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Behind the Cinematography of La La Land

Behind the Cinematography of La La Land

The video below is a must watch for anyone who wants to be a cinematographer and a highly recommended one for anyone who wants to be a filmmaker. If you’ve seen La La Land, unless you hate musicals, you probably perceived the cinematic magic that runs through this film. Long takes, numerous extras, surprising transitions… Damien Chazelle has succeeded creating wonder in many people’s eyes with a spec script, mind you.

We talked before about how Chazelle and his team worked out the opening scene, from the rehearsals shooting on an iPhone to the time in post where it almost didn’t make the cut.

Cinematography Database founder and ASC member Matt Workman used the same principle and took it one step further to dissect the cinematography of La La Land. After collecting frames from the trailer, B-roll footage, and anecdotes from several interviews, Workman spent 47 minutes going through key frames and explaining where the lights were placed, and how it was shot.

As I said earlier, this is a goldmine for future DOPs. I am not into tech, and yet I learned a ton and really enjoyed the shared process. Workman does talk fast, so make sure you had a coffee before hitting play -especially if you’re non-natives.

I am just hoping Workman will repeat the exercise with more films that are exciting visually without being necessarily blockbusters filled with VFX. (the other films so far are: Ghost in the Shell, Wonder Woman and Rogue One)

In the meantime enjoy this masterclass: