Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Olympic Crack House.

As Non Rights Holding Electronic Media, we find ourselves feeding our items back to Vancouver via an ABC uplink that is located on the 10 floor of an apt complex on the east side of Turin. On Monday(Feb 6) we had been told that our feed time would be at 10:30 PM local. We went out, shot our item, and cut our item all under the impression that all was right with our feed arrangements. We made a call to ABC to check on our status. The voice on the other end of the phone told us that they were still setting up and they wouldn’t be 24/7 for another 24 hours. Huston, we have a problem, it was 10 to 8 and they told us they were packing it up at 8 O’clock. Hell I had just put down my first edit. We had been shooting until 7. I’m fast, but I can’t cut a pack in 2 minutes. Not only that but we has a 15 minute drive to get to the feed site. Jesus, we hadn’t been here for 24 hours and we had a very big problem.
Hats off to Mike K for stick handling this feed situation for me. I was cutting like a mad man trying to make this first item the best it could be. After much gnashing of teeth, we had an alternate feed site. The good folks at Globe Cast, a European based Satellite Service Provider were located just across the river, over looking the city. Needless to say for a premium we were able to make our slot. Surely tomorrow would be better.
It was, marginally,,,,
Tuesday began early, our systems not yet accustomed to the new time zone. Again a full day. We called ABC to confirm our feed time. Feed time confirmed. All systems go, go with throttle up.
I don’t know how a day evaporates as fast as it does, but it did. We were able to establish abase of operations at the BC House/Canada Place. This could be good. At least we internet services there. We managed to get a small work area and went to work cutting the item together. We finished in plenty of time, but now we need to get our driver to get us to the ABC site, Pronto, Pronto.
The engineering crew from ABC London rents a flat, then leases or rents out the rooms to individual news agencies from around the planet. They have set up their feed area in the front as soon as you walk into the front door. As you walk through the halls passing many rooms full of strange faces. A rats nest of electrical cables and video wires snake their way throughout the complex. We finally come to a stairwell that leads to a loft where we find our (photo: two of the "J"men at the ABC feed center) CTV National crews, huddled into a little dark room with a couple of tables and edit decks set up on the tables. I meet the rest of the CTV contingent. CTV Producer Susan T takes me down to meet the Brits manning the feed center. Jack, John and Jerry, the J team. These guys are great. They have their shit completely together. Well almost. The SX deck they have is not working, as it should. It is not splitting audio. Infact it is only sending channel 1. Fortunately I had my camera with me with my splitter and feed snake. I wasn’t going to take it, but call it my spidy sense I am very glad I did. It turns out no one knew how the hell the menu settings on the machine. One of the “J” men told me that they would have it fixed before we fed tomorrow. They did.
As we left the “house” and returned to our driver, we all had a chuckle about the sight of all of that broadcast equipment strewn throughout the place. We dubbed it the Media Crack House.


Graham Richardson/and Rob the Edtior/Camera Guy

CTV's Janis Mackey-Frayer with Producer Susan Treen

1 comment:

peacefulstarr said...

Glad to see you are alive and well and in transit from knowing where you are to Swag House Drama.

It's interesting to see all the aspects of behind the scenes. Reality or Nightmare? Perhaps a bit of both.

What really inspires me is to see that people work together for the the collective good. Who said the world was in a mess?

Technology although great will never surpass humankind.

Thanks for pictures and stories.