I was in Las Vegas and I'd been put in touch with Walter Murch who I was keen to interview. Walter is known as being a bit radical when it comes to choosing technology for feature film production. In 2003 he decided to use Final Cut Pro to edit Cold Mountain, an 80 million dollar feature film.
Final Cut was untested for this type of production back then, Cinema Tools didn't exist, and even Apple weren't keen to support Walter in this venture. To pin the post-production needs of a major feature film on a $999 piece of software, to be edited on off the shelf G4's was slightly unusual and required a certain amount of guts and faith... Walter was prepared to take the risk.
I'd communicated by email with Walter who agreed to do the interview - though he let me know he was extremely busy and not to expect a huge amount of time. I agree to meet at the hotel, call his room and do the interview in the lobby or somewhere in the hotel where we could work without disturbing anyone.
I arrive at the hotel and ask for permission to film. I'm shuttled through several people by phone, until finally a manager explains that the only way we can film in the hotel is with written permission which needed to be organised in advance.
My interview with Murch is starting to look like it might not happen, I'm aware of time slipping away and Walter told me he was tight on time to begin with. My big interview is looking like unfolding into nothing more than a flurry of emails.
I argue/try to negotiate with the hotel management, progress seem impossible, then finally a breakthrough. Off the record they agree to let me film in Walter's hotel room. Whether or not Walter is keen for this remains to be seen. The hotel manager talks direct to me, saying to be discreet: "you wouldn't believe what people do, they come in here and film porno movies and all sorts..."
I reply that I'm only doing an interview - no chance of a porno movie.
I ring through to Walter and he says no problem, come up to the room.
He greets me and tells me he's short for time - he can only spare an hour. An hour! I was expecting 15 minutes.
I set up equipment, Walter carries on working on his laptop. Two cameras in place - I'm ready to go.
Walter in the chair, camera rolling, his face lights up and he talks with enthusiasm about his favourite subject. An hour flies by and we've covered the history of filmmaking, from the first cut, to the invention of Mylar tape, Moviola's, Kem's, tape, Avid, FCP... I feel like I'm recording history from one of the elders of a generation...
You can watch the interview with Walter Murch, on our sister site MacVideo...