OperaUpClose – La Traviata

This was my first foray into the world of opera and one that I hope won’t be my last.
I was approached by the wonderful and talented producer Eleanor Sophia Dodson about making a trailer for the opera she was assistant producer on at The Kings head Theatre in London. With very little time and under extremely limited circumstances we went for a coffee on the Sunday evening before the shoot to discuss how we were to approach this. For those of you that don’t know the story of La Traviata, it’s a love story of sacrifice and torment. The ingénue Violetta being torn between her love between Germont a powerful rich man and Alfredo his son as Violetta becomes tired of all the glitz,glamour and the vacuous nature of all the parties she must attend she ends up falling for Alfredo, a man very much the opposite of his father and therein lies the very basic premise for this trailer.

The director Robin Norton-Hale had chosen to pitch this new version of the opera in 1920’s prohibition Atlantic City, however their costumes and sets were not available, and due to unforeseen circumstances, they were quite behind on rehearsals, so my time with the actors was severely limited. Knowing that I wanted to produce something more ‘cinematic’ than the usual theatre ‘trailer’ I knew that I would be unable to show costumes, so kept all shots up close to accentuate emotion and expression, two elements synonymous with the operatic. I then shot a bunch of 2nd unit footage, some I had from a previous shoot [that I have yet to write about] others from various locations,using friends to hold glasses etc.

I made the rather risky choice to shoot this on the latest Magic Lantern for 7D. This version allows for continuous .raw (RAW) mode at a resolution of 1728×736 and 14-bit colour space. I knew that with the small amounts of footage I’d be taking I should be able to manage the difficult workflow, not to mention file sizes. In the end I think had shot roughly 20 minutes of footage totally over 100gb – The results were worth it though I think.

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