Welcome behind the scenes again. As I’ve noted before, making a television show is not all beer and skittles. You don’t simply show up, go hunting, then send the tape to a network. There are a lot of steps between booking a hunting trip and lounging on the couch in your skivvies watching the show on TV.
One of the most onerous tasks we face is reviewing all the raw footage, culling the bad from the good and ultimately interpreting it for you. While I love every part of a hunt and so do you when you’re in the field, viewers would reach for the remote after more than a few seconds of us walking through a field watching dogs on a fruitless search for absent birds.
So it’s about striking a balance between scenic shots, personal interaction, what magazine editors call “think pieces,” and the adrenaline rush-inducing flushes and dog work that crystallize our hunting experience to its most pungent essence. Some will simply slap their few good clips together and insult your intelligence. Telling a story requires a more deliberate process. It also means shooting longer every day, spending more time afield and working hard for good shots that will capture and hold your attention.
To paraphrase the old saw, bird hunting footage is hours of mind-numbing boredom punctuated by moments of almost-wet-your-pants pandemonium. Our job is to make the call on what’s what.
Most times, it means taking a really cool long-ish sequence and distilling it to the good stuff tucked amongst the slower, less-relevant material. Once editor Tad Newberry and I have identified those portions of the raw footage, Tad goes to work making it watchable. He cuts, pastes, cuts again, puts in material from the other camera, and repeats (over and over again).
Want to try it? Here’s the raw material. How would you cut it together?