How ‘Mank’ Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt Illuminated a Monochrome Palette1 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
Heading into Oscar weekend, Mank cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, a first-time nominee and ASC winner, is already deep into his next project. The Emerson College grad earned his chops as a best boy and gaffer before moving into cinematography full-time.
He spoke with No Film School via phone about working on one of this year’s biggest films.
It was the series Mindhunter where Messerschmidt teamed with director David Fincher, pushing the boundaries of digital workflows. With Mank, audiences are taken back in time to the 1930s as the story follows how Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) finishes the screenplay for Orsen Welles in a gripping biographical drama.
To visually depict the time period, the movie was shot in black and white using the RED Ranger with an 8K Helium Monochrome sensor, a camera that removes the color filter affecting the light sensitivity and overall resolution.
Messerschmidt says the improvement in light sensitivity wasn’t the only reason why the monochrome camera was chosen, but it was “a value added benefit” when testing it against color cameras.
Image credit: Netflix