By Pete Berg, Field Producer:
A lot of people have asked me how much footage we shoot to make an episode of “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” and the answer I typically give them is: A LOT.
Pol Veterinary Services is a real clinic, and there are often as many 100 cases a day, plus as many as seven or eight farm calls. We shoot with four cameras, for 12 hours a day, six days a week. (That’s not to mention about five or six specialty cameras we use for shooting scenery and beauty shots, as well as mounting on vehicles when Dr. Pol and Charles are driving to farm calls.)
So in short: A LOT OF FOOTAGE.
Granted, we don’t shoot every single case. There are a lot of routine vaccinations, heartworm tests, rabies shots and check-ups that we don’t cover. Part of my job as Field Producer is to pick out the interesting cases – the emergencies, the oddities, or the ones involving really interesting animals. These are the ones that usually make it on the show.
We usually shoot about 5 to 10 cases per day, and of those, about one third of them make it on the air. A case might last anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour – but when it’s edited down for TV, it will speed by in just two to four minutes!
That’s not to mention all of the interviews, clinic reality (for instance, when Dr. Pol and Charles pranking each other in between cases), and farm country beauty shots that we shoot.
Each of our four cameras usually turns in between three and four hours of raw footage at the end of each day. We film for about a week (six days) per episode. Then it’s up to our team of editors to watch it all, sort it out and turn it into the 46- minute TV show that you watch on NatGeo Wild!
It’s a lot of hard work, but if you ask anybody who watches “Dr. Pol” – it’s worth it.