The Making of 'Cars Fly on the Fourth' Video

"Cars Fly on the Fourth of July", a video by Scott Jensen for the Alaska Dispatch News.

By Katelyn Umholtz

Some people spent their Fourth of July watching fireworks in the backyard. Scott Jensen, an NPPA member and a video journalist for Alaska Dispatch News, chose to film cars flying off of cliffs instead.

Jensen had previously heard from a co-worker of an event that took place every July 4th in Glacier View, Alaska where one family would throw a party and send old cars off a cliff. He thought it was interesting enough to shoot it.

“You don't see cars flying off cliffs very often,” Jensen said. “The characters up there were pretty colorful. I knew the potential was there for it to be very popular just because of the outrageous nature of it.”

After spending an entire day running up and down a hill with multiple cameras and equipment, Jensen returned to Anchorage where he worked on the video for at least 12 hours. On Tuesday night, it was ready to up online. Only one camera didn’t survive.

He woke up to find that he wasn’t the only one who thought it was interesting. Jensen said his Facebook had several notifications, mostly asking him how he put this project together.

“A lot of people were sharing the video,” Jensen said. “One of the comments said something about making a behind the scenes video, so that kind of inspired me.”

He looked through his clips and realized he had a lot of raw footage that could go into this next video. Once he got the okay from his editor, Jensen spent all Wednesday working on it.

Along with some editing clips, he said he simply used his iPhone on a tripod to record himself speaking about the original video, all the while doing this at home.

“I wrote out the narrative that you saw in the video. Then I sat at my dining room table editing all day, “ said Jensen. He uploaded the video that night on the Alaska Dispatch News website, and it received plenty of hits like its predecessor.

What made the making of both videos run a little more smoothly, Jensen said, was the help he received from the people at the party.

One of his sources even had children help Jensen out by finding the cameras inside the fallen cars. Some provided their own videos.

“It was really collaborative, and that's the way I like it,” Jensen said. “Community stories, especially fun stories, are always nice to have a collaborative atmosphere with the folks telling the story. People there were more willing to help out, which I thought was really cool.”

Despite having worked in visual journalism for around 20 years now, Jensen said he always gets a little nervous while working on his projects. He said these videos were no exception.

“From shooting to editing, it was pretty nerve-racking,” Jensen said. “I had this one comment on Facebook that said 'That's when you know you still have it, when you get nervous for your stories.' That certainly happens with me.”