the standard accessories we typically add to a camera into the body so there are no excess wires or mounting hardware. I think anytime the camera is simplified it helps everyone, and the Xenomorph absolutely helped the operator and assistant because there was just a lot less stuff to deal with. With the exception of NDs, I didn’t use any filtration so in most cases we didn’t even need a matte box. This method lead to a camera that simply needed a lens and battery to shoot without losing any of the functionality the assistants or sound department need. Def: Are you shooting at a particular RED mode, and is 6K downsampled to 4K an advantage for television? What framing options does 6K give you, and are you stabilising in post with the extra information? Are you tempted to go 8K with helium or Monstro for Season 2, maybe if more VFX is called for? EM: We shot in 6k 2:1 with a 5k 2.2:1 centre extraction. The extraction gave us the ability to stabilise in post and reframe if necessary. I loved working that way. We may shoot 8k for season 2 – we’re testing now and exploring our options. I’m tempted to take advantage of the added sensitivity of the Helium sensor and the reduced noise floor, but we’ll

to our process. Funnily enough, our data workflow is very similar to film. I say that because I worked without a DIT with a single in-camera LUT. Our exposed cards were sent to post to be ‘processed’ and ingested. Wiped cards were returned in the morning and the process was repeated, none of the processing was handled on set. I think it’s the best way to work. Def: An increasing problem for Netflix, Amazon and so forth is grading for the diversity of screens used to view their shows. How do you compensate for the smaller screens and also enhance for the main family screen in the living room? I’m thinking

see. I was very happy with the colour response of the Dragon sensor. Def: David Fincher is known as a director who likes lots of takes. With modern cinematography, what is today’s equivalent of giving him what he wants? EM: David Fincher is absolutely a film-maker who uses technology to his advantage. That said, it’s not about toys, its all story and project- based. There were times when we did dozens of takes and other times when we moved on in one or two. It all depends on the situation. That said, the ability to judge focus, colour, contrast and performance on a modern OLED monitor is intrinsic

ABOVE Asif Kapadia, director of episodes three and four, with Erik (right) on the Mindhunter set.

TOP/LEFT Skillful set and costume design ensured little colour grading was needed.



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