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How David Fincher Hijacks Your Eyes

How David Fincher Hijacks Your Eyes

why is david fincher in my head I was thinking about this a lot while watching his new Netflix series mind hunter I’d watch an episode or two go to the kitchen to get a drink and everything would look Fincher esque like my eyes were mimicking his camera movement somehow first I was creeped out then I was impressed and then it was curious what about his filmmaking causes this effect because there are plenty of other amazing stylistic directors whose visual styles don’t hijack your senses like Fincher does and it’s the same with all his movies and TV shows I checked I went back through all of them to see if I could locate the source of this quality and I think I found it here did you see that it’s a very small thing and it’s easy to miss but the more I watch Fincher’s work the more it stands out as a key element of his visual language what is it exactly well it’s a camera move in this case a tilt in this case a pan in this case a tracking shop and in this case all three these things are the most common tools in the filmmakers toolbox you can find them in pretty much any film you watch but Fincher has a very specific way of using them which falls in line with his reputation as a perfectionist essentially what he tries to do is have the camera exactly match the velocity and direction of the moving character in the frame when the character stops the camera stops – and starts again when the person starts to move again the matching movement here isn’t just close it’s perfect so perfect in fact that it must involve some kind of time to her cyl with the actors which I learned when I tried to do it myself earlier this is no doubt a part of the reason why Fincher is known for doing so many takes it takes patience and a good camera operator to get these moves exactly right and they’re happening all the time everywhere in little shots in-between shots shots you notice and shots you don’t and whether they register or not the effect starts to accumulate in your mind all the sudden Fincher’s reality is your reality now I think there’s a very good reason why this happens and it’s a bit counterintuitive when you consider that Fincher’s camerawork is often regarded as impersonal or cold Nishan even by fincher himself I think that’s somewhat disingenuous because what these shots do is effectively lock you in to the behavior of the characters you really feel it when someone moves around the space that they’re in even small gestures like a shrug or deflated shoulders even the slightest change in posture is registered by this camera in this way I think Pinterest intimate ography is a lot more personal than even he makes out it might happen just below the level of consciousness but a much more in sync with this character than I am with for example this character it’s funny Fincher’s actors have to move in these very deliberate lines at steady speeds probably ironed out by rehearsal but the result at least for me is a greater connection to the character than something that is more freeform less exact and it’s no surprise that Fincher would pay attention to details like this listen to the advice he gave Robin right when she directed her first episode of house of cards every scene you direct every scene you act in it’s the same thing what’s that he said behavior over time it’s a fraction so behavior is the most important thing of every piece of material that you read that you perform in and you direct look at the behavior David Fincher is obsessed with behavior he knows that the way a person moves is a key part of who they are and what they won he knows that if a person is running and the camera follows that running exactly then it’s like the audience is running too he knows that the truth of exasperation is in the speed someone lurches forward he knows that fear can express itself in exactly how slow someone stands up or that when a person floats back in astonishment the camera should float with them it’s not a coincidence that emotion has the word motion in it emotions express themselves physically what Fincher does is put his camera in lockstep with the body to capture that physicality and as a result we developed this almost unconscious connection with his characters but the trick works almost too well you start to notice behavior and movement in the real world but in the way that Fincher stages them deliberate steady and precise for a little while at least david fincher hijacks your eyes hey everybody thank you so much for watching my video on Fincher if you want to learn more about him I definitely recommend watching my friend Tony’s video on what he doesn’t do in his movies which is super interesting also Captain Christian did something on the invisible digital effects inventor films I’ll link both of those below definitely watch those this episode of the nerd writer was brought to you by Squarespace if you want to make a website and you want it to be just a really easy process Squarespace has some beautiful award-winning 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100 thoughts on “How David Fincher Hijacks Your Eyes

  1. I had this same kind of weird feeling too after i watched Fight club. I kept thinking constantly in third person with Ed Norton's voice ahahHAh

  2. https://zodiacciphersdecoded.blogspot.com/hey film students , if you're into Zodiac   his best work (to stand up through time)view this

  3. So i came across a music video of MJ "Who is it" and thought wow who the hell made this video..searched it and boom..everything was clear

  4. I think a very Fincher'esk thing is as well the way he lights the background of a scene. in nearly every scene there is a light source in the background that makes it as bright as the foreground – or even brighter. That gives the image this typical Fincher atmospheric "glow". But what might actually be more important, it devides a shot into two parts: foreground and backround. So you can follow the main action (in the foreground) but are also supported with further carefully placed and well staged info and details about story, character, and so on…

  5. Holy shit! you just deciphered his specialty trait! i knew how specific his camera moves always were but you've literally hit the nail on the head with your explanation and and now i completely see it fully! thank you! great video!

  6. Why did Fincher compare behaviour with time though? I understand that emphasize the behavioural aspect of the characters through their motions, but what is that has anything to do with time?

  7. So hyped…

  8. So how is this diff from any other director/cinematographer? I feel like this is all film 101 (or do I need to re-watch?)

  9. Shooting a film right now and this is illuminating!!! Thank you… what a brilliant piece of observation. Quite brilliant. well done!!!

  10. People who watched Mindhunter should also watch the excellent movie Dog Day Afternoon. The movie they watch in the theater. Watch the movie and rate it so it gets back in IMBD top 250 like it deserves to be. I have only ever heard Cinefix mention it like twice out of all the movie based channels I watch. It deserves to be watched a hidden gem. It's one of Al Pacinos best performances.

  11. I really love directing but in busy in school and have no friends to cast with. And whenever we have a short film they dont have passion in it which makes it hard for me to also put passion, so i just go “as long as we pass” statement.

  12. Agree w you every step of the way. Often times I find better camera position chooses are missed and the scene takes a big dive, the emotion gets missed or is not what it could have been.
    Position, angle, beats, camera work go hand and hand.

  13. It’s this simple. Fincher films the way a your head would move while observing someone in reall time. If someone gets up from a table your eyes and head would follow that motion. He doesn’t film like there’s a stationary camera in a room that takes it all in at once. He films and focuses on the way your eyes do and how your head moves when observing.

  14. I feel like it's the same thing with people mirroring each other when they like each other. When Fincher mirrors the actor's movement with the camera, the viewer sympathizes with the character.
    Great analysis video!

  15. All these years of watching and rewatching his movies.. and I notice this for the very first time. Amazing ❤️

  16. Mindhunter series isn't directed entirely by Fincher. 4/10 episodes were directed by him in S1. And in upcoming S2 he has directed only 2/8 episodes. So please don't say like Mindhunter is his series. It's created by Joe Penhall and has a multi director approach for the series.

    So out total 18 episodes of S1 & S2, Fincher has directed 6 episodes.

    Btw I'm a huge fan of his work and started Mindhunter because of him only (thinking that the whole series is directed by him). David Lynch and David Fincher are two of my favourite directors 🖤

  17. wow
    I'll be watching his films differently from now on 'cause in the previous times, my attention basically focused more in the photography and plot (that's what usually caughts my eye), then camera work passed unnoticed by me

    I already respected his work, now even more

  18. I watched the first episode of Mindhunter just a couple nights ago just because I saw that Fincher is involved. It didn't hook me. Does it get better?

  19. Dear God. This is probably one of the most engaging videos in all of YouTube. I couldn’t take my eyes from the screen one second

  20. Behavior. Over. Time. Maybe that's B.O.T. as in robot. The camera follows and mimics your body movement like a robot. This sounds silly but I always thought of this after watching the Terminator films. Cameron trains the camera on Ahnuld the same exact way and I thought Fincher was ripping his style. I love it! There's some sublime work on this video. Great editing too.

  21. His background in directing music videos would explain why the camera always matches the character's movements.

  22. Finished first episode of Mindhunter season 2, Remembered this video in between the episode and laughed as I noticed the camera movements

  23. Wow! That's why I was so terrified when Ed Kemper of MindHunter stood up to Agent Ford.
    I was prepared to leap, but frozen in place.
    Dammit, I already binged Season 2.

    Thank you for the explanation.

  24. absolutely i have always felt that he has the best visual style out of any other director.. i'm always excited when I find out he's coming out with a new movie.. i was really dissapointed when he didn't follow up the girl with the dragon tattoo

  25. The same thing happened to me after i read dostojewskis crime and punishment because he describes the reactions of the characters in the dialogs in such detail so he creates the same effect. Just with words…crazy😂

  26. Dude, brilliant insight. Never noticed it until now and now will never forget. Watched Se7en again last night and am shocked at how entertaining it remains upon multiple viewings. The man is a genius and he's right, his audience is a bunch of "pervs".

  27. Fincher is a genius. I could re-watch his movies more than any other filmmaker. They’re so magnetic and engrossing, especially when he collaborates with Trent Reznor.

  28. Please your trying to sell a bunch of BS.Hoolywood rewards itself once a year and for most thats to much.Actors crap just like the rest of us.Ah you say but,but nothing I coud take a nobody and make him a movie star.Dont believe me how do you think most become stars.Jack lemmon said it best. He told in an interview one can have all the trining but if you dont get any luck along the way well your not a star.

  29. Regardless of camera work, Alien 3 sucked beyond anything. Singlehandely destroyed the franchise. He's overrated. He can't tell an original story. He can only tell an already established story, by a REAL WRITER, like his Afleck movie. Also, if you really want to know the secret of Fincher, is to silhouette the actors in to a black and white of the frame and black out the characters and leave a white background. Separate the foreground acting from the background. Then watch the scenes you've picked out. The reason he isolates behavior, which is really "motion" of the actors, over time is because director's job is to highlight time, shrink or expand it. He's the only one who controls that. So the same b&w silhouette done with no time stretch or stoppage, will not be as good. He knows that. But none of these things still makes up for a good story. A good story, based on characters who are memorable and timeless. Fincher makes timeless – or more, actions, but he can't create a timeless characters. None of his characters are memorable over time. At least other directors have much more memorable characters. He's a pure camera guy, not a dramatic guy. Basically a vanilla characters in his movies. Better to learn storytelling than cameratelling. So he makes up for his characters not being memorable, by making their "behavior", "actions" memorable through the camera. Characters become memorable by having emotional crisis, and what they want and need to fix their crisis. He doesn't write, so he can't figure this out. Hitch was the best at this. The. Best. He understood the emotional crisis of his characters, and never let the camera dominate this characters. Fincher wants to have the characters dominated by the camera, instead of vice-versa. Anyways, who am I to say these things. I am just an observer. Not an expert.

  30. He arguably has the best character audience interrelationship than any other director. The audience has a much deeper affiliation with the plights of the character. No other director in my opinion does this as well as fincher.

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