Watch how CGI helps bring the 1970s back to life on modern television

Netflix's 'Mindhunter' realistically recreates the Carter era with computers.

Image: Artemple Hollywood / Netflix

The engrossing new Netflix series Mindhunter tells the fictionalized story of the FBI's early forays into hunting serial killers. The show is based on Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, the memoirs of legendary FBI profiler John E. Douglas. 

Douglas has seen his life turned into Hollywood fare numerous times, as actors like Dennis Farina (Manhunter) Scott Glenn (The Silence of the Lambs) and Laurence Fishburne (NBC's Hannibal) have portrayed him.

Mindhunter, however, rewinds the clock to the earliest days of his career in the Bureau. The eerie crime drama takes place in 1977, and is brought vividly to life thanks to director and executive producer David Fincher. Unlike other Seventies-set series, Mindhunter does not lazily rely on bellbottoms, afros and polyester to recreate the decade. Though gorgeously cinematic, it feels more like the real, lived-in Carter era.

What's incredible to learn is how much of it is entirely computer generated. Effects house Artemple Hollywood recently released a VFX reel showing off their deceptive craft. At no point while watching the show will you think that the images are phony, yet….

See that image up top? With the array of vintage televisions in a shop window? It's entirely fake, modeled in a computer. Likewise, Mindhunter used VFX to turn BP gas stations into 76 stations, and to build midcentury roadside motels.

At least all those beautiful old cars are real. Man, we miss some of those. Take a look in this video:


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