Editing the Footage
After the concert, the filmmakers handed Albright nearly 15 hours of raw footage, which he edited on an iMac using Apple Final Cut Express
. (Qualifying nonprofits can also find a variety of donated and discounted video-editing and training software on TechSoup Stock
.) Although Project Moonshine had recorded the concert using its own microphones, Sonic Youth allowed Albright to use the professionally recorded music from the band's soundboard, a development the director called "a huge plus."
Synchronizing the band's audio recordings with the teenager's video concert footage wasn't too difficult, said Albright. Because the band's drummer started each song by clicking his drumsticks together, Albright simply located the first click in both the video recorded by the teenagers and the audio provided by the band, then lined up the two files in Final Cut Express as closely as possible. He also used the software to convert the original color footage to black and white, which he felt would give the film more of a raw feel that would suit the band's music.
A production still from "Sleeping Nights Awake" captures Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore in action. Photo courtesy of Project Moonshine.
Since Project Moonshine lacked the budget to purchase more than one computer for video editing, Albright did a lot of the technical editing work himself, though he frequently asked the teenagers for their input on what footage to include. Lower was also on hand for 20 to 25 percent of the editing process, which he said was often tedious but enjoyable too.
Premeiring the Film
After showing Sonic Youth several sample pieces and getting its blessing, Project Moonshine ended up with an 80-minute film that contains concert footage, interviews with band members, and even some footage of the filmmakers themselves. In March of 2007, Project Moonshine debuted a version of "Sleeping Nights Awake" at San Francisco's NoisePop Film Festival, though Albright says that the organization is still editing the documentary in order to finalize it for potential DVD distribution.
Project Moonshine also finished its film on Artown, entitled "Being Here," in January of 2007. For its next project, another group of teenagers will bicycle across Nevada this summer to film some of the state's historic sites.
Lower believes that his participation in the program not only taught him videography fundamentals but also helped him become a better interviewer and gave him exposure to editing software. He credits Albright and Project Moonshine for a willingness to take chances and for letting the teenagers capture all the footage.
"He [Albright] had a giant opportunity and he put it in the hands of a few high school kids with almost no experience," said Lower. "The principle of Project Moonshine was that the students film everything, and he stuck by that."