Some sequences are mixed blessings.
What else do you call an amazing opportunity to cut a wild river rapids adventure featuring footage from an HDcam, three HDV cameras, and three GoPros?
That’s HOURS of footage, my friends, for roughly two minutes of screen time.
Because we had a longer deadline for this show, and because I was paranoid about missing out on any sound or visual element that would amaze… I watched everything.
Seriously. Everything.
This was one of the few times I tagged and sorted all the footage of a sequence before cutting one frame. Which helped me identify all the pieces I needed to create epic wipe-outs… and provided a rough idea on how to structure the sequence.
At the same time I was sifting through the footage, I was also thinking through what role music would play.
I always knew, for example, that music should mimic the adventure itself: preparation, setting off, rapids, and quiet resolution.
In viewing the footage, I spotted what I needed to transition from one part of the adventure to the next; the guide yelling out in the open being the pivot from setting off to rapids, for example.
Of course all this meant that I indulged… a LOT. And the editor’s cut of this sequence went roughly 45 to a minute longer than what aired.
No worries, though. That longer cut lives on in DVD extras.


My first cut of this sequence was both long… and wrong.
The “long” part is understandable: the plight of these baby turtles is fascinating to watch.
You never really tire of it; rooting for them to make it all the way to sea’s edge.
The “wrong” part, though… I was playing off “cute” and soundtracked this with a music box melody I’d been kicking around in my head for awhile.
What eventually worked, of course, was music that played off “fragile”. Something that straddled the divide between how cute these creatures are…
and how precarious is their existence.