HANNIBAL: SEASON 1 (2013)
HANNIBAL is a psychological horror-thriller television series developed by Bryan Fuller, based on Thomas Harris’s novels Red Dragon, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. The series focuses on the relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a forensic psychiatrist destined to become Graham’s most cunning enemy, and the only person who understands him. Hannibal aired on NBC from 2013 to 2015. Fuller worked on Season 1 of the show with British-Canadian Production Designer Matthew Davies.
The vast majority of Hannibal was shot in a studio. Every day that was shot outside the studio cost production approximately $40,000 premium, so any sets that cost less than $40,000 were automatically green-lit to be built. Given the scale of the production, the crew could also move much faster on set given the familiarity everyone had with what was needed to successfully pre-light an environment on stage. Davies also often worked with VFX teams from pre-production to determine what aspects of the set were going to be built, and what had to then be extended using CGI. On Hannibal, pre-production typically lasted 6-8 weeks, with the first week dedicated to crewing up and setting the space. In week 2, Davies would create a template for the show, and in week 3, construction would begin, continuing through the length of the show for each scene and new set.
MINDHUNTER: SEASON 1 (2017)
MINDHUNTER is a psychological crime thriller television series created by Joe Penhall and executive produced by Penhall, Charlize Theron and David Fincher (who was the show’s de facto showrunner and directed the majority of the season’s episodes). The series follows the founding of the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI in the late 1970s, and the beginning of criminal profiling. The show stars Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany and Anna Torv, and aired on Netflix in October 2017. Season 1 was primarily shot by American cinematographer Eric Messerschmidt, who had worked as a gaffer for Fincher on Gone Girl, and would go on to work with him again on Mank.
Fincher and Messerschmidt approached Mindhunter with the intention of creating a visual language of surrealist naturalism, built on a foundational principle of working with practicals as much as possible, and lighting spaces both honestly and without a tendency to cheat lights for aesthetic effect (for example, if a conversation scene happened with one person at a window, and they were backlit, the other person should be front lit, and lights shouldn’t be repositioned to give them more sidelight or contrast). Messerschmidt never wanted the camerawork to distract from the story as it unfolded, and it was almost always kept on a dolly throughout the shoot, using a custom-made RED Xenomorph., in which all the add-ons that would typically be built by camera assistants were built into the body of the camera, allowing a simplicity of shooting where all that was needed to get going was the lens and the battery. Messerschmidt shot the majority of the show on the 29mm and 40mm Leica Summilux lenses, allowing the show to maintain a consistent visual language throughout.