ESPN’s E:60 Captures Epic Ultra-Slo-Mo Look at Champion Diving Dog Spitfire

Featurette offers a look behind the scenes

This Tuesday’s E:60 one-hour primetime special (7 p.m. ET) on ESPN will feature the unique story of champion Dock Diving dog Spitfire and his 15-year-old trainer, Sydney. In this E:60 Behind the Shot featurette, check out how producer Mike Farrell and the production team used a Phantom Flex 4K camera (shooting at 938 fps) on a high-speed point-to-point wire system (with a top speed of 30 mph) to capture Spitfire’s one-of-a-kind athleticism in high-res ultra-slow-motion.

“We suspended the cable from two scissor lifts that we had delivered to the dock diving facility,” says Farrell. “We had to give the camera about 50 ft. of lead-up, so it could get to top speed by the time it reached Spitfire. Otherwise, he would easily outrun the rig. The entirety of the jump happens in about three seconds so timing it out was difficult.”

Aficionados of dock diving put Spitfire in the same league as sports icons recognized by a single moniker: Tiger, Jordan, Serena, The Babe — generational phenoms who changed their respective sports forever. He and Sydney are rewriting the record books of the sport.

“Spitfire can do only a certain number of jumps before he is exhausted and at risk of injury, so we had to be diligent with the number of takes we did,” Farrell explains. “We had a couple other dogs onsite as stand-ins to help us practice our moves, but Spitfire was so much faster and jumped so much farther than the stand-in dogs that, in the end, it wasn’t all that helpful.”

CLICK HERE to watch the full trailer. Don’t miss the full Spitfire segment during the E:60 special on Tuesday, Dec. 17. at 7 p.m. ET.