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Jeff Cronenweth Talks His Career, the Digital Revolution, and 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

04.27.12 @ 12:17PM Tags : , , , ,

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, has worked on a number of big Hollywood films, notably Fight Club, The Social Network, and more recently The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – which we’ve talked about here before because of its interesting post workflow. Besides feature films, Cronenweth has also shot and directed quite a few music videos and commercials – which is where his collaborator David Fincher also got his start. He shares insights about digital filmmaking and his working relationship with notoriously take-heavy Fincher in this four-part Oscar Q&A provided by Creatasphere.

This talk is split up into four parts, but only the first part is embedded. You’ll have to go to Creatasphere’s website to see the other three parts. Here is part one:

Cronenweth seems as detail-oriented as Fincher, and it’s interesting to hear his approach to shooting because he’s such an accomplished cinematographer. Cronenweth takes a very reasonable stance on the digital vs. film argument, and finds that there is plenty he can do with digital that he can’t do with film, but in the end, there are certain things that film can do that digital can’t, and vice versa. He goes on to say that he’s more worried about the shadows with film, and more worried about highlights with digital, but both of them have their place – and it’s important to find the right medium that fits the story. Unfortunately that’s going to be getting tougher and tougher as film is being phased out, but each digital camera seems to have its own look.

Cronenweth was fond of the results he was able to get with the RED One MX and the RED Epic. Both of those cameras performed flawlessly, losing only a few frames through the entire 160 day production – which included many days of negative temperatures in Sweden. A particularly staggering statistic is the fact that they shot the equivalent of 2 million feet of film on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. As I have mentioned before, these types of numbers will become more commonplace, but it’s important to remember that there is a penalty on the back-end for shooting too much footage. The entire talk is right around 45 minutes, and Cronenweth also goes into detail about how he approached lighting specific scenes on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Link: Visions of Oscar with Jeff Cronenweth, ASC – Creatasphere


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  • He’s easily one of my top 3 DP’s. Thanks for sharing!

  • Fantastic link! Thanks Koo!

    Scarlet-x rentals in LA, SF.

    • Would this count as Link Spamming? Mostly Irrelevant Post (It’s not even by Koo!) followed by such a comment as Scarlet Rentals. That’s one company I won’t rent from.

  • I look forward to playing this– here’s hoping he talks about the C500.

  • Does anyone know anymore information about this “PICS” system Cronenweth mentions? It Sounds handy, but I haven’t been able to find any relevant search results about it.

    • It is actually spelled “PIX” and I am not sure how available to the public it is. I have heard that many major studios use it and that it is a pretty well kept secret. I am currently using it for a collaborative project between UCSD & KMD (in Japan) and it allows us to upload, view, tag, and attach notes to our footage in a kind of cloud based system. It is particularly useful when working with a team that is in two places (San Diego and Japan) because we can view each others footage from any location as long as we have the software installed on the computer. Surprisingly, it is a fairly primitive software in terms of functionality and workflow but as we work with the software we are giving them feedback about places for improvement. Being a forward thinking company, they are working on implementing some of those changes so it could become a very useful took for collaborative projects in the future. Here is a link to their sight

  • Man, that lapel noise drove me nuts! I can’t believe he never moved his nametag. Nice talk though.

  • A few months old, but never the less, interesting talk from Michael Cioni of Light Iron about the 4K workflow and their work on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

    Also, if you have the blu-ray, then the visual effects reel is amazing fun to watch, if not then take a gander here:

  • konstantinos on 04.28.12 @ 6:57AM

    What does take heavy mean?

    • Take-heavy meaning he does many takes per scene for each shot. Fincher notoriously does as many takes as he feels he needs to get a particular shot or piece of dialogue right, and sometimes these can run into triple digits.

      • konstantinos on 04.28.12 @ 7:35AM

        Thank you for the explanation.I do know that about Fincher but I ‘ve never heard of that particular expression before.For some reason,it seemed to me,that you were referring to his behaviour.I’m obviously not a native speaker.

  • Loved that you liked the Jeff Cronenweth, ASC talk. We do these at all of our Entertainment Technology Expo. Wally Pfister, ASC, Roger Deakins,ASC have all spoken… Next one November 7-8 and reg (free) opens end of the month. More info:

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