How A Star Is Born Filmed Those Concert Scenes Without Spoiling The Songs

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper singing live in Star is Born
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

A Star is Born has the unique ability to give audiences quite a few authentic and intimate moments. The fact that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga actually belted out the film’s original songs live on set in front of a real audience certainly has something to do with it. But wait… how did “Shallow” among other exclusive tracks dodge getting leaked during production of A Star is Born if a packed stadium witnessed the performance? Here’s what the film’s sound mixer Steve Morrow says:

We put it all in her ears, and when you're on set with them, they're basically signing a capella into a microphone that's not amplified to the crowd. The crowds are able to cheer and get excited, but they're not really hearing the songs, so it was that process of capturing all that but keeping it really quiet on set and expanding it in post-production, which is what the post mixers did and really put you in the concert.

Interesting! Steve Morrow explained this in his recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He has also been involved in sound mixing fellow Oscar nominated musical La La Land, along with working on other recent releases: Bad Times at the El Royale, Peppermint and The Mule.

He explained how the instrumentation for the songs were recorded in playback and fed into the actors’ ears during the live performance, while they sang a capella. To avoid leaking the original music from A Star is Born, their performances were not blasted into the venues’ speakers. So while the audience was witnessing and cheering for some incredible music numbers, they couldn’t quite hear them.

Lady Gaga’s massive stardom made it clear that people would want to have their hands on new material she was involved in, if it was available to them early. So this sound mixing method certainly protected the songs from feeling like yesterday’s hits when the film was released.

The decision for the musical numbers in A Star is Born to be recorded live was actually per Lady Gaga’s request. The pop sensation advised this to Bradley Cooper because of her dislike to lip-syncing, and the movie was certainly better and more authentic for it.

While Gaga has tons of experience singing live in front of huge crowds, A Star is Born marked Bradley Cooper’s first time seriously giving singing a try. He changed his voice an entire octave for the role of Jackson Maine, while Lady Gaga toned down her iconic theatrical star power to play Ally.

Lady Gaga recently performed the track at the Grammy’s in her own style, after it won for Best Song Written for Visual Media. The movie is now being recognized for the Sound Mixing at the 91st Academy Awards, among receiving recognition in seven other categories.

At the show Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will get to show off their live-singing chops when they perform Best Original Song nominee “Shallow” this Sunday, February 24.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.