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