Produced, Shot & Edited By: Rick Morris, r.e.m films
In part one of Rick Morris’s “Under the Arctic Ice” series viewers caught a glimpse of what is involved in an Arctic research expedition and what conditions are like in the polar bear’s playground.
Part 2 gives an inside view of how the logistics for such an involved project are handled and how the divers and their gear get to the Polar Sea. More than a year of pre-planning and hundreds of hours of correspondence all boil down to one day of frenetic activity.
Creating a film is really a series of events. One of those events, or should it be called a building block, is the sequence. A sequence is a series of clips, still images or graphics, edited together, that describe or create a picture of what your story is about. Sounds simple but in reality building great sequences can make or break your films and they can require a lot of planning and creativity. It is also important to realize that a film is actually a sequence you create with a series of sequences edited together. Confused? Don’t be, it’s actually quite simple and just sounds confusing. To highlight this concept a simple series of clips will be edited together creating one brief moment within a film.
In order to ferry research teams to and from the Coast Guard Ice Breaker, Polar Sea, as seen in the “Under the Ice” series, 2 helicopters were flown from the Barrow Alaska airport to the ship that was anchored several miles off shore. Now it is easy to load and take off from land but how about when the airstrip is the deck of a rolling ship at sea. In reality, the entire process, from gearing up to the final walk into the ship’s hanger takes about half an hour but that is far too long for a single event in any film. In this project the final sequence was shot, single camera, over a period of two days and edited to seem like one event (the sequence). This is where the planning really comes in. First, creating a basic outline of events to be covered for the film allowed the cameraman to know that each individual phase of the transit would have to be covered, from multiple angles. The event was filmed five times to cover each individual stage and angle. Second, several steps in the transit were filmed in slow motion for effect. Third, each individual clip was edited to the required length and finally, edited together to create the final sequence. Electronic Magic!
For this demonstration the sequence was edited in Final Cut Pro:
Rick Morris: Producer/Director/Cameraman/Editor.
Rick Morris has been working in broadcast television for more than 30 years. He began his career with WGBH-TV in Boston and for the last 3 years has been working as the documentary producer/videographer for the Census of Marine Life and the Encyclopedia of Life Projects. Rick has shot and produced programming for many of the major networks and cable channels.