Cancun, QR .- On my way to cover the WBC convention in Cancun, Mexico I will admit I was scared. There were two things that frightened me, the first one, being kidnapped (for serious), the second not doing a good job. To be quite honest, one did not frighten me more than the other.
I’m a professional paranoid when it comes to situations like this. Normally these situations are life changing; yes a Cancun trip is life changing. It’s life changing not because I returned to my homeland, that’ll come the day I visit San Luis and Guerrero. It’s life changing because the thing we as Americans cherish the most brought me here, work. It’s my first business trip ever in life. I am being paid to be here and work.
The first question that came to my mind was, how does one work in paradise? Easy, remind yourself you have a check to make up for. So it didn’t take long for reality to synch in. I knew what had to be done, quality videos that would transport our viewers and readers to a place they couldn’t physically be at.
The task was one I knew wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t easy for a few reasons. First, I had to cover an 8-day long convention with photos and videos by myself. That means I would have to be at many different places at the same time. Days spent shooting and trying to forget that all this footage needs to be edited at some point.
It’s the second night and I’ve reminded myself just now, by writing this, shoot to kill. That means head shots only, that means every shot has to count.
The first day in particular meant covering the opening ceremony that celebrates the career of the great Mohammad Ali and practically everything looked like a headshot. 50 years of WBC boxing meant a lot of history to be remembered that night.
Before scouting an angle I had to figure out my audio situation. Finding the soundboard was just like following the yellow brick road, except I was following audio cables. I followed the cables that crawled up the wall onto a balcony on the left side of the stage. Walking over to the sound guys I realized that I was thankful for the fact that no matter what country you are in, all professionals in this business speak technology, so even with my broken Spanish I was able to communicate to the guy that I wanted to record the audio with my H4N Zoom.
With audio handled and the schedule of events in my hand I was ready for the main event. I made my way down to the main floor where I had to share a seat with Jose Luis, our sports Editor. The press seats were limited and the middle isle was hectic with the who’s who of boxing trying to avoid detection.
The ceremony began with a video that looked back at the 50 years of the WBC. The audience traveled from the start of boxing where deaths were not uncommon, to the time where the WBC established new regulations to protect its athletes.
They did not hold back, the video went on for nearly twenty minutes.
The moment came, the spotlights hit the left corner of the stage and out came Muhammad Ali with his wife Yolanda Williams. I started to record and I don’t think I ever pressed stop.
Quickly after Ali was introduced he sat down along with the audience to watch a video that was created to honor his career. The video was a trip through his life of boxing with R Kelly’s song “The Greatest” playing over a stockpile of historic footage.
While filming some of the video that was playing I thought of how I could frame the contrast of Ali then and now. Getting the shot proved to be difficult. In order to capture Muhammad Ali watching the screens in front of him with the right lighting I would have to sacrifice the screens on the side of stage or they would be blown out.
I bit the bullet, changed the aperture while shooting and kept it in the edit in order to still deliver the idea.
Once the video finished José Sulaimán, president of the WBC, shared some words about his past with Muhammad Ali. It was obvious there were many stories shared among them, from a moment he shared about three girls walking over to their dinner table to put their room keys in front of Ali to the very first fight Ali had in Miami.
The night ended with Julio César Chávez Sr. and Canelo Álvarez bringing out a specially made robe for Ali and Vitali Klitschko placing a crown on his head.