Behind the Scenes of Mindhunter with Christopher Probst, ASC

Christopher Probst, ASC (Instagram)

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

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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

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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

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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

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Thought Police

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.

Julian Mitchell, Editor
January 2018
Definition (Bright Publishing)

Thanks to Joe Frady

David Fincher Enlists ‘Tron: Legacy’ VFX Supervisor For ‘World War Z’ Sequel

Academy Award®-winning Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Barba joined Industrial Light & Magic’s Vancouver studio as Creative Director in 2016 (Industrial Light & Magic)

Christopher Marc
December 12, 2017
Omega Underground

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.

Read the full article

Conversations with Jonathan Groff of MINDHUNTER

SAG-AFTRA Foundation (YouTube)
December 4, 2017

Q&A with Jonathan Groff of MINDHUNTER.

How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks? In MINDHUNTER, FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) study the damaged psyches of serial killers in an attempt to understand and catch them, and in the process pioneer the development of modern serial killer profiling. The series launched globally October 13 on Netflix.

ART OF THE CUT. On editing Mindhunter with Kirk Baxter, ACE and Tyler Nelson

Premiere Pro Screenshot of Mindhunter Episode 1

Steve Hullfish
December 21, 2017
ProVideo Coalition

Mindhunter is one of those binge-able shows that has people talking. I spent a few days last summer at the Fincher production facility in LA where the show is cut and met one of the show’s editors, Tyler Nelson. One of the other editors on the series is Oscar-winner, Kirk Baxter, ACE, whom I interviewed previously for his work on Gone Girl. Both Gone Girl and Mindhunter were edited in Premiere Pro. (I was not able to talk to the third editor on the series, Byron Smith, who also cut the Netflix series, Altered Carbon.)

Kirk’s filmography includes numerous collaborations with director David Fincher. He was the additional editor on Zodiac. He also edited Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. He won back to back Oscars for Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He also cut episodes of Fincher’s House of Cards.

Tyler Nelson recently cut the feature Rememory, and was the assistant editor on Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He was also an assistant editor on House of Cards and The Good Wife.

This installment of Art of the Cut is a little different. I spoke to Kirk and Tyler separately about specific episodes of Mindhunter. Kirk spoke only about his work on Episode 10, the season finale. Tyler talked about several episodes that he cut from earlier in the season, so we’ll start with Tyler’s interview and then move to Kirk’s.

The series is available on Netflix and it may be useful to check out Episode 2, 3 and 10 prior to the interview… or cue them up as you’re reading! The series has been renewed for season 2.

Read the full interview

Nev Pierce’s Next Steps

2004 Nev Pierce - Cannes
Cannes, 2004

Nev Pierce, one of the finest British film journalists, with a career of 20 years, and now a thriving Filmmaker, has revamped his website, NevPierce.com.

A nice occasion to revisit it, read his interviews to A-list actors and filmmakers, specially the essential David Fincher set visits and career interviews for Total Film and Empire magazines, from Zodiac to Mindhunter, plus a retrospective piece on Fight Club (all fully available in PDF), watch the trailers for his short films, praised by Fincher and Mark Romanek themselves, and rejoice at the announcement that he is co-writing a TV series and developing the thriller Packaged, as co-writer and director, with executive producer… David Fincher.

2015 Bricks (Nev Pierce)1.jpg
Bricks (Short Film, 2015)