Monday, October 11, 2010

The Airborne Toxic Event : All I Ever Wanted - Live From the Walt Disney Concert Hall - Part 2

Have you ever watched a really amazing movie and wondered how or why they did certain things, wishing you could get a private consultation to clear up any lingering questions you might have had? Well I got to do just that last week when I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Jon and Brian, the director and producer of The Airborne Toxic Event: All I Ever Wanted - Live From the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

How did the idea to do the film originate?
JON: I had made a couple smaller videos for the band in the few months before the show was announced and started to hang with the band a little more...When I had heard they were going to do the show at Disney I started joking with them that I should film it, and eventually they realized I was serious. Seeing that I was in over my head, cause I had never done anything of this scale before, I brought Brian on to organize the whole thing and make it happen.

BRIAN: Exactly that. I've said this before and looking back on it now, the real impetus for the project started with the friendship between Jon and Mikel. Jon had done a few smaller projects, and it was apparent they were both fans of each others work, and with this amazing opportunity to play Disney Hall, it just seemed to be a natural fit to film the experience.

Were you already fans of the band?
JON: Yes, but not nearly as much as I am now.

BRIAN: I knew of their hit, Sometime Around Midnight, and was a big fan of that song, and over the past year became more familiar with their other tracks, and was an immediate fan. I guess now I could be called a superfan, though!

I saw credits for Canon at the end of the film...what sorts of cameras were used? Did you use digital cameras with HD video capability (It looked like it during one dressing room shot)?
JON: We used the new DSLRs, specifically the Canon 7D's, and then one scene where the guitarist, Steven, was using a Flip Mino HD to cover his trip down to the hall. I've been a fan of the Canon 5D and 7D series since I saw Nine Inch Nails using it on stage. I had never seen anything like it before so I got one as fast as I could. Nowadays it's definitely all over the place. You can't watch two videos on Vimeo without seeing the use of a Nikon, Panasonic or Canon DSLR anymore, but I would go as far to say I think we are the first to have a full film out and on iTunes with the main media being on the Canons. Arcade Fire has recently knocked it out of the park as well for a Vevo project, and Ben Folds and Nick Hornby as well...just gorgeous stuff.

BRIAN: If it weren't for these Canons, this project would not have been possible. Period.

I was wondering how many cameras were used at any given time, especially during the performances because I was so fascinated by all of the tiny moments that were caught like Noah's very rock and roll shoes, the glances that Daren gives when Mikel is up on the platform, and some of the faces they make at each other during performances?
JON: People may think we had millions of dollars to do this but we had a budget of almost nothing once we paid to be at Disney and sound was a big chunk as well, so as much as we wanted to have 15 cameras and mounts and jibs at the show we were really restricted not only by money but also by the sheer fact that Disney really didn't want a big messy shoot with cables and lighting everywhere, so we went with what we could afford which was the minimal of one camera for each band member (5), 1 guy behind the stage getting reverses (1) one wide (1) and a roamer to get the other members on stage like the quartet (1) and then a lock off at the very top of the seats in the hall (1) - 9 cameras in all. Once of the biggest complaints we got from the label was that they looked like they were playing in a closet because you couldn't see fans around them that much, so in retrospect maybe I should have taken the reverse cam and pointed him out at the screaming topless women in the front row with lighters and signs that said "Rock Disney Bitches!".

BRIAN: Nice one Jon, cause there were definitely A TON of topless women at the show. With lighters. Screaming. Who uses lighters anymore? I mean...really? Anyway, yes. 9 strategically placed cameras with 8 very capable operators, with Jon passing out camera assignments and letting them run loose with nothing more than a walkie to communicate with everyone as the show played out.

Part 2 of the interview (part three in the promotional coverage for the DVD release) will be up tomorrow so please come back. Oh, and if anybody from Canon is reading this and wants to hook us up with a 7D to test out shooting concert coverage hit us up at

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