A LOVE LETTER TO LA: COLIN RICH’S CITY LIGHTS

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Filmmaker Colin Rich has written a love letter to L.A. in the form of a haunting visual poem that captures what is scenically mesmerizing about our often-overlooked city of lights. The short time-lapse video is a disorienting montage of glimmering landscape images of our tinsel town fittingly set to the grandiose score of M83’s “Outro.” Colin’s video is a disagreement to the cliché that L.A. is a lonesome place – it’s a reminder that within the intricacies of freeways, buildings, and our own hectic lives, we’re all in this city collectively. And whether you live in it as if it’s your own long-stay playground or just a temporary place while you coast – seeing the city breath so vividly in such unison will leave any Angeleno awestricken to call this place what it is, their home.

The video had originally been made for M83 to use as their visual for a Hollywood performance. However, that was a slightly different version. Seeing how impressive the official and final video is, LAC had to ask Colin a few questions about the making of it.

LA CANVAS: How long did it take to shoot?

COLIN RICH: I had been shooting on and off for about a year but really began to ramp up shooting in the past couple of months. I was asked by the band M83 to create some visuals for their Hollywood Bowl show where they were accompanied by the LA phil. It blew my mind that they wanted me to be a part of the experience especially for the song Outro, which in my mind is an emotionally tuned euphony that literally gave me goosebumps when I first heard it. I really wanted to create an homage to LA (and also a final piece in my trilogy of light,and the song fit so perfectly). Anthony truly is one of the most talented musicians out there. Unfortunately I was in the North Pole working on my next project when they asked me to cut the piece together (I’ll get to that in a bit) so I literally had like 3 days to put something together and upload it (the interweb is so amazing).

LAC: Most difficult shot to take?

CR: They’re all equally challenging. I would say the crown shot of LA was especially difficult to do because the the lens was such a long focal length (1200mm) that any slight vibrations (wind or impact) would greatly affect the shot. Couple this with the long exposure time needed to bring out the rich colors of the city… I was 27 miles away from downtown LA and needed to wait for the perfect night to get the clarity I required. I ended up going up into the Angeles National Forest when it was about 27 degrees out so the air was ideal for shooting. When the shot came out, I was pretty happy with it but it took about 3 attempts to get it perfect.

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LAC: Your personal favorite location?

CR: Its hard to say because each one offers their own perspective on the city. I think getting to the spots are the best experiences. Its all about the journey.

LAC: Are you staying in LA?

CR: I am staying in LA! I love my city. But I do travel a lot for work and pleasure.

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LAC: What’s next?  

CR: I recently came back from a five week excursion from Svalbard, an archipelago located above the arctic circle (near the north pole) where I was working on my first documentary about energy policy in the 21st century and how it will affect the Arctic. The place is amazing but is also ground zero when it comes to global warming. The first day in, I was required to get a polar bear rifle to protect myself from said creatures so it was one of the more interesting shoots. We spent time with Russian and Norwegian miners and folks who live up there regarding the changes they are seeing and exploring what the 21st century will bring to the arctic (changing sea routes due to melting ice, pollution, energy exploration in the Barents Sea). I’m currently looking to raise some money and return to Svalbard to finish the piece.

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