The Cinematography of House of Cards

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Last year, House of Cards received an Emmy Award in recognition for its cinematography, beating out Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men.

Making its first appearance in 2013, House of Cards is the show that proved what Netflix is truly capable of, and its production was as different from everything else out there as Netflix was to other studios itself. I started watching this show a bit late, but right from the first scene of the pilot episode, I could point out how much David Fincher this show was running on; to my surprise, the director’s name greeted me twice in the opening credits.

So at the time of at release, this was almost downright unusual. Who could have guessed that a guy like David Fincher would be working as a producer and director for a show by a streaming service? Not only did this project have fincher on board, but it reunited him and Kevin Spacey, who served as a producer for the show as well as the leading role.

Whatever grabbed both of their attention was no big surprise. House of Cards has a story that’s right up Fincher and Spacey’s alley, and it’s exactly the kind of show that fans of Fincher’s past work could get into. Going into the cinematography of the show, I mention David Fincher for a reason: although he was mainly an executive producer, directing only the first two episodes, the tone that he set with them basically became the precedent for how the rest of the series would end up being filmed. The first person hired as the show’s cinematographer was Eigil Bryld, who filmed eleven episodes from the show’s first season.

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