Definition September 2023 - Web





park an upstanding pillar of the gay community. West orchestrates a final, exuberant night on the town, bringing together generations of drag queens, disco DJs and leatherdykes who once called Playland Cafe a cherished home. This event manifests a timeless space where ancestors joyfully emerge to revel and celebrate together once more. Cinematographer Jo Jo Lam (ASC) says she had ‘never quite shot a film like Playland before’, even though her CV is a rich cocktail of music videos, commercials and shorts. “It's such a unique project,” she adds. “Georden approached me at the beginning of the pandemic and we went on to pre- production in the midst of it, between LA, Paris and Boston. We did an enormous amount of prep via Zoom due to travel restrictions, which ultimately turned out to be a blessing. Georden involved all the heads of departments early on, and we had weekly meetings about colour palette, set design (since the entire bar was built on a sound stage), costumes, etc. These weekly meetings really helped align all the different departments with Georden’s vision.” The team also had an extremely limited amount of time and budget to shoot, especially for such an ambitious project. However, Lam says that she’s ‘a big believer in having limitations and embracing them’ as a way to challenge herself creatively.

IN ALIGNMENT Plenty of time was spent precisely coordinating various production departments with the stylistic expectations for the film – which were ambitious

“This project is a gift to DOPs since there’s no fixed time period or space to adhere to – which I wasn't used to at the beginning, having mostly shot on location,” she adds. “What was extremely helpful was, once again, the copious amount of references we discussed and watched. I still took a realistic approach and elevated it stylistically to portray these different periods of time slide through at the Playland Cafe.“ What makes the movie even more unusual is what happened in post, according to producer and editor Russell Sheaffer. “ Playland really came to life in the Adobe suite,” he explains. “We had so much flexibility working in Premiere Pro – we rented a lake house in

Massachusetts for two weeks after principal photography and did our first assembly on my laptop. After, Georden and I had mirrored drives and we’d pass edits back and forth across the country. Almost everything in Playland is built in Premiere Pro, including the bulk of our VFX. I would run encodes in Media Encoder while continuing to edit in Premiere Pro, pulling in graphics and visuals that Georden had made in Photoshop and InDesign. We relied heavily on Premiere’s key frame, matte and time remapping tools.”



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