Why 35mm Film Was a More Natural Choice for Creating Magical Look of 'La La Land'

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La La Land cinematographer Linus Sandgren speaks to MovieMaker Magazine about creating Damien Chazelle's contemporary musical as an homage to 1950s musicals, right down to the format they shot on.

"Because of what Damien wanted to do with this film, and because he wanted it to be an homage to old Hollywood musicals, and the craft of filmmaking, and the craft of making music properly with instruments and not on synthesizers, he felt that the film had to be shot in the scope format, anamorphic, because he loves anamorphic lenses in general, and scope would fit the film," says Sandgren. "And then I felt it would be more appropriate to shoot it in 2.55 CinemaScope like they did with A Star is Born, for example, and films like that back in the 1950s, before the standard became 2.40: 1, so that’s how the 2.55 aspect ratio came up. It was really an homage to old Hollywood. Then, we wanted to shoot on film. Damien really wanted to shoot on film because we wanted to capture as much rich color from the sets as possible and we both felt that we had more opportunity to do so with film stock than with digital tools. And in addition to that, sometimes you find that digital cameras capture reality so well that you have a hard time making it look 'magical.' This film was supposed to look much more magical than realistic, so film was a natural choice."

Read the full story here.


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