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David Fincher's 'Zodiac' Shot With Grass Valley Viper

Award-winning director David Fincher's "Zodiac" in movie theaters now, was shot and produced digitally without the use of videotape or compression--a first for a major studio feature.

Fincher shot the film on the Grass Valley Viper FilmStream Camera system from Thomson. Principal photography on "Zodiac" lasted 117 days and made use of two Viper cameras with Zeiss DigiPrime lenses shooting in uncompressed 10-bit 4:4:4 1920x1080/24p FilmStream mode with a 2.37:1 anamorphic aspect ratio.

Data from the Viper cameras as well as on-set metadata fed a rotating group of 20 D.MAG (Digital Magazines) removable hard drives loaded in digital film recorders from S.two Corp. of Reno, Nev. Captured on-set data was transferred from D.MAG to LTO-3 data tapes using S.two's A.Dock where images would go through quality control and inspection and then two additional LTO-3 clones were made as backup files. At times, up to six Viper cameras were used.

Fincher has worked with Grass Valley and its partner companies to develop and implement this next generation of digital, disk-based workflows following many Viper-shot commercials including those for Nike, Xelibri, HP, Motorola, Lexus, and Heineken. Fincher is also shooting his next feature, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" on Viper cameras recording to the S.two disk based systems.