Nine Inch Nails -- 'All That Could Have Been'
Trent Reznor discusses his group's technological evolution.

By AudioFile staff
December 25, 2001

Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails made industrial music a household term in the US with the release of "Pretty Hate Machine" in 1989. Today the band continues to push its creativity with the upcoming release of "All That Could Have Been," NIN's live concert DVD in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. "AudioFile" was lucky enough to be able to talk with Reznor about the technology of bringing NIN's concert experience into your living room.

TechTV: Could you give us some background on the DVD and how it got started?
Trent Reznor: I came up with the idea to release the DVD, and it's called "All That Could Have Been." After the tour got rolling I was pretty proud of what we had accomplished as far as the performance. The band was as good as it could be, and we really wanted to have a memento of what had happened, an acknowledgement of what had gone down -- proof that we had done this.

I looked into the format of DVD and what was possible and what the limitations were and working in surround sound and the improved video quality over VHS. We took the project on ourselves.

Last time we made the mistake of hiring a big professional film company and it felt awkward -- that they're filming with intrusive cameras. It disrupts the show and puts all your eggs in one basket. That's always the show that isn't what you wish it would be.

So I did a little research into mini-DV and different camera styles at that time. We're all Macintosh people. Final Cut Pro was brought out and I did some research into what you could and couldn't do with that. There were some questions about the amount of storage and what would and wouldn't work as far as editing, but we thought let's just use the format of mini-DV as our platform.

So we bought some Canon XL-1s, or that level camera, about eight of them I think, and just set them up and had 3 or 4 moving cameras per night and 4 or 5 stationary ones depending on the venue, and filmed every show for the remainder of the tour.

TechTV: How long do you think it took you to put together? Did you just start editing on the road?
Reznor: We didn't really start editing on the road so much as just looking at what we had footage-wise. We approached this thing like, "Lets start it in-house, and maybe [see] if it comes to a point where we need to hire an editor or somebody that knows what they're doing." If, for whatever reason -- our own inability or technically -- we couldn't pull it off.

We never hit that stage, but I did take quite a while. The amount of time would probably be a solid year. I was concentrating on the audio downstairs. Rob Sheridan ended up being the director and editor of the whole thing. I found [him] as a fan who did a NIN website. We were trying to find someone to do Web integration for us on the road.

He ended up programming our website and then we sat down and kind of had this idea and thought, "Lets just kind of see what happens," and it just kept on going and going. And so he worked on most of the editing, but it was back and forth. You know, if we didn't have a song done we'd have to kind of tweak it. If you're looking to get something done quickly I don't suggest doing it that way.

Nine Inch Nails' "All That Could Have Been" DVD will be released January 22, 2002