In short: This article is about the workflow Fincher pioneered on his commercials and brought to the big screen with ZODIAC.
The first interesting item I may have overlooked before, is that the article calls Fincher a "director/DP", meaning a director & director of photography.
Now whether that is a mix-up or was intended, I don't know. What's interesting is that there is almost a freudian quality to this, since Fincher indeed is known to be not only a perfectionist on set, but also to know every detail of every on-set-job better than the person doing it. If Fincher comes across as a "director of photography" that must be because he knows his stuff when it comes to cameras, lenses, lighting and the back-end workflow of the new digital technology.
It's also known that Finch has driven several DOPs into madness: First there was a well publicised argument with Darius Khondji (of SE7EN and well, ... like the first quarter of PANIC ROOM), then we saw recent statements by ZODIAC's Harris Savides, which pointed to "creative differences" between him and Fincher.
Since I haven't even taken as much as a party-photo for Fincher I obviously wouldn't know. But I speculate Fincher doesn't intend to be a photography dictator: I believe that while he has a very clear intention of how he wants a scene shots and lit, he encourages good ideas and is open for creative input, but ultimately he maintains a very determined creative control. Not everybody can handle that -- but it sure produces awesome movies!
Let's see what Claudio Miranda of "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" has to say, once they get done with everything.
The second aspect of this article that struck me was this: Fincher is fully uncompromising in cinematic and narrative details and will spend the money necessary to put his vision on the screen. At the same time however he strives for new technologies and innovations that will make movie-making cheaper! As you may know from the Apple FinalCutStudio Interview (Editor) Angus Wall and Fincher were looking for off-the-shelf consumer products for post-production and turned away from highly specialized and expensive studio equipment.
"It's off the shelf and it was inexpensive, and people could work remotely from home on a laptop. That was extremely important to decentralize the workflow space. That was one of the things that was really attractive."
Fincher also mentions the notion of "decentralizing the workspace". Which translates to: The demanding world of film-production and post-production allows more and more freedom to work from home.
-- Personal life, anyone?
Oh, and then there is this tiny segment about BENJAMIN BUTTON that completely messed up the way I had imagined the story in my head. Fincher says:
"We are doing it through a digital means, where his physiognomy has changed. It's looking like [the face of a man] of 85 on the body of a five year old. So we are using head replacement.
Ha! That is like the complete opposite of what I had pictured the story to be: To my inner eye I had always pitched the story of a man aging backwards; but doing so in accordance with his physiognomy -- not conversely.
Anyhow, let's wait for the first trailer and we shall know more ...
This way to the article: