In this episode, we talk with director David Fincher’s favorite colorist Eric Weidt about the art and craft of color grading.
Eric has an incredible list of credits that includes Mank and Mindhunter. His works on these projects extend far beyond traditional tasks of color grading, incorporating complex look modeling and incredibly detailed adjustments on virtually every frame.
The techniques and insights he shares in this episode are unique and includes topics such as how to sculpt the viewers experience with textural and spatial tools, the lens treatment techniques used on Mindhunter, the process and swan curve treatment behind the day-for-night shots on Mank, advanced grain work and so much more.
This episode is sponsored by Pixelview, an industry standard and affordable streaming solution for editors and colorists.
00:00:00: Introduction 00:06:41: Conversation with Victoria Alonso, EVP, Production at Marvel Studios 00:22:51: Conversation with Peter Mavromates, Co-Producer of Mank 00:36:18: Conversation with Aaron Lovell, SVP of Post Production at Boardwalk Pictures 00:45:49: Conversation with Florian Schneider, Producer of Freaks: You’re One of Us, Stephan Kuch, Colorist at PANOPTIMO, Andreas Rudroff, Sound Mixer at Orange Sound Studio 00:58:31: Conversation with Jessie Schroeder, VP, Post Production at Pixar Animation Studios and Kori Rae, Producer at Pixar Animation Studios
Thanks to all of those that joined Dolby and our special industry guests as we discussed the evolution of entertainment and explored how world-renowned content creators are using Dolby technologies to expand their creative palette and empower immersive storytelling.
This PGA members-only event was the first in a series of events designed to both inspire and educate producers in film, television, and new media to create future-forward, immersive experiences in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. We hope those who attended the live event found it valuable. For those who were unable to attend or would like to see it again we have provided a recording of the event.
Mank could have easily been a parody of old school Hollywood, but Erik Messerschmidt and David Fincher weren’t going to let that happen. They went for broke on thoroughly reproduced sets, meticulous lighting, smoke filled offices, energetic conversations, and characters that breathe.
Once Mank opens its first scene, the scenery and intelligent dialogue make it hard to look away. As much as I thought I knew about San Simeon, having grown up ten minutes away from Hearst Castle, it was exciting to look into the bygone era when this California location was a lively hotbed of social chemistry, and parties, and movie creation, rather than just a stale museum where no one can touch the furniture.
When preparing to speak with Erik Messerschmidt, I would almost get lost working back through the layers of filmmakers contributing to this story. Mank pays homage to the legend Gregg Toland’s game-changing eye for cinematography. The dynamism between Toland, Orson Welles and the writer Herman J. Mankiewicz would be recrafted 80 years later by this modern team of David Fincher and Erik Messerschmidt, with Jack Fincher writing the screenplay.
In mid April 2021 Erik Messerschmidt took the ASC Award for Outstanding Cinematography, and then in May, deservedly, the Best Achievement in Cinematography Oscar for his lensing of the period piece Mank.
Despite his youthful appearance, Erik’s film career has already spanned decades, working his way up through the ranks as a grip, an electrician, and a number of years as a gaffer. Some of his gaffer work included Gone Girl, as well as DP on Mindhunter, with Fincher, further developing that relationship till the day when David asked Erik if he wanted to shoot this next project, Mank, and Erik said “Of course I want to shoot the movie!”
Mank, Erik’s first cinematography role outside of television, his first movie as DP, has won multiple awards this year. What kind of heavenly dream must that be for any cinematographer? Who hits a grand slam at their first baseball game?
FilmLight hosts a discussion with the talents who have contributed to the stories that are entertaining us the most. Four prestigious colourists from Los Angeles, London and Cape Town present their outstanding work and share their artistic journey.
Discover amazing projects, including provocative comedy thriller ‘Promising Young Woman’, the Netflix original documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’, multi-nominated biographical drama ‘Mank’ from David Fincher and the superb coming of age drama ‘Rocks’.
Guest colourists: Kyle Stroebel (Refinery); Katie Jordan (Light Iron); Jateen Patel (Molinare); and Eric Weidt.
Eric Weidt spent years in Paris working with fashion photographers transitioning from traditional film to digital capture workflows. He created custom film-emulation ICC profiles, and mastered color work and compositing techniques for print stills and fashion films.
Clients included Mario Testino, David Sims, Patrick Demarchelier, Mert Alas and Markus Piggot, Steven Meisel, Hedi Slimane, Karl Lagerfeld. His motion picture work for David Fincher includes responsibilies as VFX artist (Gone Girl), and Digital Intermediate Colorist (Videosyncracy and Mindhunter).
He holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz and is both an American and French citizen.
Director of Photography Erik Messerschmidt received the statuette at the Academy Awards for his work on Mank.
He had already won the American Society of Cinematographers’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Feature Film, and the Satellite Award.
The other nominees were Joshua James Richards (Nomadland), Dariusz Wolski (News of the World), Sean Bobbitt (Judas and the Black Messiah), and Phedon Papamichael (The Trial of the Chicago 7).
Mank was nominated in 10 categories: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound and Original Score. Production Designer Donald Graham Burt and Set Decorator Jan Pascale also won in the category of Best Production Design.
Erik’s acceptance speech:
“Wow! I wish I could cut this into five pieces because it’s such an honor to be nominated amongst all of you. It’s an incredible honor. David, thank you for creating an environment where we could do our best work. I got to go home and feel like I gave it my all, every night (David Fincher: ‘You did’). Ceán [Chaffin], thank you for the endless support. Eric Roth, thank you for the guidance. Amanda, Gary, what a privilege and a joy to watch you work. The entire cast, thank you for hitting your marks. It mattered! This really belongs to an extraordinary crew who I could not do anything without: Brian, Will, Alex, Dave, Gary, Dwayne, Danny, Jerry, and all of your team. You make my job easy. Thank you. And thank you to my beautiful wife, Naiara, who tolerates this crazy business and helped me get through this movie. So thank you so much. Thank you.”
MANK’s Thank You Cam Speech: Production Design
Erik Messerschmidt Backstage Interview
Erik Messerschmidt ‘Oscars: After Dark’ Winner Interview
Heading into Oscar weekend, Mank cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, a first-time nominee and ASC winner, is already deep into his next project. The Emerson College grad earned his chops as a best boy and gaffer before moving into cinematography full-time.
He spoke with No Film School via phone about working on one of this year’s biggest films.
It was the series Mindhunter where Messerschmidt teamed with director David Fincher, pushing the boundaries of digital workflows. With Mank, audiences are taken back in time to the 1930s as the story follows how Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) finishes the screenplay for Orson Welles in a gripping biographical drama.
Hear from Cinematographer Erik MesserschmidtASC, Colorist Eric Weidt, and Co-Producer Peter Mavromates as they share their insights and experiences creating the stunning visuals for David Fincher’s Oscar nominated movie Mank in Dolby Vision HDR. This session provides insights into their methodology and workflow for creating this stunning black-and-white Hollywood epic Netflix movie.
Hosted by Turner Classic Movie’s Ben Mankiewicz, this year’s ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography celebrated spectacular imagery, masters of the craft, and the ways in which the industry has adapted in the wake of Covid-19.
One such way that was recognized, celebrated and even employed to produce the awards show was virtual production. Cinematography’s biggest night, which typically takes place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland complex, was instead held in the virtual space on Sunday, April 18, with special live moments captured at the historic ASC Clubhouse. This marked the first time in the show’s history that it was livestreamed to a global audience.
The event kicked off with a performance from the show’s live orchestra while a reel played, showcasing the indelible cinematography captured by ASC members — as well as some of this year’s honorees and nominees. Mankiewicz and ASC Awards Chair Dana Gonzales, ASC then welcomed nominees, guests, sponsors and audience members.