After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. Mann shot a majority of the film in HD (this was 2004), feeling the format better captured the city’s night lighting. Even the film’s protagonist taxi needed a custom coat to pick up different sheens depending on the type of artificial lighting the cab passed beneath. That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind.
Nice overview of the impact of L.A.'s switch to LED lighting on how the city will look on film and TV. Good move for the environment, but I will miss the distinctive cinematographic fingerprint of Michael Mann's Los Angeles: equal parts gaudy and sickly neon hues from the sodium and mercury vapor streetlamps.