Into the Woods is cinematographer Dion Beebe’s third musical collaboration with director Rob Marshall (the previous two being Nine and Chicago), but it’s the first one where the lyrics act as the film’s dialogue.
“We didn’t choose a theatricality that we used on Chicago and Nine,” Beebe tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It was important to focus on the songs as if they were dialogue and create a reality. The woods were integral to the foundation of the film.”
The film was shot with ARRI Alexa cameras both on location in two parks and on a soundstage and it was crucial that the transition would appear seamless. “If it felt like it was bouncing back and forth between stage and location, I feel it would have lost its scope and its magic,” Beebe says. “We were doing day exterior on stage that was cutting with day exterior on location—and often cutting within a scene. I had to create a lighting style that I could achieve on stage, but I could also achieve on location. Every frame in the movie is lit to that end. By lighting and controlling all the day exteriors, I could match the style on stage.”
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