Hollywood post facility Chainsaw creatives won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Special (Single or Multi-Camera) for the 4-hour HBO special The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert.

Chainsaw's DeRonde (left) and Polito

The award honored company principals and multi-Emmy Award winners Bill DeRonde and Michael Polito as well as Chainsaw editor John Zimmer and freelance editor Mark Stepp.

Chainsaw handled creative editorial, color grading and final editorial, based on over 100 hours of source material, within a two-week deadline. At Madison Square Garden in NYC, the HBO special featured a laundry list of big rock-and-roll stars from Aretha Franklin and Ozzy Osbourne to Bono, Mick Jagger, and Bruce Springsteen.

Studio Daily spoke to DeRonde about the challenges in editing and post-producing the special. “It was one of those projects you wait for,” he said. “I’ve always been into music, and getting to edit a project with that many of your musical heroes was great.”

Editing music presents specific challenges. “It’s all about trying to edit on and around the beat,” said DeRonde. “At this concert, we really wanted to focus on the people on stage. You usually show a lot of different angles but this was about showcasing the artists so it was different than many concerts we do. It was more filmic, slower than the typical concert film. Having Mick Jagger on stage with U2 and Fergie, there were a lot of on-stage dynamics with artists who don’t usually perform together. We had 18 to 20 cameras focused on the main characters on stage. We had all the great single shots. We were always looking for the shots allowing us to cross from one artist to the other.”

The biggest challenge was all that footage—the concert took place over two nights—and a 14-day deadline. “We were online and color-correcting while we were still changing shots,” said DeRonde. “Usually you’d dissect every shot and make sure you didn’t miss any moment you wanted to catch on stage. With this deadline, we didn’t get a chance to sit with it and live with it. You have to go with your first instinct. Being a musician makes you a better editor. It’s not always cutting on the beat … you have to feel the transition. When you do it, you know when it feels right.”