Alongside their success at the Golden Globes, 20th Century Fox has announced that they will be releasing a side-by-side comparison of Bohemian Rhapsody's recreation of Queen's 1985 Live Aid set and the 1985 footage itself. You'll just have to wait a few more weeks until January 22.Having the chance to take a long slow side-by-side look at the lighting and other technical choices made by the crew on set will be a boon to any aspiring cinematographers.
I'm really hoping that this feature will include tips and insight from Bohemian Rhapsody's cinematographer, Tom Sigel. Over the last few years, Sigel has worked on some visually spectacular films like The Usual Suspects, Casino, Three Kings, The Hurt Locker, and, most recently, Drive. Given his resume, I think it would be really interesting to hear how and why Sigel decided to vary the lighting and various focal lengths from the original broadcast.
This type of reflection about how on-set technical decisions can help create a better story is gold to anyone learning to shoot cinema.
If you can't wait until January 22, you can take a quick look at Kelle Long's recent article on MPAA talking about Sigel's work on Bohemian Rhapsody. Here Sigel talks specifically about altering the historical concert lighting to take the movie further than a basic music video, to tell a story.
There is the occasional point of view of the audience member, but really the great thing we can do in a movie and the thing that this story demands is you put the audience on the stage with the performer. You give them an intimacy with the performer that you wouldn’t have were you there in person.
If the MPAA article is any indication of what might be included in the new release, I can't wait.
Whenever you have a script, you start to break it down in your mind in terms of what the tone of the piece is and what is the appropriate language for the story you’re telling, lens choices, lighting, color, movement . . .