“So everybody bitches and moans about how many takes… People I’ve never even met complain about how many takes I shoot.”
Just about the last thing anyone wants to do is enter the mind of pure evil, let alone hear it meticulously, and deliciously describe its murderous exploits. That a view inside of its horrifying headspace has resulted in such eerily intoxicating music is a testament to the powerfully emerging voice of Jason Hill in “Mindhunter.” Created by serial killer media enabler par excellence David Fincher, this acclaimed Netflix series’ twist is that we barely see any violence at all. Rather, the acts and its reasoning are told to FBI profilers Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), who traverse the country to find out what makes madmen tick. That the birth of the agency’s serial killer profiling unit is no work of fiction makes their subjects’ descriptions all the more terrifying, if no less fascinating in the awfulness that’s drawn entertainment to these predators again and again. That Jason Hill hears the recording sessions, and their effect upon the agents, with such dark poetry is all the more unsettling.
If the interview subjects of “Mindhunter” have seemed to emerge from the shadows, seemingly out of nowhere, the same might be said (if not murderously) about how Hill’s innovative talent has burst upon the binge-watching scene. With only one scoring credit for a dirt biking madman behind him, Hill’s production work for the likes of David Bowie, The New York Dolls and The Killers along with his band Louis XIV have led him into Fincher’s company – a band of musical profilers whose work has ranged from the raging orchestra of Howard Shore’s “Se7en” to the subtle, conspiratorial piano of David Shire’s “Zodiac” and the piercing electronics of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ “Gone Girl.”
Hill’s realization of a twisted psyche is just as uncommon and original, eschewing the kind of dissonance that scores most associate with serial killers, Hill’s soundtrack for this hit, ten-part series is poetic, even beautiful in its crystalline use of sound and samples, music that suggests a voyage to an alternate, shimmering universe far more than it does a basement torture dungeon. Its ethereal, even poignant stuff, yet with a tonality that tells us something is unholy in its deceptively surreal bliss. Even as brilliantly crazy as Brian Reitzell’s music was for the equally astounding “Hannibal,” there’s never been quite a serial killer show, or soundtrack like “Mindhunter.” In no small part, we can thank an essentially newfound composer who’s brave enough to hear shocking words that might drive others’ insane, and turn the description of the deeds into things of hypnotic, unearthly beauty that dares us to turn away. And like the subject of the increasingly unnerved agents, Hill is the killer who keeps the tape machine running, now describing in detail to us how he draws listeners ever deeper into “Mindhunter’s” entrancing madness.
The Very Best Title Sequences of 2017, as chosen by Art of the Title
For our fourth annual list of the year’s top 10 title sequences, Art of the Title’s editors chose from among film, television, video games, web series, and conferences. The Top 10 of 2017 were chosen based on criteria such as originality and innovation, impact, atmosphere, relevance to subject matter, and technique.
Paring the long list down from 142 to just 10 was a difficult task, but one done with relish. These title sequences were painstakingly crafted, acted, shot, composited, modelled, painted, choreographed, rotoscoped, animated, typeset, and hand-drawn by teams large and small all around the world, with budgets modest and mighty, in state-of-the-art facilities and in home studios. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the most interesting and innovative work to hit screens this year. These sequences represent the cream of the crop.
Premiering mid-October on Netflix @netflix, here's another Mindhunter frame from the pilot episodes directed by David Fincher. This stark frame shows Jonathan Groff's character dealing with the implications of delving into the minds of serial killers. Shot on Red Weapon Dragon Xenomorph cameras @reddigitalcinema and Leica Summilux-C lenses @cwsonderoptic. . #reddigitalcinema #davidfincher #mindhunter #netflix
A little behind the scenes teaser for Mindhunter, which drops in just 5 more days on Netflix @netflix… Shot on custom Red Weapon Xenomorph Dragon cameras @reddigitalcinema , here you can see our 5K 2:1 framing within the 6K container for look-around, reframing and stabilization that Fincher uses on every project. @cwsonderoptic . #reddigitalcinema #mindhunter #davidfincher #netflix
A monitor grab from a scene appearing in Ep. 3 of Mindhunter @netflix… Scheduling necessities required several sequences for Episodes 3 and 7 to be fitted into the schedule for our Eps. 1 and 2 "pilot block" shooting schedule. This scene takes place in the Sacramento storyline continued from Ep. 2, where our intrepid heroes (@holtmccallany and Jonathan Groff) help catch a killer of elderly women. This scene and others in the detective's bullpen downstairs, and outside (where their car has its wheels removed) were all shot in the former Daily News newspaper headquarters in McKeesport, PA. This shot was lit almost entirely with the selective use of practicals. I had the overhead bulbs switched to legacy Warm White tubes, added some desk lamps and used a fair amount of haze on set… In fact, a little more about the look: During prep, I created master visual bible for the evolution of the series, which will ultimately span three decades, and laid out an evolution in the visual design of the show. The 1970s would use Warm White tubes and Sodium Vapor streetlights outside, as well as heavy use of atmosphere from cigarette smoke. We also had custom 92mm screw-on 1/2 Low Con filters from @tiffencompany made for the @cwsonderoptic Leica Summilux-C lenses to be used throughout the first season… The 1980s in future seasons would see a progression toward Cool White fluorescents, Mercury Vapor streetlights and losing the low cons. The 1990s, would switch to color corrected fluorescents (no green) and neutral street lighting. Resolution and gamma may also evolve as the show progresses… w/ @camgrip @mtnbikethis @alex_w_scott @murnorama @reddigitalcinema. . #mindhunter #davidfincher #reddigitalcinema #redxenomorph cameras
Here's another behind the scenes pic from the set of Mindhunter @netflix. This was one our fabulous sets constructed by production designer Steve Arnold on our "tin shed" stages in Pittsburgh. Shepherd's office had the wall located behind his desk built with an invisible track that could raise the wall up, allowing us to get this angle behind the often flabbergasted FBI chief. Outside the windows we had large greenscreens, but in instances where we didn't see the green, I opted to wheel in day-blue frames to provide a more natural color temp coming in through the windows… and do note that daylight often has two components, direct sunlight and sky… you can see this effect play on the vertical blinds… effectively creating the feel of exterior light MUST take all of these ides into account. . #mindhunter #davidfincher #netflix #cinematography #reddigitalcinema
This scene from Mindhunter doesn’t appear in season one in this particular environment. Though I quite liked the visual tone of the bar scene, Fincher ultimately decided that we reshoot it in a parking lot (blasphemy, I know) where the characters miss their flight and are stuck in California longer (so Holden decides to see Ed Kemper @cameronbrittonh.) David’s process often involves evaluating his work and having the option to change direction with it if needed. I was sad to see this one hit the cutting room floor. Shot on Red Weapon (Xenomorph) camera’s and Leica Summilux-C lenses. w/ @holtmccallany @alex_w_scott @camgrip, @mtnbikethis @reddigitalcinema @cwsonderoptic. . #davidfincher #mindhunter #netflix #reddigitalcinema #redweapon
Director David Fincher is known for subjecting his actors to a lot of takes… this scene from Episode One was the most takes we shot during my tenure on the show. The shot in question was a long walk-and-talk between Holden @jonathangroff and his boss Shepherd. The shot begins in a FBI instruction room, pans to our characters on-looking from a hallway, and then they turn and walk through several corridors in the FBI headquarters. It’s well known that David doesn’t like Steadicams and despises a lack of stability and symmetry, therefore we shot this on a free-wheeling Chapman PeeWee dolly (he also hates bulky equipment) pulled backwards by our intrepid A-camera dolly grip Dwayne Barr @camgrip. The floor of our FBI sets were low carpet, so there was a fair amount of drag on the wheels causing resistance AND vibration, so we put a vibration isolator (basically a spring-mounted Mitchell plate) below the fluid head and Dwayne just had to steer and muscle it. I operated A camera on the show so I was riding the dolly and keeping a feather touch on the head to not transfer my own vibrations back into the camera that was been smoothed out to a degree by the shock-absorbing springs. I think we went for 3 more takes after I shot this slate. Fortunately, Dwayne got a weekend break after we completed this scene, he needed it. w/ @alex_w_scott @mtnbikethis I @reddigitalcinema. . #mindhunter #davidfincher #netflix #reddigitalcinema
Asif Kapadia, director of episodes 3 and 4, with Erik Messerschmidt on the Mindhunter set.
Director David Fincher drove an era-defining aesthetic using the highest-end equipment. Definition spoke to cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt to find out how it influenced the huge Netflix hit, Mindhunter.
Thanks to Joe Frady
Academy Award®-winning Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Barba joined Industrial Light & Magic’s Vancouver studio as Creative Director in 2016 (Industrial Light & Magic)
There is a bit of an update as they’ve hired a Visual Effects Supervisor. Oscar-winner Eric Barba, who is best known for his work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Tron: Legacy and Oblivion has joined the film. His other work for David Fincher includes Zodiac, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl.