Thanks to marymac
's suggestion, I ended up watching various documentaries from the Volvo Ocean Race. The best are the most recent, which include in-port, mid-race, mid-break interviews with each boat's skippers, navigators, crewmen, and so on. You don't get any idea of what's coming, but you do get a lot of really interesting reflection on what decisions they made in that leg of the race, what influenced those decisions, how they made those decisions, and so on. Plus, the narration is somewhat subdued, and there's not as much a sense of the teams being pestered to interview while on the water, which undoubtedly could get annoying. (No, I do NOT have time to explain what that is, I'm busy FIXING it! and so on.)
The 2005/6 race seems to just have an hour's documentary, which is like ten-something months to cram into one hour. You get a lot of highlights. Okay, more like you get a sense of how insane these people are, because most of the highlights consist of "and then their bowsprit broke" or "and then their main mast came down" or "and then they discovered a massive crack in their hull" or "and then they RAN OVER A WHALE AND LOST THEIR RUDDER" and there's no need to make this stuff dramatic. It comes that way out of the box.
The 2008/9 documentary seems to be a more as-it-happens format, but it has a lot of padding from pre-race clips. I really don't need a shot of some guy walking along the shore with his wife with voiceover about his dog dying. I get enough of that shit watching the Olympics. Plus, the narrator seems to have graduated from the Robin Leach school of narration. Not only does he talk like a bootleg version of Leach, he's just as dramatic about it. Quit the "but little did they know!" and the "but more was to come!" and "they had no idea what lay in wait!" Dude, when bowsprits break and sails go ripping along 120' of seamline, and this kind of catastrophic shit is considered one of the race's features
, the tension is already there. No need to amp it more. Please.
A'course, the truly annoying part is that the 2008/9 narrator teases but then doesn't explain. Like, "little did they know..." and idyllic shot, then "...that THIS would happen!" and then a video of... something happening. I'm not sure. It's not explained. It's just several minutes of the boat going at a crazy angle and the boom swinging around, and... hey, narrator? A LITTLE HELP HERE, PLEASE. Someone tell me what I'm watching. At least the 2010/11 documentaries pretty consistently put voice-overs from the skipper or person-on-watch, explaining what you're seeing, to some degree.
Serious, this race? Shit happens. Constantly.
Like nightmare material, extreme-panic, holy-crap-we're-all-going-to-die shit. I don't need some Robin Leach knock-off telling me for the nth time that these teams are experiencing LIFE AT THE EXTREME. Their fricking MAST just splintered and they're a thousand miles from the nearest solid land. They just missed a goddamn ICEBERG by a foot and a half. Unless someone wrote the 2008/9 documentaries for the total cabbages in the audience, it's pretty much OBVIOUS that we're not dealing with just a trip to the goddamn supermarket here.
The 2008/9 videos are totally inconsistent on subtitles, too. We've got one guy who talks softly and kind of mumbles, and no subtitles. We get the guy who speaks with an American middle-class accent... and subtitles. The guy who I still can't tell if he's speaking Spanish or English, and no subtitles. And then one episode won't subtitle anyone, and the next one subtitles every other person. Plus that year's version has bad editing and unoriginal music, though at least they quit it with the car-commercial jump-cuts and slow/fast crap after a few episodes. The production values on the 2011/12 version are substantially higher and the narrator is a more laid-back. I mean, it says something when you're watching a freaking youtube television documentary
and you think, where can I get this soundtrack? Naturally there doesn't appear to be available OSTs on the Volvo Ocean Race site. Figures. Probably a bunch of generic soundtrack music from one of those warehouse companies, but still, whomever went through and found the music had an incredible ear for what to use, when, and blending it from one mood to the next.
I do wish the videos would have more infographics on what's happening. A simple CGI showing where the break occurred, or how, or whatever, would be really helpful. The extent of Volvo's visual info appears to be crazy-ass low-budget CGI of the little boats scudding across computerized water, with trails showing their paths. Not nearly as useful as knowing wtf-just-happened-there, especially when the skipper is speaking heavily-accented English so I'm ostensibly getting an explanation... that I can't understand even if I did know the jargon.
Last! Today's protip: don't bother with Google's on-the-fly subtitles, unless you're slightly tipsy and need the entertainment. Google doing on-the-fly of someone who speaks American english is iffy, but of someone speaking with non-American accent? Utter hilarious uselessness ensues.