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Home arrow Interviews arrow Other related interviews arrow Peter Hearn and Tony Fish (animation editors) - July 2nd 1986 - with Brain Damage
Peter Hearn and Tony Fish (animation editors) - July 2nd 1986 - with Brain Damage Print E-mail

Unfortunately some of the recording of this interview was inaudible, so the transcript might appear a little disjointed in places. However, the interview was too interesting to keep from you, even if not perfect!

Peter Hearn (PH): We had a lot of film material, loads of it and they wanted to know what it was and they delivered about eight or nine hundred cans up here in a big wagon load of rusty film cans and we had the job of filing the whole bloody lot.

Glenn Povey (GP): Was that concert footage?

PH: No, all sorts of stuff, they came to us, so what we did, we had to divide it into sections [flicks through a huge Pink Floyd film catalogue] so...section A: Pompeii, Careful With That Axe, Saucerful Of Secrets, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. This was all the material they had shot.

GP: Including backdrops for stage shows?

PH: That's right. We weren't on Dark Side Of The Moon, we were on... There's that horrible Green Thing again! Rocks exploding, expensive car show, looking down a gun barrel, all Dark Side Of The Moon, and you've got albums on a conveyor belt. [Peter adopted a strange habit of starting a sentence, and then stopping to flick through the book quoting film sequences!]

GP: And Wish You Were Here film sequences?

PH: Yes, well, Tony...I was living in Canada then, Tony did that tour with them... Now this is the one I was on, the two of us did this.

GP: That was for the stage shows as well?

PH: What we did, it took us a long time, actually we started in 1979, in fact late 1978. I suppose preparing for it, all the way through... My God, when was it? Los Angeles shows in February 1980, that came to New York where we went; were on it for about 18 months, because what the idea was we shot all the material for it, well, Gerald Scarfe, and then suddenly Roger Waters was in Los Angeles where we were at that time and he wanted to turn it into a three screen epic.

GP: And of course a lot of that was used for the film.

PH: Yes, because we had forgotten about it, all long gone and Dave Gilmour... [here we go again!] There's No Way Out Of Here, all sorts of stuff. I can't read this... Animals, United Nations film they did the music for...

GP: So overall that kept you busy for the best part of two years I can imagine.

PH: Yes, and then we came back for the animated parts for the feature that Alan Parker brought out of Pinewood.

GP: So you had nothing to do with live action, it was all animation sequences?

PH: Yes, we did the two tours and edited the animation sequences of the feature film. I don't know how much material, 20 minutes I suppose, 25?

GP: And you went on tour with them as well?

PH: No, just went out to New York, that's all. The Nassau Coliseum.

GP: Caught fire on the first night didn't it, or was it Los Angeles?

PH: No, that was Los Angeles. No, the first night in New York...was I there the first night? Yes I was, and we couldn't get near the bloody place! We got in, but apparently inside there were lots of people being chased around by security guards. That was marvelous, a lot of people who couldn't get in started chanting "Tear Down The Wall" and they took part of the barrier and were bashing it against the windows to try and get in. It was quite something, and the next night there were so many barriers in the way, all around the Coliseum. I think that it was that other tours had been all over North America and all sorts of lots of other gigs and all this was just Los Angeles and New York. Not a lot!

GP: Too big to cart around.

PH: So they had people coming from Canada, West Coast, you know... [Disappears for a moment and brings back a couple of tour programmes] Have you got these?

GP: Oh yes, I've got those two!

PH: Oh, so you've seen them. [Flicks through them] What we had to do was, we had three projectors at the back of the auditorium, and we made the effort to try and colour grade the material, so that there was no join. But you know!

GP: ...Doesn't always work!

PH: No matter how accurate we were, or how close, the lights on the projectors played up.

GP: Roger Waters in 1984 went out on a tour on his own and used a lot of animation material by Gerald Scarfe; I was wondering if you had anything to do with that?

PH: Pro's and Cons Of Hitch Hiking - yes, we did that, the first half material.

GP: They showed a lot of Dark Side and Wish You Were Here material, but also a lot of new things.

PH: We didn't have anything to do with the second half, that was Nicholas Roeg that did all that material. So Roger Waters came up here and we had that book and we just sat in this room and looked over it just to jog his memory over what he wanted to use. It was a bit of a stroll down memory lane. He decided what he wanted to use, but we had some more material shot... what was that falling bombs, what was the number of that?

GP: They used that for Gunner's Dream.

PH: That's right, and we got all that material from the Imperial War Museum.

GP: Because they never had done that number before live.

PH: What was that on...The Final Cut.

GP: Yes, but they were going to tour in 1983, so I am told.

PH: All these years go to a blur; I even forget when the feature came out. What year was that?

GP: 1982 it came out and started around 1981, didn't it?

PH: Yes, that's right, we had finished in early 1980, with the concerts. I think we started 1981 on the film. A lot of the material was remade from that shown, but it certainly had its problems mounting this thing, well, it was quite an experience for me.

GP: Far different from anything you had done before.

PH: Yes, I would think so. In fact, it was funny, the three people who did it, one's a guy who is working here now, just started last week, reunited with him. The whole thing was on one screen and you can imagine just before the show he decided it should be three screens. Quite a task. A screaming hurry to do that. So we were frantically shooting all sorts of material for the side screens and we had this thing where stuff was neg.cut and graded and the prints were striped with a magnetic stripe down the edge. What we did was we had to move so quickly with this material, it was so difficult because with the Wish You Were Here material it was cut together and they could make alterations, or we could overnight put stuff on and change the timings. It wasn't possible with this because down this stripe the material had to be cut, negative cut and graded and printed, and then the print had to be striped with a magnetic coating, and then we had a thing called a mag link and so down there went the time code. Now the time code kept the three projectors together to run sync and frame accurate but the projector had to be linked to the eight track which carried all the anciliary backing music, the orchestra, and stuff like that, because the orchestra weren't on tour, and all the synthesiser effects, so this little old time code kept the projectors and the multi track in sync, the multi track held all the orchestra, all that sort of stuff, but it also held the foldback information going into these [Roger's huge headphones] click tracks, counts, counting in, so obviously it all had to go together.

GP: Was that difficult keeping everything going at once?

PH: So consequently when he made the alteration it wasn't just: "Okay, Roger, sure, put out a bit, put another bit in", it was back to the start! It was neg.cut it, print it again, stripe it again. All run out to Wembley. We all used to run out to Wembley to a music centre and the Floyd boys used to run down with their mag-link machine, plug it into the gear down there and it had to be done again.

GP: They must have been sick and tired of it at the end.

PH: Oh yes, it was a heavy workload, it really was. I remember he was just doing this number on the first night at New York, just prior to this wall coming down and he was just at the climax to syncing to hear old prick and balls judge, and the engineer told us that one of the foldback or something got fed back into the system and mag link tried to read it. It was right at the climax of this bloody thing, and the mag link threw the multitrack into fast rewind and the picture went grinding on and suddenly all the sound and music took off in a...[strange noise!] in the auditorium and he looked up in the control area and he tried to...God knows what happened! He tried to lip sync with the picture but the backing track was out of sync. I think what they finally did was switch over to a mix that was running along with the projector, but it was quite dramatic.

GP: A good show then.

PH: I loved it, just look at that. Incredible, never be another. Well, perhaps there will but certainly a spectacular show, never seen anything like it before. Just amazing.

GP: And Pros and Cons?

PH: The Wall was, in my opinion, much better.

GP: Well, obviously.

PH: Much more dramatic. I am sorry my memory of all these things is not incredibly good. There's so much stuff gone through here since then. If you hang on, he's the enthusiast, my partner Tony. He's got a long association with these guys, all that Wish You Were Here stuff. [Pause] That particular thing was an incredible piece of animation [flowers]. It was all individually rendered artwork, you know, all those pieces of artwork to be rendered by one Jill Brooks, who was up in Charlotte Street.

GP: I did a short spell of trace and paint for an animation company in London. I can imagine doing a whole thing like that. I think what we did was probably a ten minute pilot for a series. That's nothing on that though.

PH: When Fish and me went to New York we had never actually seen it on the three screens before. Working out the three screens was a bloke called Mike Stuart who animated it, he was the chief animator, but we had never actually seen it on three screens before. There was nowhere to do it, so we used to go over the road there and hire a three screen and it was a terrible screen, you know, a screen there, oand one over there [feet apart]. You can't really see it. So, the first night we saw the show in New York, we sat down in the audience and saw that wall going up, and when the picture came down, of course it was the first time we had ever seen it, although working on it we weren't able to see the results.

We had something go wrong with the time code and went into rehearsal in Los Angeles and the picture and sound went out, and I tell you what happened was we were having this conversation with this guy in Los Angeles who was sitting in a hotel bedroom spilling film all over the floor telling us what to cut and what to look for.

GP: Over the phone!

PH: And he was in the bedroom spilling all the film across the bed. Real old showbiz! Well, all their film material went back to their vault. [Disappears and reappears clutching a Wall film premiere booklet] Have you seen this?

GP: Yes, I've got two of those at home.

PH: You've got the lot!

GP: I've been collecting these things for a while.

PH: You're a collector!

GP: Yes. You had to rework the animation, the animation was different on the feature film.

PH: Yes, the concert was shot to an Academy ratio of 3 to 1, whereas this was Panavision so that was 2 to 6, so all the artwork had to be re-shot, but all the artwork was the wrong bloody size! So, in fact, there was a nightmare business of taking the artwork and trying to patch it up from Academy. [Roughly speaking Academy is what's called in the modern DVD world, "Fullscreen", and Panavision is "Widescreen"]

GP: So you had a problem (understatement).

PH: You had a problem. So I think what you will find if you look at the film, say the teacher in the classroom, that sort of stuff, you will find a strategically placed door frame there with a wall trying to fill it in. One hell of a job we had to re-vamp all the artwork for the new format. Sitting out at Pinewood in a house there, they had the animation unit trying to patch up the artwork. I thought when it came together it didn't show, did it? It worked, the patch-up.

GP: And a lot of the artwork was left out of the film that was used in the stage show.

PH: I'm trying to think what was in the film now...

GP: The trial, flowers...

PH: Hammers, of course...

GP: Goodbye Blue Skies, bit where the bird comes...

PH: Oh yes, of course it was, it came out of the white dove. That's right, Goodbye Blue Skies. Now was there anything specially manufactured; I don't think there was anything specially animated for the film.

GP: I was wondering if there was.

PH: Goodbye Blue Skies was used in the stage show. Or was it? Can't remember, sorry!

GP: Don't blame you - it was a long time ago, wasn't it?

PH: Some years now, I can't remember. It was a good experience anyway, it was a good thing to work on, certainly unique.

GP: You enjoyed it then.

PH: It had its moments.

Enter Tony Fish...

TF: Now what can I do for you?

GP: Well, I run a small Floyd fan magazine that I have been working on for about four months, it comes out monthly.

TF: Part of the official fan club. You are official?!

GP: There is no official fan club. I have tried to contact the members, I didn't get any response from them. So, I assume they are not interested or don't approve of these sort of things, I don't know.

TF: Well, they're a bit dissipated at the moment.

GP: So are you close to them, now or at times in the past working with them?

TF: Well, I started working with them, and I knew them, or been friends with them before they were the group, with a guitarist called Bob Klose, who I know personally. He was then with Syd, Rick, Nicky and Roger. They were playing around at their own parties, had parties and that...but I still see Bob Klose, but before I heard them or I met them before they were a band, I was a good friend of his, and the first I ever worked with them was on Wish You Were Here.

GP: And as Peter said that was animation work for that.

TF: Whenever that was?

GP: 1974-1975

TF: Which included a bit of Animals in the show, and of course I was right on the beginning of The Wall, before the album came out which was basically Roger Waters and Gerald Scarfe then....

PH: You know Raymond Briggs? The Christmas stuff. The Snowman - well, they're making a feature film, an animated feature film of When The Wind Blows, which is sort of nuclear armageddon, and it's two old people in it and I think they've got Roger Waters writing the music for it.

GP: Oh really?! Yes, I've got the cartoon book.

PH: Yes and David Bowie has as well, hasn't he? And Roger Waters is doing all the incidental music for it.

GP: Well, there was talk of another album from what I have heard, but that is the first I've heard of that.

PH: How recently?

GP: Last year, autumn I suppose. I mean even at the time of the Pros and Cons shows in 1984 he was supposed to be working on another album, but obviously because Floyd release an album every three years or so he's obviously giving it time to mature as it were.

TF: I don't think it's going to be a new Floyd album, I think When The Wind Blows is something else.

GP: Well, there are always these rumours of Floyd getting back together or this and that. They have never officially split up so it's all been like that.

PH: I remember going over to Britannia Row and they had one of these machines upstairs [a Steinbeck, which is a small screen viewer] in the Pink Floyd office and they had all these wires trailing from it all the way down the stairs into the basement somewhere. What's his name, Nigel...? Anyway, Nigel had the other end of these pieces of wire connected into machinery that was going on tour, all the gear, and the great moment came and they stuck the film on and ran it upstairs. Everything worked downstairs and there was a lot of relief. Then we came down stairs, there was Robbie, the other guy came out and said "I've just got a call from Los Angeles and one of the pieces of music has been changed", which is then when we had to go back to reprint, restripe.

TF: Have you seen the Arnold Layne promo?

GP: No, never seen that. Got a copy then??

TF: There's only one copy in existance and we didn't transfer any copies away, at one point we actually catalogued it, so we saw the thing but the cutting room where all the stuff is to do that would have done it for us!! [In other words - breach of trust - loss of job!] We had so much stuff up here on The Wall we didn't have time even!

PH: We found all that material of them inflating the pig at Battersea and the bloody thing wouldn't inflate! Yards and yards of it.

TF: But it was lucky we catalogued it because it made it easier to work with like the Pros and Cons show which made it easier putting it all together when we got all the material out of the vaults. So all that was hashed out of all the old stuff.

GP: So apart from that there are rumours rife that Nick Mason has filmed a lot of their concerts.

TF: Certainly made a video of the Wall concerts.

GP: I've got an early draft script of The Wall film and it was actually mentioned the use of concert footage.

TF: Well, this was prior to the film.

GP: Well they scrapped the idea eventually about using that in the feature film.

PH: Yes, they did actually go and shoot the concert.

TF: The whole of the concert was shot with three camera videos.

PH: I would love to see it.

GP: Me too!!

TF: They should put it out on video I think.

PH: This is really dredging the memory. Seven years ago that was.

GP: Apparently they were going to tour in 1983 but Roger Waters called it off. I just wondered if anything new was shot for that, or did you deal with anything then?

PH: When was Pros and Cons?

GP: 1984.

PH: 1984?

GP: I seem to remember reading somewhere about an interview with Roger Waters in a magazine that they had called off tour plans and were just about ready to go on the road apparently. Did that affect you at all?

TF: All I would have thought was taking the Wall back on the road.

PH: What was Nick Mason on about, he was talking about something...

TF: At the last concert of The Wall he said it was not the end of it, it wasn't over...

GP: In 1981?

TF: The last concert of The Wall.

PH: The end party at Earls Court in 1981.

TF: All I can say is in 1983 they may have been thinking of putting The Wall out again. But they would most certainly come to us.

GP: Well maybe they had second thoughts, a bit too much the first time around. Obviously because of the size of it a lot of people didn't get to see it which was a shame. It was amazing wasn't it?

TF: People in camping vans, camping gear and all sorts, and they were charging the doors in the end because they couldn't get in.

PH: I think I seem to remember the promoter over there. He tried to get them to stay another week, he was willing to buy out the next weeks events. So I heard, I don't know how true that is.

TF: Would have sold out. They were sleeping on the pavements outside Earls Court. They had people from Sweden, Germany; you had to travel to go and see that show unless you happened to be in London, Los Angeles, New York or Dortmund. I mean that was it - they didn't play anywhere else.

GP: Do you know if anyone has brought the rights to the Wall film for television?

TF: I don't know.

PH: When the sales of the video slow down maybe.

TF: It may well be on a seven year thing rather than a three year one.

GP: Be nice if they showed it and more of the other stuff on television. Especially things like the Arnold Layne promo. The Scarecrow has been on before.

PH: I over ever saw that up here that time.

TF: Well, I had better get back to work now.

GP: Well certainly nice talking to you.

PH: As I say, it's a bit of a memory dredge, a lot of stuff gone through here since then.

TF: It was always interesting doing that sort of stuff culminating in The Wall. But it was fascinating for me because we were working on it for a long time, but never seeing apart from on that triple screen, which caused a lot of problems because they weren't butted up together, but...

PH: As I said, it was a great moment when we finally saw it work.

TF: Over in New York it was great for us because working on films as editors a long time, it was a whole new ball game and experience. Normally you go and see it in a cinema and that's it, but in a concert it was great with about 10,000 people who thought it was great and when the music and the image came together there was a great wave of excitement, which I have never actually seen or had a response like that before.

GP: Did you have a large crew?

TF: Well there was just us two and Chris Wyatt, who's been consistently involved from Wish You Were Here through to The Wall, and he did Pros and Cons as well. But we enjoyed it, many late nights, the material was good and the music was good, and we enjoyed it very much.

GP: Well, thanks again.

TF: Don't forget to send me the next issue!

GP: Will do, thanks.

PH: Another funny thing was when we were on Pros and Cons we went out to rehearsals at a big hanger which used to be a V bomber hanger and it was up near Cambridge, and the whole thing had gone over to an army training camp which was terrifying - all these squaddies marching around being shouted at and swinging their arms, and we had a break when we went to the NAAFI [British Army canteen] sitting in there having tea. Quite a collision of two worlds, because outside they were all squaddies marching around and sergeants, and inside the hangar were all these roadies setting up the show. Like they were on a different planet.

GP: Well, I had better be on my way, and let you get on.

PH: Yes, alright then...

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