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Taylor Swift performing live

Taylor Swift's Cinematographer Discusses Shooting 'Folklore' Amidst Pandemic

Gettyimages | Dave Hogan
By Chris Barilla

Taylor Swift surprised millions of fans worldwide with the surprise release of her latest album 'Folklore' last week, seemingly dominating the charts with its quarantine-composed indie-rock​ melodies and high profile features such as Bon Iver. 'Cardigan,' the standout track from the project, received its own carefully detailed music video accompaniment despite the pandemic that has unfolded as Swift composed the alum. Now, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto is opening up about the process of creating the visual work despite the limiting factors the pandemic presented.

Taylor Swift poses for a selfie
Taylor Swift / Instagram

Speaking to 'Rolling Stone', Prieto explained how his second secret project with Swift came about even with the harrowing difficulties that quarantine measures brought about.

"She had the whole storyline – the whole notion of going into the piano and coming out into the forest, the water, going back into the piano," the renowned cinematographer told the publication, saying that Swift came to him with a very specific idea for the vide already in her head, leaving him to creatively interpret what she presented.


"When she called me and told me that this was more of a fantasy, I found that really appealing," Prieto said about the ambiguous nature of this particular visual with Swift and how she maintained that this particular video was going to be infinitely more personal than her others.

However, COVID numbers in California were spiking heavily in July and due to that Prieto said that many extra safety measures had to be put in place to ensure that the video was done with minimal risk to exposure for Swift and the crew.

Taylor Swift photographed performing live
Wikimedia |

"We needed to be safe, for her sake and for our sake as a crew during the shoot, but also for the future of filmmaking," Pietro led off explaining the safety measures needed to bring 'Cardigan' to life. "Because we want to keep working and doing what we do, and if, God forbid, someone got sick on one of the first jobs that was filmed, it would probably close down [the industry]."

The measures used to protect Swift, who was not wearing a mask while being recorded, included color-coded masks for crew to determine their risk factor and copious testing for the virus for everyone involved.


"Filmmaking is a gregarious endeavor by nature, people are close to each other, so it’s really hard to remember to keep to yourselves," he continued to explain. Pietro himself even wore two masks for most of the shoot, and a large majority of the shots that could be maneuvered from a robotic arm were done through so to limit the amount of time actual people had to spend close to the pop star.

Despite its creative difficulties, 'Cardigan' and 'Folklore' as a whole have smashed the charts and been another massive success for Swift.

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