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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Michael Jordan's Race Team

Frame by frame, producer Matt Rissmiller built his feature on Michael Jordan’s motorcycle race team.
The basic story was laid out in a day and a half.  Now, in the fourth day of edit, Rissmiller and editor Paul Carruthers hurried to complete a rough cut to show supervisors.
About three minutes into the 10-minute feature Jordan’s introduction to the sport is explained. The section involves Hannah Storm’s interview with Jordan. Three cameras had been deployed.  The “A” camera, a traditional shot without production equipment in the frame, had been on Jordan. The “B” camera, a/k/a “Rover”, had moved to several positions and captured wide shots that included production equipment and monitors. The “C” camera had been on Storm.
Why three?
“ If during an interview the subject is describing a story that takes him or her five minutes to tell you can cut up the answer,” Rissmiller said.  “So you would use maybe one or two sentences on the A Cam and then you can cut to the B Cam later in the story as long as their inflection sounds natural.  This allows you to condense the story. 
“ If you had just one camera focused on the interview subject then you would have to cover that cut with B-roll.  However, in E:60's case, since we have multiple cameras on the interview subject we have the option to cover the cut with B-roll or go right to the B Cam.”
          Rissmiller and Carruthers came to Jordan’s most startling byte, and watched it over and over.
“Well, at first it was scary because some of the speeds that I was going on the streets ....they were not quite safe,” Jordan said.
“Like how fast?”  Storm asked.
“Uh, I think on one straightaway we got up to like 157...which now thinking about it I must have been nuts.”
Jordan’s uber-celebrity, and his frank admission of a daredevil experience, shaped Rissmiller’s approach.  He stuck with the A Cam for most of the interview.
“On this piece, I wanted to be conscious of just allowing the audience to see MJ,” Rissmiller said.  “People most often see him on the sideline at a basketball game or fans remember him during his playing days in a jersey...we rarely get to see an all-access piece on MJ so in this case just seeing him on camera in this setting is more interesting than showing motorcycles. 
“With that in mind, it's not necessary to cover the entire piece with B-roll or music...people just want to see MJ in an environment that they've never seen him in before.”

Posted by Steve Marantz, April 20, 2010

1 comment:

  1. I love the way you write - you've brought this scene to life when it would ordinarily hold no interest for me!