Back in 2004, Cramer partnered with the Boston Globe to create a 3 hour long documentary about Boston’s greatest sports stories told through the eyes of the writers, editors and photographers who covered these memorable events. The actual documentary was edited by Jim Ferguson, who now works at the Outpost at WGBH working on Frontline. If you get the chance, make sure to watch this documentary, if anything for the 23 minutes on the 2004 Red Sox World Series win. This whole project was done two days before the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, so as you can imagine, the presses were stopped and the Red Sox story became the final crescendo to the whole documentary. Having been a Red Sox fan for as long as I can remember, I have seen multiple recaps of the 2004 post-season, and only two are worth watching. The ESPN 30 for 30 4 Days in October is extremely well done, and the final chapter of this Boston Globe documentary. And don’t forget, the Boston Globe recap was edited in only 3 days. The ESPN documentary was probably done over at least a year.
My involvement in the project was two fold. First, I was the DVD author for the final product that was going to be sold in stores. This meant I was responsible for the encoding of 3+ hours of content, menu mapping and testing. In fact, I think if I was to hunt in my archives I may even still have the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet I used for my “bit budget,” which I used to figure out how much bit rate I could encode each video with in order to fit it on the dual layer DVD.
Second, I was picked to edit these vignettes (as we were calling them) for NESN in order to advertise the project being on sale to the general public. They were played going into breaks on Sports Desk during the Red Sox playoff run. These pieces were also the first real edit I ever did in my career. I had worked on multiple other things, but at that point I wasn’t officially an editor, a junior editor maybe if I were grasping at straws. Luckily there were some schedule conflicts and they needed someone quick, and I was available. To go along with the sports theme of this post it was almost like when Drew Bledsoe went down and they had to call on the backup, and the backup took over and never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing my skills as an editor to Tom Brady, but these videos definitely had a part in launching my career and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for them.
I have up-converted these videos to HD from DEBTA tape using a Sony HDW-M2000 HDCAM deck. All the interviews were shot in Cramer’s large studio in 16×9 Digital Beta and run through a Sony DVE with a film look on it (basically gave it a 3:2 pull-down look.) The main documentary, as well as these vignettes, was a 4×3 program. You can tell specifically in the 1980 Hockey Team piece as the clock is cut off on my 16×9 HD up-convert in Al Michaels famous call from the Soviet game. The interviews were letter-boxed and all the B-ROLL was 4×3, including the flat art. The flat art was actually shot on DVCAM using a traditional robotic flat art stand. I would imagine everyone does their flat art digitally now, I know I do. There was something nice about having a physical tape though. No rendering, just cut in the move you need.
Looking back, there are probably some things I would have done differently now that I have a bunch of years under my belt. One thing that always stands out for me is in the Pedro Martinez piece the color correction on Troy O’Leary’s grand slam. I would have tried to do some secondary color-correction on the field dirt so it looked brown and not gray. I also may have pushed to put the opening VO/text quotes on some sort of newspaper treatment instead of just white text on black, but honestly that is me just being nit-picky, since it does work as is.
It was really at this point that I realized what I love about editing is story telling. Granted, guys like Bob Ryan, Leigh Montville and Dan Shaughnessy are natural story tellers, but to be able to take all of their stories and make one compelling one is something that is, well for lack of a better more elegant phrase, just plain awesome.