10 June 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
Bob Caldwell—Editor of this year’s Ryder Cup Broadcast
26 Sep 2014 : Sean Brosnan
On home soil, Bob Caldwell is well known for his work on the perennially funny ‘Savage Eye’, for his IFTA Award winning work on ‘The Pope’s Children’ and ‘Freefall’ and for owning and operating Dublin-based company ‘HOUSE Post Production’, but the editor has made quite a splash globally too.

Caldwell edited the BAFTA Award winning series ‘The Quick Trick Show’ for ITV’ and reaped another BAFTA nomination for the Channel 4 feature documentary ’The F*cking Fulfords’.

His travels take him to France for the Cannes Film Festival working with the BBC and he has become the go-to man for many sporting broadcasts over the last ten years, working on such global events as Formula One racing, the PGA Tour in America, The US Open, and the Olympics - with Caldwell garnering two Emmy Awards for his work at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

In between preparation for yet another global sporting event – this year’s Ryder Cup – Caldwell took time out of his busy schedule to speak to IFTN about his work.

So, tell us, for something as global and grand as the Ryder Cup or your two Emmy-winning Olympic broadcasts, what does your average working day entail?

Working on the Olympics, the US Open, the Ryder cup and many other PGA tour golf events for NBC is seriously hard work but a lot of fun and hugely rewarding! The Olympics on NBC is the most technically advanced live TV set up in the world. I've been working on the Olympics for 10 years now, starting in Athens on the swimming venue, Turino on cross country, Beijing on swimming and London and Sochi working with Jimmy Roberts editing features for the Daily Show. I get a script and I get to work on it usually on my own. I work better that way. We edit at least 12 hours a day for 16 days on the trot! I cut it, grade it and mix it. Everything has a tight deadline and has to be slick! It is tough work but at the end of every day is a quality piece that I have to feel proud of. Usually on all events the team consists of a producer, editor, cameraman and PA. We work very closely together and are all good mates. On the Olympics NBC have 3000 staff. Our team is one of many but, on something like the PGA Golf Tour, I am their sole editor. On the Ryder Cup or the US Open there is a need for 2 editors because of the vast amount of features we do. Some days I am in at 6am and finish at 3am, only to be back in again at 7am! Somehow you find the energy! At this Ryder Cup, between Tuesday and Sunday I notched up 86 hours. I never even made it to the course, even though we were right on it!

Tell us a little more about the equipment that you use?

We edit on Avid so having knowledge of how the entire system works is vital. We use interplay and mam so we can search and access media from the server and from NBC’s base in Connecticut. I was involved in technically speccing the new NBC Golf Trucks. That was a big challenge. Everything needs to work fast and we need to be able to send cut pieces digitally to EVS so it can be played to air instantaneously.

Aside from the obvious, how does your work here differ from your work on TV shows and films and which do you prefer?

On sports events we make the dramatic show openers, the off air pieces and various little bumpers, trailers, promos and essays. Every event is different and at the end of the week it’s over and on to the next. The work is high energy, slick, fast and often stressful. Work for film and TV often involves weeks of editing, especially on documentaries. The challenge there is to tell a story and make it enjoyable to watch. I consider both equally rewarding and find working in both genres often compliments each other. I can bring my story telling skills to the golf world and my promo/trailer style sports editing can often work as montages or transitions in documentary or entertainment.

Can you let us in on any projects you will work on in the future?

After the Ryder Cup I’m not travelling again until February and then it’s off to Florida for the beginning of the PGA tour for a month. On home soil my company HOUSE is working on ‘The Unemployables’ for Coco TV this winter and the soon to be re-named ‘Totes Amazeballs’. There are many more things in the pipeline including 2 documentaries yet to be announced!

As an Emmy, BAFTA and IFTA winning editor, any advice you can give from the cutting room to any fledgling editors?

There is nothing like experience. College is important in that it gives you a path and a vital knowledge base but experience gained whilst on the job is worth so much more. I went to Colaiste Dhulaigh and after a year jumped on a plane to London and got a job as a runner at West One TV, which by 1992 was the number one editing facility in the UK. I was mentored by two of the top editors in the country so there was an element of luck there. But I ultimately spent my 20’s working hard. I came in at weekends, worked into the night, started my own company and produced and edited music videos for both new and established bands and for Virgin Records. So my advice is just to keep at it, find a way in and learn from the best. Editing has three parts to it. Firstly you need the creativity and ability to do it. Secondly you need technical knowledge of not just the edit suite but all the other hardware, like servers, tape decks etc. And finally you need a personality that makes a client want to spend days and hours in a dark room with you!!

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