“No, No. No. No. No,” Sharon Kum said when asked if she’d considered turning down the assignment to produce a 24-hour day-in-the-life piece aboard the USS Carl Vinson, which just happened to be harbored in San Diego Bay.
The feature producer admits, “It would be a once in a lifetime experience.”
Her two camera crews captured life aboard the ship for ESPN’s Veteran’s Week initiative.
It concludes Friday at 7 p.m. ET with a men’s college basketball game, with North Carolina playing Michigan State in the Carrier Classic on the carrier. The shoot took place in September, coinciding with “flight ops training” for troops prepping for Afghanistan.
You’ll see the results of her video shoots on SportsCenter and during the broadcast of the Carrier Classic. She shared the still photos you see in the gallery above with Front Row.
“We went out into the Pacific Ocean, and they took us up in a helicopter,” Kum explains.
“During training, they have a few ‘search and rescue’ helicopters in the air in case something goes wrong, and they allowed us to join them in one, so we were able to get some good video.”
Exceptional video, as Kum was the first ESPNer to utilize the newly-released RED Epic camera.
“We wanted this shoot to be the most beautiful it could be, so I wanted to shoot with the best camera available,” she explained.
The narration to Kum’s video was provided by Captain Bruce Lindsey, who narrates the ship’s tour.
“The sailors were so enthused to show us their jobs and were thrilled to have us with them,” Kum says.
“They were so impressed – they did the ‘Da Da Da, Da Da Da,’ every time they saw us.”
Getting off the ship provided additional good video, and added to the lifetime experience.
“We were catapulted,” Kum says of being, “in a cargo prop plane with less than 20 passengers and a pressurized steam line forces it to go from zero to about 150 MPH in two seconds.”
It’s like being a rock propelled from a sling shot, Kum said.
“Your head goes back and you have to put your hands across your chest to brace for the impact of the force,” she said.
In the middle of editing this week’s piece, Kum said, “We got everything we needed, from the hangars, to the airboss, the captains, sailors and the medical ward, and spoke to everyone we needed.”
She quickly added, “And we really did do 24 hours, you can ask the crew. We just had a lot of 5-hour Energy drinks with us.”