Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Coaster Of DOOM

With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games 2 years away, the official 2 year countdown on Feb. 12. Announcements and events planned for both Vancouver and Whistler meant that as the Network with the Broadcast Rights for 2010, we mobilized for a week of shows both National and Local. My assignment is with our local team in Whistler BC, home of the Alpine, Nordic and Sliding sports.

We arrived on Sunday and began our set up for Monday. Mostly cabling runs and minor stuff. Our main delivery of equipment was not due until Monday morning. The bulk of the crew were also due in before noon Monday.
For me Monday brought an ENG assignment with ctv producer Brent Gilbert ( some of you may remember Brent as part of the crew that I went with to the Turin Games with in 2006). CTV Host Pamela Martin would also be on this shoot atop Blackcomb Mountain. It was an item about Avalanche rescue dogs. We would cover Pamela in a hole in the snow and have the dog find her. We were on a bit of a time crunch as I would be needed to get back to our set position and build the set for our 6PM show.

A shot looking at our set in Whistler with the antenna's of the proble IFB's and wireless mics in the foreground.

The shoot went pretty well and when my time on the mountain drew to a close, I headed down the lift. Brent stayed behind to collect a couple more shots.

The set build was a bit on the stressful side as problems with IFB's and Mics caused headaches. The camera builds went smoothly as the tech checks drew near. The guys in the SAT truck were going great guns, but as the show drew near, you could sense the tension in the air. Problems with IT and Prompter, electrical issues just added to the drama.

CTV Camera Op Steve Hughes and Weathercaster Tamara Taggart hoping for a working IFB

With the games two years out, our network Executive team including CEO Ivan Fecan were also in Whistler meeting with Olympic Officials and other Official Broadcasters, touring venues and potential broadcast locations for 2010.

With a show potentially melting down, and the presence of the Execs from World Headquarters, you had all for the ingredients of the Perfect Storm, or of us, the Perfect Stroke.
I was worried about our lead Tech. He's the kinda guy that puts his heart and soul into a project and major problems less than 2 hours before a broadcast was not what he or any of us needed at this time.

With the clock ticking, IFB and Mics with wireless issues, hosts and talent growing impatient with waiting in the marginal weather, who shows up on the set. You guessed it, like a scene out of the Sopranos, the gang of Execs appears. Those of us on set just smiled and went about our business as if all was right with the world. Our faces hid what lurked inside, a set check that was causing so much grief.

CTV National Reporter Lisa LaFlamme with CTV Globemedia CEO Ivan Fecan on the set

After saying there hellos and checking our locations they were gone. Whew, bullet dodged.

CTV Camera Gary Rutherford on his knees for a shot, or is he praying for the broadcast Gods to help us

Before we knew it, it was show time. The show went off without a hitch. It's always the way, bad tech rehearsal, great show. Yet the roller coaster that is always day one of projects like this we live for. Who knows how many years we have taken off of our lives, riding the Coaster of Doom before a show, but by god when the shows over and the team has wrestled victory out of the jaws of disaster, Damn that's Sweet!

Murman, Floor Director Jimmy and Producer Joan, just happy the show is almost over

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