Behind The Scenes: ‘Mindhunter’

11.09.2017 Industry

Netflix debuted a new psychological thriller this year with Mindhunter, a crime drama based on the book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit. The series was directed by David Fincher and follows a FBI hostage negotiator as he dives into the minds of serial killers and their behaviors.

The series has been a hit so far and many are eagerly waiting for another season. While the stories of these nightmarish psychopaths are enough to catch your attention, the production behind ‘Mindhunter’ also plays an important role in the storytelling.


Erik Messerschmidt is the DP for ‘Mindhunter’, and is responsible for the visual aesthetics of the show. He has had an extensive career in the film industry as a gaffer, but stepped into the DP role for ‘Mindhunter’. In an interview with No Film School, he explains some of the shooting techniques used on set, as well as establishing a set of defining styles and traits to the series. He also details his career path and his transition from a Gaffer to a DP.


Jonathan Groff in “Mindhunter.” Shot by Erik Messerschmidt. Credit: Netflix


In this video released by Adobe, a few members of the post production team of ‘Mindhunter’ speak about their methods and techniques. The team uses Adobe Premiere and After Effects and briefly goes over their own uses of the products in the process of editing and retouching. While there aren’t many scenes that are noticeably edited in ‘Mindhunter’, the video showcases the importance of using split screens to create a scene by combining multiple takes.


CGI and VFX are becoming more and more commonplace, as productions are using it in more subtle, less noticeable ways. VFX is not only used for big Hollywood explosions and action, but can be used to alter the small details of the scene in post production.

In the video above, Artemple, the VFX company behind the show, showcases their incredible invisible visual effects for ‘Mindhunter’ in a breakdown reel. From trees to snowflakes, the seamless VFX production makes it hard to believe that they were not part of the original scene.

Author of the Article: Parlay Studios

Parlay Studios is a 50,000 sf. photography and digital media production campus serving leading creatives and brands from around the world. Our state-of-the-art photography and video production complex is home to a selection of versatile studios and environments.

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