David Fincher Archives - Blog
David Fincher is known for his creative and visually ground-breaking title sequences.
From the frenetic and kinetic jagged cuts of SE7EN to the CGI extravaganza of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO to the North by Northwest inspired large static font in PANIC ROOM.
The Title Sequence is a chance for the filmmaker to set the tone and prepare the audience for the world they are about to enter.
In Fincher’s new NETFLIX show MINDHUNTER…the use of subliminal edits is used to cue the viewers to the violent world of serial killers.
AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH
Analyzing the average shot length (ASL) of films / TV / music videos can be very telling or completely irrelevant. Taken as its own metric…it is just a number. The supposition that action / thriller / sci-fi films genres have a shorter ASL is statistically accurate but that does not mean a longer ASL means less tension, action, drama or intensity. I have been deep-diving into ASL statistics for several years and shared a lot of SHAREABLES to help filmmakers and cinephiles further comprehend the mystery behind the numbers.
David Fincher is a precise and peerless filmmaker that accepts nothing short of perfection. On the spectrum of ASL as attributed to directors…he falls on the quicker end. Fincher’s average ASL for feature films can be calculated at 3.87 seconds. No matter what the number and how it compares with other filmmakers…his films never feel rushed. In my opinion, they bloom and play out at a sublime pace that suits each individual film. The amount of craft and care that goes on behind the scenes (and never seen by the audience) is second to none. I’ve been lucky to see the process first hand and helped create the post production workflow for GONE GIRL as his team made the transition to Adobe Premiere Pro from Final Cut 7.
Stephen Follows has an amazing article that further breaks down ASL by genre and number of shots to further delve into the analytics. Here’s a sneak peak at the ASL Genre Breakdown but please visit his site for the full story.
THE FINCHER NUMBERS
Back to David Fincher, it’s important to note that his films I’ve documented have a higher number of average shots than most films. Combining all genres the average feature film has approximately 1200 individual shots. By importing a full-length feature film into Davinci Resolve and using the Scene Detection function…I have been able to automatically recreate all the separate edits in an entire film. I then removed any edits that were created in dissolves or scenes with flashes that would add false edits to the final count. Here are my results.
Click on the images to enlarge to full 8K high resolution:
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – 3.2 AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH
GONE GIRL – 3.7 AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH
Until next time…
With the release of GONE GIRL this weekend, many filmmakers and film fans want to learn more about David Fincher and his filmmaking style. His precision, artistry and impeccable style of storytelling is the result of decades of fine-tuning the filmmaking craft. He started his career at Industrial LIght and Magic (ILM) in 1983 and worked on Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Enjoy my 1-Page Film School on PANIC ROOM.
David Fincher‘s wonderful House of Cards is very dark. Dark in content, dark in tone and especially dark in visual aesthetics. Characters are shrouded in low light levels even in direct sunlight. It’s ominous, dread inducing and spectacular. It also bucks the trend of high contrast, blue/teal blockbuster looks that have been almost unavoidable in Films and TV for the last 10 years.
I recently completed a color grade on Zombie Night, a feature film starring Darryl Hannah and Anthony Michael Hall in which I applied a similar look that emphasized a darker feel with reduced highlights and color casts to set the tone. Here are some examples from Mr. Fincher’s last 3 films that showcase this look…and a color palette board from the film I just graded.