What David Fincher Doesn’t Do

by Barry AnderssonLeave a Comment

Any time I come across any articles or videos on the art of telling stories with video I like to share those on to you.  This is one of the better ones I have found.

This is an unbelievable video detailing some of the directorial tricks and techniques that David Fincher used in a few of his movies. Tony Zhou created this informative video and does a nice job of breaking down the art that really happens when a true artist is at work.  Even if you have seen these movies in the past you will see them in a whole new light the next time around.

So what doesn't Fincher do?
– Almost never does handheld camera shots. Almost never.
The most he ever used handheld shots was in the movie Se7en and he only did a total of 5 handheld shots in the entire movie.

– Moves the camera with purpose.
He doesn't add “mistakes” or try to make the camera feel like it was operated by a person. He instead views the camera as omniscient to everything that is going on in the film. He loves to move the camera from point A to point B perfectly and without any personality.

– Rarely goes in for a close up.
The audience inherently knows that if you cut to a close up that it is really important. Fincher doesn't believe you should overuse close ups. If you watch his films in order you will notice the better he gets at directing the less he uses closeups. By doing this he withholds the power for the important shots because he doesn't overuse elsewhere. It is by restraining the use of them that makes them more powerful.

– Tries never to move the camera.
This is a departure from the current trend of “shaky cam” such as the Bourne franchise.  This is even a world away from Spielberg's masterful use of camera movement in his films. Fincher wants to frame the shot with as wide a lens as possible and in as “unloaded” a way as possible. He just wants to show what the character sees and not add anything more.

With these restrictions you might wonder if it is possible to create cinematic images.  Every director has to at some point put two people in a room talking. Not very cinematic and this is the part where most people get lazy.  So can Fincher make a scene of just people talking cinematic? After watching this clip you won't say that his movies are any less cinematic than another directors that choose more camera movement. What he does is amazing to watch and can really help you improve your craft. Don't believe me?

I challenge you to watch the scene they highlight in this video from the movie “Se7en.” Tell me that isn't one of the more impressive things you have seen lately.

Happy shooting!

David Fincher – And the Other Way is Wrong

Via Vimeo Description:

For sheer directorial craft, there are few people working today who can match David Fincher. And yet he describes his own process as “not what I do, but what I don’t do.” Join me today in answering the question: What does David Fincher not do?

For educational purposes only.

You can support the channel at patreon.com/everyframeapainting

And you can follow me at twitter.com/tonyszhou

[source: digg]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Barry Andersson

Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. Mr Andersson takes his real world experiences and shares those images and lessons with everyone from the US Marine Corp combat camera teams, many of the leading teams of the four major sports leagues, leading universities around the US as well as leading productions looking to take advantage of the latest technology.

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