Sunday, July 13, 2008

Attacked by a crocodile while editing a film

Ok, that deliberately provocative title should not be taken at face value! However, I figured that "Cleaning the croc pool and doing some NLE" perhaps wasn't quite so exciting. But yes, it's all true. Today we decided it was time to clean the underwater filming pool, as we have a film crew using it next week. Cleaning involves attaching a long hose to the pump, setting it to waste, and sucking out any leaves and other detritus that has accumulated in the filming room. If we didn't do this, entering the water would stir up sediment and reduce visibility a little too much.

Cleaning is much easier on scuba, so tanked up I got into the water and started to clean. Smaug, our large male crocodile, wasn't too impressed by all this banging and splashing that I was doing and came across to investigate. It's quite a shock, even now, to realise that your face is about half a metre from a steel barrier behind which a very large crocodile is studying you intently. I noticed he was attracted to the bubbles that I was exhaling, and hence he was following me round. It didn't take long before his curiosity got the better of him and he struck at the fence with a loud clang. Underwater, a loud clang sounds more like someone dropping a pin on the floor. At least, to insensitive humans such as myself. However, with my face mere inches from his crashing jaws I was in no doubt what was going on! For just the briefest moment, I found myself wondering what I was doing. There I was, 2 metres under the surface with a 4.5 metre (14.5 ft) saltwater crocodile trying to get at me. The only thing separating us was a steel mesh barrier. A very strong one, it must be pointed out, but the feeling of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is a hard one for your mind to shake off.

Of course, it all looked absolutely spectacular and I wished I had an underwater camera with me. That is, naturally, the entire point of the facility. It is a completely unique way of seeing saltwater crocodiles. The fish swimming around my head didn't seem too impressed, though - they were more curious what on Earth I was doing down there too. By this time the floor was clean and I was getting cold. Next time I will persuade the film crew to avoid coming at the coldest time of year!

As for editing the film, well that all seems rather mundane after that little story. But we're pretty pleased with it. It's a 3 minute short film about crocodiles, with music and sound effects but no narration. There are sumptuous images of crocodiles and habitats that we filmed in DVC PRO HD late last year, and it's all coming together very nicely. I wrote the music in a few hours, but the biggest challenge was matching it with the images. Our NLE software isn't really equipped for music synchronisation, so I did it the old fashioned way. Anyway, it has reignited our appetite to produce longer films, without a doubt. It also justifies the purchase of our new plasma HDTV because, frankly, it looks stunning on there. It will soon be on display running continuously on multiple HDTV screens at Crocosaurus Cove, which will be great to see.


Stewart Macdonald said...

Hi Adam,

Will we get to see this video online at some stage, or do I have to go to Darwin to see it?!


Adam Britton said...

Hi Stewart,

We can't put the original version online for obvious reasons, but we'll be putting some croc films up fairy soon. Of course, you shouldn't need an excuse to come to sunny Darwin and visit Crocosaurus Cove anyway. It's very impressive - even without the crocs, the reptile display is easily the most impressive (and largest) I've seen in Australia.

Whoops, where did that $100 note come from? No, seriously, go see it.

The Geeks said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)