Rock & Rule (Part 1)
Emru Townsend: What do you think was the average age of the studio at the time?
Anne Marie Bardwell: Mentally or biologically? [laughter]
That's always an important question.
Anne Marie Bardwell: Under or without the influence of something?
Lenora Hume: Everybody was under 30, it seemed.
John Halfpenny: Oh yeah, for sure.
Anne Marie Bardwell: Absolutely. Like, probably...
Larry Jacobs: Twenty to 30.
Anne Marie Bardwell: Yeah, I would say early to mid-twenties-ish... right?
Clive Smith: Early twenties, maybe.
Anne Marie Bardwell: And the fact that people that were 25 and under were the Nine Old Men... [laughter]
John Halfpenny: No wonder you screwed our perspective!
Anne Marie Bardwell: That is all such a key part of how that movie happened, I think. It's unavoidable.
Larry Jacobs: Our priorities were really the studio. None of us really had houses, we didn't have families. It was like, let's make this studio work.
Anne Marie Bardwell: It was a mission.
Clive Smith: It was definitely the focus of everybody's lives for three and a half years. It certainly was mine. I didn't have another life, I don't think, outside of that studio and outside of that production. It was probably the same for a lot of other people. It wasn't a day job.
You were probably doing twenty-hour days at the time, too.
Clive Smith: Absolutely. Absolutely.
I like the nods of recognition. "Oh yes, I remember." [laughter]
Clive Smith: Well, Lenora was running the camera department with Dennis Brown. And that was a huge part of this, too. Because we didn't have computers, we didn't have the tools that are available today.
I was rewatching it today, and I was looking at the sheer amount of effects. I mean, I always knew there were a lot, but really watching it with a different eye today, and it was like, oh my God.
Clive Smith: And a lot of good work was invented in the camera room.
John Halfpenny: And the things that at the time...
Larry Jacobs: It was done on film, not digital.
John Halfpenny: Yeah. The multipack shots, and—
Clive Smith: Slit-scan—
John Halfpenny: All these things that could be done so easily in compositing now.
Clive Smith: We had this computer, this Elicon computer that was about the size of this house.
Robin Budd: [laughs] Oh, right. There were refrigerators for the computers.
Clive Smith: Right. Every camera move that was programmed took Dennis Brown about a month to program.
John Halfpenny: "I'm working on that shot for section K." [laughter]
Clive Smith: He'd shoot it as many times as it took to get it right. That overhead shot [when Omar, Angel, Dizzy and Stretch drive toward Mok's home], which is a background about the size of this carpet here...
Anne Marie Bardwell: The one that nearly fried Louis [Krawagna].
John Halfpenny: And everybody that shot it more than once.
Clive Smith: They were like multiplane levels for the clouds.
You said that was spun glass, right?
Lenora Hume: We used fish filters.
Robin Budd: That was the city shot at night with all the little lights of cars.
John Halfpenny: Yeah, with street lights and the auto lights.
Robin Budd: Actual lights, pulled on little cables.
Lenora Hume: I spent about six months soldering [laughter] lights into that board.
Robin Budd: And the lights kept driving into the river. [laughter]
Lenora Hume: Yeah, there were little LED lights that we soldered onto the board, and then there was another pass that was the cars, and then the cars were done with a metal track that would be glued vertically. And then we made little magnets, we rubberized magnets and we'd airbrush the car lights on top of them. So the magnet was stuck to the metal band, and then the servo motors were all attached to the ends of the strings and it would pull them along these tracks. And of course, they had to stop for the red lights... [laughter]
Clive Smith: And go under the bridges.
Lenora Hume: The programming of it was incredible. And at the time I had an aquarium in my office. I think it was given to me by the camera department for my thirtieth birthday, or twenty-fifth birthday. We just raided the cupboard one night and threw some angel hair up on the multiplane to see how it would work, and it worked fantastic.
Clive Smith: And it worked better than all the airbrushing.
Lenora Hume: Yes. And it didn't scratch.
Robin Budd: Yeah, it's a pretty neat blend of mechanical things with, uh...
Larry Jacobs: Home tech.
Robin Budd: Home tech, yeah.
Clive Smith: There's another shot that has real flowers in it. The opening of the garden sequence.
Lenora Hume: Right. That was because we were looking at it through the viewfinder and we were saying there's not enough here, so I just went out and picked leaves off the tree, brought them in and laid them down on the multiplane, [because] I was saying, I'm not waiting and shooting this damn thing again.