Mercedes Ildefonso Velgot
Filming for Born to Explore is the adventure of a lifetime. Meeting people in remote villages from Africa to India; seeing cheetahs in the wild; pearl diving in the Arabian Sea; tracking leopard and sloth bears in Sri Lanka. My most memorable moment? Living aboard a klotok boat in the rainforests of Borneo to meet the mighty orangutans.
I always flash back to a moment in Labrador back in season 1. At one point in the shoot, Richard is talking about why Arctic Char fish don't freeze, in the frigid temperatures. He was asking a rhetorical question and then realized that he actually knew the answer, which suddenly occurs to him on camera. It felt so spontaneous and fascinating, which is Richard’s talent.
My favorite Born to Explore moment was tracking mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. There are only about 700 left in the world and half of them live in this jungle. When we finally came upon a troop and spotted the huge silverback males, it was awesome. If felt super special and I was grateful to have the opportunity to be that close to one of the most powerful creatures on the planet.
One of my favorite moments was on safari in Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka. As we turned a corner, I felt like I was in Jurassic Park…amidst bellowing and trumpeting, a herd of elephants emerged from the bush. The matriarch bluff charged our jeep to keep us away from the babies. It was incredible.
Location Audio/Re-recording Mixer
In Morocco, we were filming the in the famous dye pits of Fez. I was tethered to our cinematographer, balancing on narrow rims around giant vats of concentrated pigeon poop and other concoctions which tan the leather. It was a challenge to get good audio and not fall into the toxic pits with my cables and boom. But we made it through-- unpooped! Morocco is one of the most fascinating places I have ever filmed.
As an editor, I always felt like I was traveling with Richard without even being there. My favorite moments were always the greetings Richard and our team would receive--- from primitive tribes in Africa to Inuit people on the frozen tundra of Canada. The generosity of the people he meets confirms my faith in humanity. They openly shared their stories and allowed us into their lives.
I'll never forget the hours of laughter with producers as we sifted through footage of Richard's many unique meals (and his even more unique reactions) around the world – from termites in South Africa to sheep intestine in Arizona and even squirrel in Tanzania. As an editor, I often work in a windowless room, but Richard and the entire Born to Explore team have brought much light, humor and adventure to my edit room and my life.
I was working on an episode filmed in India and needed traditional Indian instruments. I was excited to use an amazing Bansuri flute player, Steve Gorn. Unfortunately, he was on tour in Asia. But I emailed him the scores and Steve recorded a wonderful performance even though he was on the other side of the world. He has since played on multiple shows and we are thrilled to share the rhythms of global music with our audience.
I have always been drawn to exciting adventures like SCUBA diving, kayaking and traveling to far away places.
Having the opportunity to work on a series like Born to Explore has been inspiring, rewarding and fulfilling. Maybe they’ll let me out of my office someday to travel on one of their exciting adventures. Hint...