gabriel yosemite fcpx

A wonderful short film from Chris Mckechnie about a boy wanting to become a park ranger for a day at Yosemite. Shot on 2 RED Epics (one of them mounted on a Movi) and all edited in Final Cut Pro X. 

Sometimes it's hard in the middle of a big complicated job, surrounded by tough deadlines and even tougher budgets to remember that our skills can make a difference. A difference that is not a commercial one, a difference in improving a life.

Chris Mckechnie got in touch with the details of a short film he made for Make a Wish National that tells the story of an incredible day for a very lucky Gabriel. The video was awarded a well deserved Staff Pick on Vimeo. We will let Chris take up the story. 

'9-year old Gabriel had a wish to be a park ranger. When Yosemite got word of his dream, they stepped up to the plate, in a VERY big way. Watch it first, then look at the shoot details below.'

My AC and I went up to Yosemite 1 day before Gabriel's wish to get establishing B-roll and to try and capture the magnificence that is Yosemite. For the interviews I used RedRockMicro's One Man Crew...a dream to work with.

That same day we also shot an interview with the Mom and Gabriel. The wish day was a long one, starting early in the morning and ending early evening. Gabriel was a trooper.

I had a second camera operator and sound guy on the wish day, to help with alternate angles since it was run-n-gun the entire day. Plus, I HATE doing audio! My sound guy had a new bluetooth wireless receiver thing that he wanted to try out on the MoVI since it weighs like nothing. It worked, like 10% of the time, so since I had NO other audio reference on my Epic, I had to manually sync everything in post! AHHHHH!!!

Unfortunately there was a news crew from CBS who got priority access, got to ride in the vehicles with Gabriel, was always on scene first, etc. So we had to stay farther back and get what we could in terms of coverage.

I was operating on the MoVI the entire day and stuck with a focal length of 50mm Zeiss Contax 2.8, since there wasn't really any time to do any lens swapping. I had 2nd cam fitted with my 80-200 f4 Contax. He had RPP's, but I wanted the look to be consistent, plus, the Contax are amazing!!! I had him on a monopod the entire day so the longer shots would be more stable, as opposed to hand-holding or shoulder-mounting.

We all rode in my truck, so as soon as we would role up on a scene, Will would bail out of the car as quickly as he could to get some establishing shots/sometimes they had already started the next mini event. I would immediately follow with the MoVI. My AC was pulling focus using RedRockMicro's Micro Remote (performs flawlessly), while I was operating in Majestic Mode. Used my Cinemizers for framing, and Jason, my AC had a SmallHD AC7.

On the editing side of things, I created dailies (2k proxy transcodes) of everything since it was a project dealing with lots of footage, even though it was only 1 official day. The edit took about 2 full days to polish the sequence, then once the edit was locked I switched seamlessly back to the native R3D files and graded right within FCPX using Denver Riddles LUT utility and emulsions. 

The music was licensed through the Music Bed, which I chose the evening after the shoot. 

Gear Used: I had Will shoot at around f5.6, while I shot between 2.8-4. 

We over cranked here and there for effect. 
Shot 5K WS at 8:1 compression. 
Edited and graded in FCPX.

(2) RED Epic's
MoVI M10
RedRockMicro's One Man Crew and MicroRemote Wireless Follow Focus
Zeiss Contax Lenses
Manfrotto Monopod for second camera
Tiffen Vari-ND’s


Many thanks to Chris for letting us know about the film. It's been on Vimeo for a couple of months, but we thought it was worth posting, especially when you read the comments from Gabriel's mother, Tara Lavan:

"Alright, so I suppose I have no business on this site, but I found this video and as Gabriel's mom I wanted to say thank you so very much Chris for this beautiful film. It is absolutely gorgeous! I have to tell you that I cried at the slower motion smiling shot (that smile without his two front teeth!) after he was asked if he would help them out during this busy time of the year. Thank you for this precious gift, as the day was a tremendous blur of activity."


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

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Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


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BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

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Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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