"It was kind of a bummer, first time around. I was like, "why aren't we documenting this?"

It's difficult to remember now, but The Postal Service's Give Up - now certified platinum in the U.S. - was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an instant success. Back in 2003, Death Cab for Cutie had yet to ascend to the top tier of indie rock - they'd begin that process later the same year, with the release of - and Rilo Kiley's breakthrough record, More Adventurous, was a mere glint in Jenny Lewis' eye. Even the story - now etched into musical folklore - of how The Postal Service came up with their name seems archaic by now; in a world before Dropbox, Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello would mail each other CDs with song ideas between Seattle and Los Angeles respectively, with pretty much zero face-to-face interaction involved in the making of the album.

They had a hard time booking shows for their one and only tour, with promoters flummoxed by just what it was they were buying into, and whilst the venues kept getting bigger over the course of the run, it wasn't until after they'd returned to their primary projects that Give Up really took on a life of its own. Gibbard and Tamborello did have a stab at a second album, but discarded efforts early on; the two songs they did manage, 'Turn Around' and 'A Tattered Line of String', would eventually see the light of day years later.

Still, pretty much every interview Gibbard gave in the intervening years finished with a question about whether there'd ever be further Postal Service activity. He joined Twitter in 2011, and was inundated with similar pestering from fans to such a degree that he actually updated his bio to read "THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR ANOTHER POSTAL SERVICE LP." He made no such promises about a tour, though, and in 2013, it came to pass; for the majority of their fanbase, it presented the opportunity to hear Give Up live for the first and - probably - only time. For Justin Mitchell, a filmmaker from Los Angeles who had known the band from the beginning, it offered up the chance to right what he'd spent ten years seeing as a major wrong - that he'd never had the chance to document them before. The result is Everything Will Change, which captures the group playing two nights at Berkeley's iconic Greek Theater just days before they split for good.

"I remember bugging somebody, whether it was management or Ben or whoever, and saying, 'this would be such a great story to tell.' The way they'd made this record, the fact that they didn't know each other too well in the beginning: from an outside perspective, it was really fascinating. There wasn't much response to the idea - with it being, initially, like a side project thing, I don't think they wanted to draw too much focus away from their other bands - but I went out on the road to make a film with Death Cab the following year, and so I've kept in touch with Ben since, and I directed a video for Jenny a few years back, too."

When Gibbard announced the band's reunion for a limited run of shows - designated, from the beginning, as their last ever - opportunity knocked for Mitchell. "I was like, OK, this is it: I'm really gonna bug them this time. I put together a really nice director's treatment, with the concept being that I would go out on the road with them. I didn't hear anything back - which was to be expected, given how busy they all were - but I think they always had the idea in the back of their minds that documenting the reunion would be cool. I went out to see them play in Pomona during the very first run of shows, right around Coachella, and whilst we were hanging out afterwards - I'd had a few drinks - I just kind of exclaimed, 'why am I not filming you guys?!' And they kind of insinuated that they wanted to do it, but that they were still getting their heads around the complexities of playing again."

After that first leg of the tour culminated in appearances on the main stage at both weekends of Coachella, the band headed to Europe for just five shows - one in Manchester, two in London, one in Paris and a Primavera slot. A lengthy U.S. jaunt followed, with the obvious highlight two mammoth arena gigs in New York. "Eventually, I went out to film a what was basically a mini-documentary on the band in Brooklyn, Some Idealistic Future," Mitchell explains. "They played two nights, both sold out, at Barclays Center, which is fucking huge; we shot a few of the songs and interspersed it with to-camera interviews at the venue, as well as a little bit of Jimmy at home, digging out all his old equipment - like, laughably old laptops and that kind of thing - and talking about how he reworked the songs for the new tour. It came out great, and straight away we had an offer to shoot a proper concert film. At that point, the tour was beginning to draw to a close, so I knew we had to hit the ground running."

When Mitchell travelled with Death Cab back in 2004 to produce Drive Well, Sleep Carefully, he came up with a film that was essentially half-documentary - there's no shortage of behind-the-scenes footage and discussions with members of the band - and half-live show, with a full setlist's worth of songs captured in their entirety. Everything Will Change, though is different. "It's a straightforward concert film, for sure," he says. "I think the general principle for the band, in terms of the tour in general as well as the movie, was to make the music the focus; here are the songs, and let's have the music at the forefront rather than having some exploration of it through dialogue. There are snippets of documentary stuff - little nuggets that the hardcore fans will dig, I think - and they tie the film together nicely, but otherwise, the focus was just on getting a full show down, and concentrating on the live experience."

The venues that Mitchell shot footage at for the Death Cab film were relatively modest compared to the Greek, an outdoor amphitheatre with a capacity of almost 6000; he admits that it was quite the leap in terms of the practicalities. "I guess I figured it out in maybe the same way that a band deals with that jump; you know what works at a small level, so you can begin to relatively extrapolate outwards, and just feel your way through it. The problems are always issues of like, "well, it'd be great to put a camera in there, but it's going to piss people off who are in the audience and block their view." Just because we only had two nights to shoot didn't give us the right to get in the way of people, so that's usually the challenge. That, and making sure you capture the sound in a way that captures the size and scale of the place - we managed that, I think, with the ProTools rig we had. The more I think about those little awkward problems, the more I feel like I'm going to break out in hives; everything came about at short notice, so we were constantly working against the clock."

Given that it was released well over a year since the band played their last show, you could take the view that Everything Will Change will be the final Postal Service release; Gibbard prefaced the final song of the night at Chicago's Metro in August 2013 by announcing, "this is the last show we'll ever do." Mitchell, though, says the weight of that responsibility didn't distract from the process of putting the film together. "Personally, I could never say absolutely definitely that it's the last thing, but there was never any pressure in that respect, I don't think. I was never like, 'this is it, last chance, we have to capture all of the story and all of the ins and outs'; instead, I suppose it was more, 'let's get a really good document of these songs, so that folks have something to look back on.' Drilling down into the story was never a major factor."

Mitchell has been party to pretty much all of that story, though; he was able to pick up on both the similarities and the differences between the reunion tour and its counterpart from ten years ago. "I think there's a soundbite in there, something like, 'yeah, there's a tour bus now, but we're still living on top of each other.' And it was kinda true. That one tour that they did first time around, 2003 or 2004, they didn't really know each other, and suddenly they were sharing the same beds in motel rooms. Ben hadn't spent much time with Jimmy in person before that tour, and he cold-called Jenny about getting involved having never spoken to her before - there was a lot of unfamiliarity back then. This time, because they all have their own things going on most of the time, there was obviously a parallel - reconnecting and reestablishing friendships, in the same way that they actually became friends ten years ago."

"Then, at the same time, there was obviously an enormous difference in terms of scale - I remember thinking that on the way out to Barclays from Manhattan, about what a far cry it was from a decade ago. But they're all such pros, and they worked everything out so painstakingly and methodically, that I never did pick up on any sense of nervousness. They seemed to really relish those big shows. By the time they got to the Greek, they were only a week or so away from the final show ever, so everything was very well-honed. It was a good time for me to catch them. We shot two nights, but everything was so slick, so well put-together, that you can't really tell where we've mixed the shots. It was amazing to see how well they worked it out, when the basis for this tour was a bunch of ten-year-old computers that Jimmy had kicking around, some of which didn't even work any more."

As a fan, though, there was probably a little bit of a risk factor involved for Mitchell; having to edit the film himself, spending hundreds of hours poring over the footage, you have to wonder if he's absolutely sick of the songs by now. "It was an arduous process, for sure. I co-edited with a friend of mine, and we had a lot of options, given that we shot both nights, a lot of different ways to go about it, and I knew I was definitely going to need some time away from it when I'd finished. I haven't seen it for a while, but we've got a screening coming up here in Burbank where all of us who worked on it are going to go and check it out - hopefully, that'll be the moment where we can sit back and see that it worked out. When you're knee-deep in the process, focusing on minute little details like colour correction and that type of thing, it can be very difficult to step away from it, look at it objectively and be like, "a-ha!" Even once we locked the cut, I didn't feel one hundred percent relaxed about it until we got the band's feedback; they dug it, so I guess we did our job."

Everything Will Change - named after the final, life-affirming refrain on 'Brand New Colony', the track the band closed their shows with - was shown in cinemas in the States, something that Mitchell could never have envisioned starting out - either for himself, or for the band. "I never thought about that. I actually only even found out about it recently - Sub Pop very much took the ball and ran with it. It says a lot about them, really; they were so cool to work with. I was like, 'hey, I know a bunch of distributors who might be able to help us out,' and they were totally happy just to put it out themselves. It's totally in the vein of the way they operate, and pretty fitting, if you think about it. This album was such a slow burner in terms of its success - I mean, before that first tour, they actually struggled to book shows at all - and Sub Pop definitely took a little bit of a gamble on the record back when they agreed to put it out. It's awesome that it paid off so handsomely for everybody, all these years later; I was just happy to be a small part of the story."

Everything Will Change is available now digitally and on Blu-Ray/DVD via Sub Pop.