CD/Editor, VFX Artist and Co-Founder, BUTCHER
TRUST sits down with BUTCHER‘s Dave Henegar to talk mentorship, motion graphics, and celebrating the company’s 10th birthday.
As I think back, many of my favorite projects tended to be the longer format internet projects like AT&T’s “Daybreak” series and Google/Lion’s Gate “Hunger Games” short films. These types of projects have no time constraints, which allows me the freedom to create more natural pacing and traditional storytelling. That said, I‘ve had great experiences with commercials too. One that stands out was Chevy’s “Strong” campaign by Bob Richardson of Tool. Chevy allowed me to travel with Bob for seven days, which turned out to be an incredible learning experience. Bob is tremendously talented and I’ve always admired his style, so being able to watch him work and edit on set was a true blessing.
What was the initial spark that attracted you to creative editorial?
I was lucky enough to grow up in the age of apprenticeship. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by a brilliant editor named Steve Perry. Steve had a way of editing the same film 15 different ways and showing me how an editor can impact the final outcome of any project. Up until that time I had always wanted to direct. It wasn’t until I worked under Steve that I realized the type of influence I could have on a story through the editorial process.
How did your career as an editor evolve toward a focus on VFX and Motion Graphics as well, and how do these two sides of your career affect each other?
Thankfully, my mentor had an insatiable desire to learn every aspect of post production. He bought every piece of software he could get his hands on and then taught himself. Coming from an art and design family, I took what I learned technically from Steve and applied it to my edits. Motion graphics became a big part of my editorial career around 1997-98 when I began cutting BMW commercials for Fallon. I had taught myself all the standards like After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator and began designing the motion graphics for commercials. I did it because I loved it, not because I thought they’d like it. Luckily with some guidance from some of the greatest designers at Fallon, I learned to hone the craft and began incorporating my type design and motion graphics into the final broadcast spots.
How do you view the production industry differently now from when you first started, and what are some exciting things that you look forward to seeing more of in the industry?
When I started editing, we would see two or three hours of film for a 30 second spot. Today, with the proliferation of digital cameras, I’ve seen projects that have 5 to 10 cameras capturing the action from every conceivable angle, which leads to a tremendous amount of footage. I recently worked on a project that delivered 35 hours of footage and the client wanted to see a rough cut in two days. I had to explain to them that if I sat and watched all their film it would take me at least three 12 hour days to simply to watch it much less have anything edited. So the craft of production has changed quite a bit. What I am excited to see is the new generation of directors who’ve had a very high quality camera since the age of six, doing experimental, out of the box kinds of projects that many of us simply could not have done with the expensive bulky equipment of the past. We’re seeing much more accomplished in a shorter time and with amazing results.
You’ve done great work for numerous globally recognized brands including Google, AT&T, Starbucks, HBO, Lexus and a more. What are some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on throughout your career and what made those stand out?
Probably the most memorable projects for me were the ones for HBO. HBO has an unbelievable marketing and advertising group that is open to just about any idea the agency throws at them. They’re fearless and they love taking risks. So when BBDO NY proposed some brilliant ideas to them, ones that would make many other clients panic, HBO embraced them and encouraged them not only to produce them, but to make them the best they could possibly be. I was so thankful to be a part of three of those large, complex, web-based projects that all garnered Cannes Lions. Not because of anything I did, but because, as a team, everyone was encouraged to contribute ideas to the project and push it to be the best it could possibly be.
I was so thankful to be a part of three of those large, complex, web-based projects that all garnered Cannes Lions. Not because of anything I did, but because, as a team, everyone was encouraged to contribute ideas to the project and push it to be the best it could possibly be.
From where do you draw your daily inspiration?
I am inspired daily by the work of my fellow editors at shops from around the country. I see so many short films and commercials that make me say, “I wish I had cut that!” I’m always amazed by the technique and style of many of my competitors and fellow editors.
As BUTCHER celebrates a decade of success, what are some goals you have for the company and personally the next few years?
We have been incredibly blessed to pass the 10 year mark as a small editorial house. Rob and I always wanted to keep it small, intimate, and highly creative. We never wanted Butcher to become a factory where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. However, moving forward we are excited about expanding our visual effects department as well as our editorial. Coming from the agency side, Rob and I both have a very high expectation of quality and delivering what the clients expect. Our goal and focus is expanding the company to meet our clients needs in a cost effective, yet creative way.