Behind the Justin Timberlake “Say Something” Video

  • Published in Film

Some fun facts about the Justin Timberlake “Say Something” video featuring Chris Stapleton, which was all live with no cuts:

  • The director, Arturo Perez Jr. of the Paris-based collective called La Blogothèque, hoped to do something purely acoustics, and the musicians agreed. The “concert” ended up taking “17 musicians, 60 choristers, five floors, two elevators, one camera and many microphones … shot live in the prestigious Bradbury Building in Los Angeles.” [Source]
  • All one take on Panavision C Series anamorphic, DP’d by Bill Kirstein and “ninja” operated by Ari Robbins, SOC (who did Steadicam on “La La Land”) [Source]
  • According to Ari himself, the lens was a “42-425 with an ARRI [Alexa] Mini. Focus puller was Jenna Hoffman,” who obviously did an incredible job as well. [Source]
  • One of the members of the collective, “Clumsy,” tweeted that the earpieces “were only there for them to hear each other as there were 17 musicians on 5 different floors.” [Source]
  • Pre-production took two weeks: “I walked the Bradbury Building for two and a half days—just walking through it like a crazy person. We walked and walked and talked about it,” Perez says. “What we didn’t want to happen was for this to just be a Justin Timberlake one-take video gag. We’ve been doing this for a while, and we don’t get high off of doing a one-take video. We get high off of creating poetry.” [Source]
  • Camera rehearsals surely aside, according to Justin Timberlake (and the slate at the end), it wasn’t just one shot, the video was done in just one take. [Source]

Watch it here:


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site

Got something to add?