Behind-the-scenes of “Bad Travelling”

Love Death & Robots’ “Bad Travelling” gave Blur Studio a chance to work alongside legendary director David Fincher. Find out what they learned in the process.

Henry Winchester
August 2, 2022
chaos

Cinema is often referred to as painting with light — but it could be said that David Fincher’s movies paint with darkness. Beginning with Alien 3, and moving on through Se7enFight ClubZodiacMank, and the TV series Mindhunter, the acclaimed director has made use of low-key lighting and anemic palettes to explore the darker recesses of the human mind.

Now, Fincher has taken his characteristic chiaroscuro to “Bad Travelling,” a grisly maritime adventure involving a dishonest, paranoid crew — and a giant crustacean lurking below decks. The Love, Death & Robots episode marks Fincher’s first completely computer-animated short film, as well as his first directorial contribution to the Netflix anthology series he executive produces alongside fellow director Tim Miller.

To create the nautical world of “Bad Travelling,” Fincher teamed up with Blur Studio, the animation and VFX production company founded by Miller. We spoke to Compositing Supervisor Nitant Ashok Karnik and Co-CG Supervisor Jean Baptiste Cambier about working with a living legend of modern cinema, and how V-Ray’s lighting tools helped Fincher embrace the darkness.

Read the full interview in two parts:

Behind-the-scenes of “Bad Travelling,” part 1: Collaborating with David Fincher

Behind-the-scenes of “Bad Travelling,” part 2: How to light like David Fincher

‘Love, Death + Robots’ Season 3: David Fincher Gets Animated for the First Time on ‘Bad Travelling’

The animators tell IndieWire what it was like collaborating with Fincher on the mo-cap character animation and giant, slimy crab.

Bill Desowitz
June 9, 2022
IndieWire

It’s easy to see why David Fincher chose “Bad Travelling” as his first foray into directing animation. He made his feature debut with the ill-fated “Alien 3,” after all, and the premise of this third-season episode of “Love, Death + Robots” is a bit like setting the plight of the Nostromo on the high seas: A giant, slimy crab devours the crew of a shark-hunting vessel, with only the cunning navigator surviving to battle the beast. (It also makes up for Fincher’s aborted take on “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” at Disney.)

Fincher also likens “Bad Travelling” to “Ten Little Indians” meets “Deadliest Catch,” with the ship’s navigator, Torrin (Troy Baker), contending with mutiny, betrayal, and a starving Thanapod crustacean that bizarrely communicates through ventriloquism.

“You don’t necessarily want to see them come to unnatural ends,” Fincher said about the crew in the production notes. “The idea was not to make them despicable, but self-serving. That’s the thing I always loved about Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto in ‘Alien’….”

Read the full profile

Pixel Perfection

Jarred Land / RED Digital Cinema

Adrian Pennington
April 2022
British Cinematographer

Jarred Land has spent his career in close collaboration and connection with filmmakers, supporting the execution of their vision with powerful and ground-breaking tools.

Jarred Land runs RED Digital Cinema, the company whose 4K camera went from scepticism to admiration on a run of prestige movies like David Fincher’s Oscar-winning Mank and series like The Queen’s Gambit. Since 2013, Land has led a team focused on precedent-setting technology for filmmakers.

Land didn’t found RED but joined Jim Jannard before the launch of the first camera and during the hardcore, technology banging sleepless nights part of the story, where a small group failed, learned, succeeded. From the first conversation Land had with Jannard and still today, the focus is on providing a more complete tool for filmmakers.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, Land’s father ran gas stations and shopping malls, imbuing in him an entrepreneurial spirit. The teenage Land’s passion was mountain biking which he segued into his own bike courier company in Vancouver.

A chance encounter with a client inspired him to take up videography using the Panasonic tape camcorder DVX100. “I couldn’t go to film school because I was running my company and biking 100km a day, so I set up a bulletin board for help,” he says.

Read the full profile

Frame & Reference Podcast: “Being the Ricardos” DP Jeff Cronenweth, ASC

Kenny McMillan (Twitter, Instagram)
April 7, 2022
ProVideo Coalition, Frame & Reference (Twitter, Instagram)

Frame & Reference is a conversation between Cinematographers hosted by Kenny McMillan of OWL BOT. Each episode dives into the respective DP’s current and past work, as well as what influences and inspires them. These discussions are an entertaining and informative look into the world making films through the lens of the people who shoot them.

In this episode, Kenny talks with legendary cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC about the Oscar Nominated film “Being the Ricardos.” You likely know Jeff from his work on films such as “Fight Club“, “Gone Girl“, “The Social Network” & “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Frame & Reference is supported by:

  • Filmtools, the West Coast’s leading supplier of film equipment. From cameras and lights to grip and expendables, Filmtools has you covered for all your film gear needs.
  • ProVideo Coalition, a top news and reviews site focusing on all things production and post coming out of the industry.

Listen to the podcast:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Spotify
YouTube

Literally! With Rob Lowe: Steven Soderbergh

Rob Lowe
February 10, 2022
Literally! With Rob Lowe (Team Coco)

It’s Showtime! When Steven Soderbergh joins Rob, the two friends get to ask the questions they’ve never asked one another. In this episode find out about Steven’s new film Kimi, and how he thinks Sex, Lies, and Videotape now feels like a Jane Austen novel.

Listen to the podcast:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Spotify
Stitcher

‘Zodiac’ Turns 15: Behind-the-Scenes Facts You Didn’t Know About the David Fincher Movie

David Fincher’s legendary attention to detail on the serial killer film inspired plenty of on-set drama.

Christian Zilko
March 03, 2022
IndieWire

This week marks 15 years since “Zodiac” was released in theaters, and save for the actors looking 15 years younger than they do now, the film still feels like it could be released today. If anything, “Zodiac” feels more like a product of 2022 than 2007. The country is more obsessed with serial killers than ever before, with true crime podcasts and documentaries continuing to draw massive ratings, Zodiac killer memes being used in presidential primaries, and the latest Batman movie taking the form of a serial killer drama.

That makes it a great time to revisit “Zodiac,” as well as a good opportunity to take a deep dive into the making of the film. “Zodiac” attracted as much attention for its painstaking production process as it did for the finished product, as the always detail-oriented David Fincher went above and beyond to make sure everything in his film was historically accurate. Sometimes his methodical process hurt his relationships with the cast, but one thing is for certain: They made a great movie.

Read the 15 facts about the making of “Zodiac” that you may not have known.

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC: An Adventurous Eye

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC on the set of his most recent feature, Being the Ricardos.

The cinematographer’s career exemplifies how talent, versatility​, opportunity and collaboration can combine to result in bold camerawork.

Jon Silberg
February 25, 2022
American Cinematographer

Directors who have worked with Jeff Cronenweth, ASC observe that he is quiet, centered, and possesses a very dry sense of humor. Working in an eclectic mix of genres and styles, he quickly zeroes in on central concepts, often exceeding expectations with the results. His career as a feature cinematographer began auspiciously with David Fincher’s eye-popping Fight Club (AC Nov. ’99), and his filmography since then includes The Social Network (AC Oct. ’10), Gone Girl (AC Nov. ’14), One Hour Photo (AC Aug. ’02) and the Amazon miniseries Tales From the Loop (AC April ’20). Cronenweth has also shot stylistically bold, groundbreaking music videos for David Bowie, Taylor Swift, Janet JacksonNine Inch Nails and many other top artists.

Jeff with his father, Jordan Cronenweth, ASC.

It wouldn’t be at all hyperbolic to say Cronenweth was born into filmmaking. His great-grandfather owned and operated a photographic-equipment store in Wilkinsburg, Pa.; his grandfather Edward worked as a portrait photographer for Hollywood studios during the peak of that unique specialty, earning an Academy Award for his work; his grandmother Rosita was a Busby Berkeley dancer; and his father, renowned ASC member Jordan Cronenweth, served as director of photography on Blade Runner (AC July ’82), Peggy Sue Got Married (AC April ’87), Altered States (AC March ’81), Gardens of Stone (AC May ’87), and many classic music videos for leading artists of the 1980s and ’90s. 

Taking this lineage a step further, Jeff Cronenweth has also collaborated with his brother Tim, a successful commercial director, on more than 500 spots.

“A storyteller doesn’t want to tell the same story over and over, and I don’t want to, either. I always want to find something new and challenging to work on.”
— Jeff Cronenweth, ASC

Read the full profile

Jeff Cronenweth: The Cinematography of Fight Club

Cooke Optics TV (YouTube)

Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth talks to Cooke Optics TV about working on the iconic 90’s movie Fight Club. A long-time collaborator with director David Fincher, Cronenweth reflects on how they work together, giving insight into how some of the most recognisable scenes were shot, and revealing a surprising inspiration for the look of the movie, a Prada fashion campaign.

Glen Luchford – Prada 96-98 (Idea, Second Edition)

Thank you to the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC).

Filmed with a Sony FS5 and Cooke Mini S4/i Lenses.

Produced by ImageNova.

Email danny.haikin@cookeoptics.com for enquires or leave a comment!

Follow Cooke Optics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.

Follow Jeff Cronenweth, ASC Archives on Twitter.

Red Carpet Rookies: Jeff Cronenweth. Cinematographer

Mike Battle
January 31, 2022
Red Carpet Rookies

In this episode, we’re joined by one of the world’s greatest Cinematographers, Jeff Cronenweth. Born into the film business, he grafted his way through the rungs of the camera department and music video scene of the 1990s, until he got the call from David Fincher to take the reins of Fight Club. From there it’s been a run of legendary movies including, One Hour Photo and Gone Girl, as well as The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo both of which he picked up Oscar nominations.

What you’ll learn from Jeff:

  • Jeff’s opinion on whether film school is still necessary
  • Whether music videos are still useful starting grounds for DPs
  • How Jeff get imposter syndrome on Fight Club
  • What it’s like to work with Aaron Sorkin
  • How does the DP Director relationship work
  • Jeff’s opinion on the film fanboys that constantly copy the ‘Fincher/Cronwneth aesthetic!’
  • Whether Jeff has taught David Fincher anything
  • What a day of prep is like for Fincher and Jeff

And of course in our quick-fire: Jeff’s no 1 piece of advice, favourite film, book to read, person to work with, and more.

Listen to the podcast:

Red Carpet Rookies (with a transcript)
Apple Podcast
Spotify
Google Podcasts

Follow Red Carpet Rookies: InstagramFacebookTwitter

Follow Mike: Instagram, Twitter

FilmLight Colour Awards: Eric Weidt with ‘Mank’

An interview with the winner for best colour grading in Theatrical Feature 2021

February 3, 2022
FilmLight

Presenting the winners of the FilmLight Colour Awards 2021.

Winner, Theatrical Feature: Eric Weidt, for ‘Mank

The award for the grading of a theatrical feature went to Eric Weidt, who worked with DoP Erik Messerschmidt on ‘Mank’. Shot on an 8K RED camera, the movie is striking for its 30s Hollywood look combined with the crystal-sharp resolution.

Weidt also talks about his projects with Fincher for 2022.

Watch the video on YouTube