Digital Dust: The Jam Nation Episode

Written by Dean Budnick
Jan 29,2004

Last June, Jaclyn Ranere and her Moonshoot Productions team (well okay, on this shoot just Jaclyn) shot Reid Genauer & The Assembly of Dust when the band performed on our Jam Nation radio show in Hartford. She later used the footage to create an episode of her Digital Dust video series with AOD. Here's a link to the episode itself. Take a look and then come back to read the interview with Jaclyn about the episode and her ongoing efforts (and please excuse my Bob Weir shorts, I swear it was really hot in there that day...)

***** DB- First off, how did the Digital Dust series come about?
JR- It started with one video. The band hired me to do a Somerville theater video and I ended up doing a second one from that because the first one went over so well. Then Reid liked it so much that we kept on going and we came up with the idea of branding it as a formal series.
DB- Step back, prior to that how did you first become involved in this type of work?
JR- I went to Boston University and went through their film program. I didn't listen to any of the jamband scene until my last semester of college. I was doing an editing project with a friend and she used to nanny for Jaimoe of the Allman Brothers. She hooked us up with Butch Trucks and we ended up doing a few shoots with Frogwings which ended up being our final editing project where we did a couple of songs. Derek Trucks opened those shows and that really hooked me into the scene and it's also when I really fell in love with editing concert footage [Note: check out the Moonshoot site for a video of "Pattern."]
DB- For a typical episode of Digital Dust what is your ratio, how much do you shoot?
JR- We shoot the entire show and then Reid will look at the setlist and tell me what songs he thought were performed well. Then I use those songs he picked and figure out timing-wise what we can do and what footage looks the best.
DB- The view from the stage and the one onto the stage can differ. So do you typically agree with Reid's selection in terms of a song choice?
JR- I would say generally. There are times though where one song blew me away but didn't necessarily do it for the band
DB- Who wins that debate?
JR- Reid {laughs]
DB- Do the themes always present themselves on the night of the show itself? Or do you go back and do interviews to sculpt the material?
JR- Sometimes we'll do interviews at other shows. For instance at the Jam Nation shoot I did an interview with Reid for an episode that was run a few months before the Jam Nation one. It just depends on what we might want to do with it because we don't know when we shoot the concert what the theme of the episode will be.
DB- How do you arrive at those?
JR- Sometimes I'll propose an idea to Reid and sometimes he'll propose one to me, there's a lot of collaboration.
DB- Aside from the Jam Nation episode, is there one that you find most entertaining to you or representative of what you hope to achieve?
JR- I really like the third one. That was the first weekend that I spent with the band and I was pretty much with them for that whole weekend. I shot a lot of backstage footage and they were rehearsing a song that they we ended up using from the stage that night ("Avenue of the Giant") so it ended up fitting perfectly. I used the first two verses from the rehearsal backstage and then edited it into the middle of the song on-stage, and you get a nice personal view of the band as well because it's just them hanging out backstage.
DB- With all the footage that you shoot how long does it take to winnow it all down into an episode?
JR- The Jam Nation episode I did in a weekend. Reid didn't give me any guidance in terms of songs to use so I went with what I thought came across the best. Because it was such an open-ended form it was more difficult but it was also really fun to do. I had so many different types of footage, from you and Jeff in the studio, to your interview, to the band setting up for soundcheck, to the band on the air.
DB- You had one camera there that day which you operated yourself. Is that typical or do you often have a multiple camera shoot?
JR- We usually have two cameras. For Jam Nation we had one because logistically it seemed like the wiser choice. It was difficult for me because I'm used to having two camera and at times I cringe because the camera movement is not necessarily as smooth as it could be where normally I could cover that up with a second camera.
DB- How often do you end up shooting something that is real entertaining but you just can't use?
JR- All the time. At the Jam Nation shoot I have footage of Reid outside, it's just him on a picnic table playing "Amplified Messiah." It's a nice personal, intimate two minutes of footage but it didn't really seem to fit in with the rest of episode.
DB- My memory of that night is being exhausted after the show and not wanting to do the interview because I needed to start the hour and a half drive home to get some sleep. I was in the final stages of writing my Jambands book and that weekend my wife and daughter had left the house to visit with friends. So in an effort to take full advantage of that I was up for about 2 days straight just writing and editing. I was weary and bleary after the on-air performance. But Reid asked me to do it and it only seemed fair given the fact that the band had made the effort to come out and do our show. Plus, I certainly dig AOD. My memory though is grabbing some caffeine, sitting down and then becoming energized because Jeff sort of entered a "I'm a Talking Head on TV" mode which in my semi-delirium I thought came off a bit too stiff. So I seem to remember busting chops although that's not in the episode.
JR- Some of that's in there. [Laughs].
DB- Okay but I'd still like to see the Jam Nation outtakes reel. [Laughs] And other than that, what else do you have on your plate?
JR- I did some stuff for Percy Hill and Strangefolk's DVD that came out in September. I also just finished a project for Stephen Kellogg, his enhanced CD, that will be out in a couple weeks.
DB- And if another band wants to work with you, are you taking on other projects?
JR- I am. I still hear from people.