How Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Was Turned Into a Movie – The New York Times

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Movies like “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” rely on savvy tricks and sophisticated techniques to capture a semblance of the live experience.

Taylor Swift’s globe-spanning Eras Tour is one of the musical events of the year, drawing record-breaking crowds and making headlines the world over since it kicked off in Glendale, Ariz., in March. Rabid demand has made procuring a ticket notoriously difficult, if not practically impossible. But starting Friday, Swifties will have a more accessible opportunity to catch a glimpse of the live phenomenon, when the concert film “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is released by AMC Theaters — a moviegoing event that is widely expected to be a box office smash.
Filmed over three nights in August at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., and directed by Sam Wrench, “The Eras Tour,” like most concert films, aims to capture some of the magic of seeing the artist perform live. “The main thing we’re trying to do is provide the theatrical audience with the best seat in the house,” John Ross, the rerecording mixer on “The Eras Tour” and a veteran of many other hit concert films, including Jonathan Demme’s “Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids,” said by phone. “If you were to attend a concert and get the premium seat, that’s my job, to convey that image sonically and situationally.”
But capturing a live performance is not as straightforward as simply setting up some cameras and microphones and recording what transpires onstage. The demands of a film are incredibly complicated, and faithfully reproducing the look and sound of a concert for the screen is an arduous and painstaking process for the filmmakers and their crews. It’s a delicate proposition — a proposition some filmmakers believe is inherently doomed.
“The idea itself, to film a concert, is a bad idea,” said Jonas Akerlund, a film and music video director who made the concert movies “On the Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Live” and “Taylor Swift: The 1989 World Tour Live.”
He explained, “It will never, ever be as good as the live experience. It’s basically like trying to film fireworks — everybody knows that seeing it live is not the same as seeing it on a TV screen.” But, Akerlund added, the concert film can have value, if looked at in a different way. “You can make it an equally good experience, but it has to be a filmic or cinematic experience rather than trying to compete with the live experience.”
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