Part IV Exile on Tribeca Street

“I blame it on Jimmy Page,” said drummer Charlie Watts. “Led Zeppelin had come to the States two or three hours on stage was what we heard they did, and it became something of a norm for anyone doing a concert.”According to the Rolling Stones, edited by Dora Loewenstein and Philip Dodd

RR: All the stars align during the Phish animated graphic sequence. Your thoughts on this particular scene?

JH: The Phish animation was created by Phoenix Perry and Jeffers Egan. The stars and undulating photos are a particular style that they brought to the table. I know Dean and I, being big fans of Phish, took special care with the final output. We didn’t want it to be too kitsch and thought that expectations from the fans would be high. Phish performed at Wetlands Preserve seven or eight times between the club’s opening in 1989 through 1990 so I’m not sure if I’d honestly draw some sort of parallel to the stars aligning, Phish gigging at Wetlands, and the success of the club, but I can say that Dean and I were quite pleased with what Perry and Egan produced. [Author’s Note: this is a particularly sublime sequence.] That reminds me…the set-up to this scene features Mike Gordon talking about the club’s desires to keep Phish playing until 4am. Gordon goes on to say how the band would play three sets and end around 2am; however, not long before being asked to return to stage to play until closing. Too bad these four set shows aren’t in circulation. [Author’s Note: Perhaps, because they never played that many sets? ;-)]

RR: What was your favorite sequence to edit? Memorable passages?

JH: There are several. From an Editor’s perspective, I really enjoyed the on-the-fly editing of the Rodney Speed Power Jam story. Dean had just received a small amount of video from the 2000 Power Jam where Wetland’s barback, Rodney Speed, was being celebrated as the night’s super, secret, surprise guest. Dean wanted to insert this clip and utilize some dialogue we had of Jake Szufnarowski describing the night and, especially, Rodney’s emergence. Dean sort of had a concept for this sequence, but I asked if I could spend five or ten minutes alone with it. Using some comedic timing and back-and-forth editing, the story comes across as both cute and funny. On a personal note, I can be seen in the front row of the crowd giving Rodney the devil horns hand-sign something we didn’t realize until weeks later.

From an Animator’s standpoint, there are many sequences I enjoyed making and love watching. Just about anything where rooms or people are cut-out from the background and utilize z-depth is something I’m proud of. Some examples of this are the floating urinals in the bathroom photo while Zen Tricksters/Phil Lesh and Friend’s Rob Barraco discuss the stereo, audio mixes in the bathroom. Perhaps a worthy “memorable passage,” taboot! There’s also a cool pan-and-scan of a New York Times newspaper article about Wetlands Preserve. After zooming around to different parts of the article, the virtual camera trucks back to reveal the entire full page and actually zooms into the picture of people dancing thus, bring the viewer instantly from a 2D to 3D environment.

There is one animation I’m extremely proud of, though, and I feel it connected with everyone who viewed it and that would be the “Where Are They Now?”-esque final credit roll. I spent one hot, summer month, locked-down in my air conditioned editing suite, working on this nine minute and 20-second animation. The reason it took so long was I needed to use a technique called rotoscoping. This is a time-intensive process of extracting the subject and removing the background video. Once this was done, I inserted older photos of the subject and presented it in a 3D space which is rotating 360-degrees. Sounds weird on paper, but looks great on the screen. It was a concept I wanted to execute from the beginning and wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. The fact that I accomplished this made me extremely happy. Plus, since the film’s first public screening, the response to that animation was great, also.

RR: What projects are you working on, now?

JH: I’m continuing to produce, direct and edit National Lampoon’s AV Squad. AV Squad is Lampoon’s music video, interview and live performance magazine show. During the weekly 30-minute cable program, viewers are entertained by music videos, live, in-house performances and interviews. On top of that, this month I’ll be producing and editing a music video for a very hard working jamband, as well as trying to expand AV Squad into a live settings. Finally, I’ll continue to solicit more film projects like concert DVD or, perhaps, Dean and I could do another documentary together. Time will tell.

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