Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Student director talks about Lee Day Batman video

Lee student Kyle Philippi directed, filmed and acted as the Joker in the Lee Batman video shown during Lee Day last weekend.

"People thought I was pretty crazy trying to direct them in clown makeup," Philippi said.

Just the shooting and editing alone took more than 70 hours, he said, not including all of the time spent setting up lights, getting in makeup, etc. Filming started during Christmas break.

"We filmed for 12 hours one day and it was only 20 minutes worth of actual footage," he said. "It took forever."

Philippi directed the videos for Lee Day in 2007 and has since directed the entire Lee Day program for the last two years.

He went into this year's program planning to make it the best as his final time at the helm, but Philippi said he's considering directing again next year.

"I told Phil [Cook], I said, 'Come mid-fall, if I've got some ideas, then I'll do it again."

All of the audio for the video was completely remastered.

"Jimmy Harper came to our house and did all the voice over work [for his scene]," Philippi said. "Everybody came to the house and did voiceover work."

The idea for the Batman video began last year, long before Lee Day.

"[Alan McClung] was going to have coffee mugs on a utility belt," he said. "...It was just luck of the draw that I turned out being the joker."

Philippi said that a heavy rain over Christmas break caused the creek in Schimmel's Park to run high, leading to the scene where a student gets rescued from the rushing water.

"I took the school's light kit and it was pooring rain when we filmed that," he said. "We had nine people out there holding umbrellas.... we had a firefighter there."

Even recording artist Jason Crabb made a cameo in the video.

Philippi said that he even planned an alternate ending for the video.

"It was going to show the Joker holding someone hostage on the Conn Center roof during the day when Batman doesn't come out," he said. "McClung was looking out the blinds of his office... in the next shot you see him just standing up there. Alan McClung versus the Joker and he just totally rips the Joker apart. He lets him have it as just Alan McClung with his coffee mug."

Another ending Philippi considered showed McClung putting on an Iron Man mask when the secretary from the opening scene closes his office door once more.

"We had six different Batmans," he said. "McClung was never in the suit except for that one shot when he put that mask on."

Philippi said that a sequel could be made in the future.

"There were a couple more shots we wanted to add; we just never got around to it," he said. "Parents seemed to really like it. Faculty gave it really good reviews. One of them told me it was the best they had seen in 15 years."

• The music for the Batman video was composed by Hans Zimmer for "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight".

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