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Mank uses ROE Visual for Virtual Production Scenes

Fuse Technical Group Virtual Set Indispensable for Mank

Chatsworth, USA (April 26, 2021) – The virtual set that Fuse Technical Group built in Los Angeles was used to create realistic environments for the Academy Awarded Netflix series Mank. ROE Visual Black Pearl BP2 provided the LED volume.

Black-and-white biopic Mank sees another successful collaboration between cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt ASC and director David Fincher. They craft an authentic portrayal of Hollywood's golden age and explore the turbulent development of the script for Citizen Kane. Mank has received the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.

"This was not an offer I had to consider; the answer was an immediate yes," says cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt ASC. Filming director David Fincher's Mank was a great opportunity. The film depicts the life of screenwriter Herman J. 'Mank' Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) as he develops the script for director Orson Welles' 1941 classic Citizen Kane.

As Citizen Kane is widely regarded as one of cinema's masterpieces, the pressure was to capture the essence of Gregg Toland ASC's cinematography and faithfully encapsulate the distinctive mood, lighting, and composition reminiscent of a golden era of filmmaking.

Fincher was clear from the beginning that the film had to be shot in black-and-white. "We never even considered what the movie would look like in color," says Messerschmidt. "Part of David's intent was to transport the audience back to the classic'30ss and'40ss Hollywood era. Black-and-white was an excellent way to do that."

Mank was shot in 8K, followed by a 20 percent center extraction to produce a 6.5K raster. The grade was then completed in 6K, and the conform was finished in 4K.

Virtual production techniques were adopted with great success to create realistic environments for a selection of scenes. These included the driving sequences, the meeting on a bench between Mank and Hearst's mistress, actress Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), and when Mank and his wife Sara Mankiewicz (Tuppence Middleton) are on a ferry. These were all filmed at a set provided by Fuse in Los Angeles using a virtual set comprising ROE Visual's Black Pearl 2.8mm LED.


Mank wins Best Cinematography

at the 93rd Academy Award


"I've worked with Fuse extensively in the past, having filmed sequences for both seasons of Mindhunter and commercials with them," says Messerschmidt.

ROE Visual is a trusted supplier for Fuse: "A long working relationship and their high-quality products make that we know we don't have to worry about the LED performance during the film shoot. Using Black Pearl BP2 creates an outstanding LED volume with a perfect on-camera performance. Even in the exacting circumstances of the black-and-white filming, we were able to get the most out of the LED performance".

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