Monday, February 3, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #100 ... Air Rage!

Air Rage!
The "Air Rage Twins" captured by my video camera!
On April 19, 2001 our group of six left San Francisco on United Flight, #857.  We were headed for Shanghai, beginning a two-week guided tour of China.

While en-route, two young women who were seated in front of us began misbehaving.  The situation escalated, a stewardess suffered a bloodied nose, and the crew enacted some emergency procedures to contain the disturbance.  Mid-flight, the captain announced that we were returning to Anchorage, Alaska where federal marshals would deal with the perpetrators.  We would stay in hotels overnight, then continue our journey "tomorrow".

This was five months before the terrorism of September 11th.  (I can only imagine that the situation would be handled differently if it happened today).  In 2001 every cell phone did not have a video camera, but I happened to capture some of the incident on my miniDVD camcorder.  There were local news media waiting for us upon arrival in Anchorage.  Next day the incident became a major national news story.

Some of the local reporters were interested in my footage, offering their "standard" compensation of $50.   But I contacted Ed, my brother-in-law, who negotiated much better deals with the networks and the television news magazine shows.  The Anchorage NBC affiliate put my video up on their satellite, from which it was widely distributed.  A week later I was able to make email contact with Ed who told me, "Have a great time.  YOUR VACATION IS PAID FOR!"

My ability to roam about the cabin was restricted during the incident, we were required to keep our seat belts fastened.  Much of the video was shot over my shoulder; quite frankly much of it is shaky, poorly lit, and not well framed.  Yet network show producers bought the rights and created 20-minute segments about "Air Rage".  

What an amazing windfall!  Other passengers were annoyed, but we wore smile for the whole trip!


I created a new YouTube identity ("rageair") and posted some of the video online with a watermark.  Every once in a while a program's producer contacts me to purchase the rights to use my footage in a new project.  Take a look:

Lessons Learned:
Always have your camera ready.
Recognize when your video has value.  Those who use your property should at least give you on-screen credit.

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