David Fincher's 'Zodiac': The Latest Feature Shot with the Viper FilmStream Digital Camera
As far as I know, it's also the first feature shot digitally by Harris Savides, the cinematographer on 'Zodiac.' One more first: 'Zodiac' is likely the first Hollywood feature recorded directly onto hard drives from the camera -- no videotapes were used.
So a few links about the digital cinematography on 'Zodiac'...
From Filmmaker Magazine, a piece headlined 'Are We There Yet? HD Continues Its Journey Into the Mainstream' Jamie Stuart writes:
The straight-talking Savides describes the situation bluntly: “Everybody who’s shooting this stuff is a guinea pig right now.”
“Everything is still R&D,” he elaborates. “I feel like these movies being made are just little experiments for the big conglomerate studios. They’ll see what it’s like, what’s gonna happen, see the best way to handle it down the road.”
The fluctuating nature of the technology means that most filmmakers still have to fight to shoot their films on HD. Directors like Steven Soderbergh and Robert Rodriguez can get away with HD because they keep their budgets down. But once budgets start rising to $100 million, or tent-pole status, the resistance is much fiercer. Savides says his hat is off to Fincher for making Zodiac happen in such an unconventional manner: “He’s amazing. I don’t think anybody could’ve done it this way. David had to figure it out on his own, and then present it to the studio. He had to do smaller projects, commercials. He’d been using the Viper, got really used to it. So by the time I stepped in he had gotten the Viper integrated and he’d figured out how to make the camera work. When I got there, 90 percent of the problems had been ironed out. I was just part of the creative solution.”
Digital Content Producer has a piece about the movie's workflow and an audio interview with Fincher.
Fincher also talks a bit about the Viper in this interview with film critic Emmanuel Levy.
And here's even more on 'Zodiac' from HD for Indies.