MOJAVE DESERT, Utah — Park City High School sophomore Liam Snihurowych drove down to visit his grandma in St. George for a long weekend last month with his mom and his younger brother. During a day trip, they went hiking and saw what Snihurowych’s keen eye recognized as approximately seven desert tortoises out in the wild. They went back the next day for a few hours with his camera equipment and shots some video. That day they saw about five.
Snihurowych told TownLift that the exact location of the rare wildlife sighting is “classified.”
After producing, directing, editing, and adding non-copyrighted music for the score, he then wrote a script.
“I’d watched many, many Blue Planet nature documentary episodes by BBC America in the past, so I knew whose the best voice in the world would be to read my narration, and in my mind he was the only person that could possibly be suitable for my film.”
Emmy Award-winning British biologist Sir David Attenborough is best known for his decades of writing and narrating documentaries about the flora and fauna of earth.
Back in Park City, Snihurowych simply Googled any information he could and came across what seemed to him something along the lines of a PR team manager’s email address. “I just emailed my plan and a script with a few added notes on how to say it and when to say it, and in return, I got an audio file with the script done by Sir David Attenborough himself!”
He responded in about a week, “I was very surprised. Being how famous he is, I figured there was no chance, but sure enough, he responded,” said Snihurowych.
The format sent back was in an mp3 file at 192 KBPS. He edited the audio file into the video using Final Cut Pro X by Apple in his bedroom in Park City, which ended up 5:13 long.
“The visual aspect was almost 100% complete first, but the audio was all said together, and anyone who watches the Blue Planet episodes knows that he says a few lines, and then there is a pause so the viewer can watch the footage and then more lines in the same order, I wanted it to be like that, so I split up the audio file in my editing software and placed each talking portion were I thought it would fit best.”
The fact that the two never had direct communication doesn’t phase Snihurowych, as he explained to TownLift, “He probably doesn’t have a whole lot of time to focus on the little things being such a busy guy if I had to guess.”
He paid the mere $13.28 USD his representative asked for for the narration, through a computer system, with a credit card, “And that was it,” Snihurowych told TownLift.
His recent video release, published after all his homework was done, was the talk of the hallways at school the next day. When asked what he thinks about this rare collaboration, which has crossed an oceanic gap and crossed a generation gap, he said, “I’m pretty proud of the film and lucky to work with such a great guy.”
Although the real credit goes to Snihurowych, the character generated (CG) credits in his video he named to his friends and family, who often accompany him on outdoor adventures. Snihurowych has his own PSA for the protection of these animals:
“These species of desert tortoises are very delicate and were headed towards extinction due to destruction of habitat by humans so if you ever see one in the wild, it is alright to take pictures and take a look but don’t get too close and don’t touch them or feed them. If you wish to donate to protect them and their habitat, visit ConserveSouthwestUtah.org for more information.”
Readers who may have had some glitches in attempting to pronounce snee-ho-RUE-itch, will see, when they watch the video, that Attenborough steered clear of even attempting.