The drum solo was a combination of Miles Teller’s live drumming, pre-recorded drumming, and drumming ADR, occasionally layered on top of each other so that, at times, you’re hearing something that editor Tom Cross once told IndieWire was “physically impossible.” Realism aside, Damien Chazelle knew the shot selection needed to mirror the intensity of the solo, with Cross highlighting how the director “wanted the music scenes to be like fight scenes: violent and brutal.”

With only 19 days to film the entire movie, Chazelle needed to be prepared, and created a detailed storyboard for the final solo, which he turned into an animatic — storyboard frames edited into a video timeline with a rough soundtrack. After shooting a master shot of the solo, the director had Teller and his doubles play various parts again to capture all the cutaways and closeups, using his storyboard as a guide. As he told Collider in 2014:

“I knew, ‘Okay, Miles, we’re going to do measures 16 to 18 right now. Okay, cut. Now we’re going to go to the cymbal and do the coda of the song. Okay, now we’re going to do the bridge twice through from this lower angle.’ We played it out that way. I remember the real trick with the solo, both for J.K. and for Miles, was continuity, because we only had extras as audience members in the theater for 6 hours, so everything pointed in that direction had to be done at once.”

You can’t argue with the result, but it was a grueling process to shoot. As Teller recalled it, “We did 140 set-ups which is unbelievable, I mean ‘Fantastic 4,’ ‘Insurgent,’ you’re doing like 10, 12 setups a day, and on that movie we did like 140 one day, which was insane.”