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2015 Chronicles: Surgeons of the Caribbean 2: The Magic Cave

COW Blogs : Mike Cohen's Blog : 2015 Chronicles: Surgeons of the Caribbean 2: The Magic Cave


If you read the 2014 entry on the Dominican trips, you will know that I document medical procedures performed by a group of US surgeons who travel to the DR. I had spent December and January preparing for this trip, including making sure everyone on the trip had booked travel and that we all had hotel rooms. Sounds simple enough but a 4 day trip with 7 people has a lot of details to keep track of. Not to mention meeting our driver at the airport and being totally unable to communicate. I should have paid attention in high school Spanish class. Sorry Mr Morales.

We all flew into Santo Domingo on a Thursday and met up at the hotel bar upon arrival. While Santo Domingo is a large densely populated city with a lot of poverty, we stayed in a pretty safe and swanky part of town in a relatively new Marriott.


The next two days, after driving past Land Rover and Bentley dealerships, we transitioned into the...less wealthy part of town to the hospital, surrounded by barbed wire. We were told not to wander. Inside, the hospital was quite modern for its location, with a state of the art cardiac cath lab.

For this trip we brought 5 Canon HD cameras, one Sony 4K camera, the trusty 7d and tried to limit our gear to two checked and one carry-on suitcase, and a backpack. We still had to do the customs CPB form going in and out of the US, but it was a lot easier with less gear. Not to mention customs at the Santo Domingo airport is a pleasure, as this airport is not as tourist oriented.

We are accompanied on these trips by a surgeon from the DR, who now practices in Florida. He helps with the ground transport and other logistics, and arranges dinners. On this trip we ate at an outdoor restaurant adjacent to the Christopher Columbus Palace...


And at Maison de la Cava, a restaurant built in a cave once used by pirates...

And then it was back to home base once again for post production...


Editing 6 tracks of video is somewhat of a challenge, so I synch everything up, setup the main camera as track 1, the fluoroscope as track 2 (always visible in 80% of shots), then did a PIP for the 4 other angles. You can't do a multi-cam for this since more than one track is in play in must cuts. This setup plays quite sluggishly, so I render the sequence as the next step. A 3 hour sequence of PIP effects can take 12 or more hours to render, so I took my computer home for the weekend and let it rip.
Next step was then to make basic cuts using lift/extract to cut time. Then final clean up pass to decide which shots to keep and hide the shots not being used. Then render out to MP4 for review by the surgeons, who then do the traditional method of sending time code selects for the next pass.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Mike Cohen


Posted by: Mike Cohen on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:36:44 pm



I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!




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