Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Super Bowl Day 7

We are now 5 days and a few hours away from the game. Another busy day with the graphics people asking for the "oh, by the way" things they forgot to ask about earlier. This is typical of all large shows where the operators just forget or take for granted that a room is designed for their needs. They know what they need but sometimes forget to ask. Both Brian and I will be fighting this right up until the drop of the ball (is there a puck involved, I am not good at sports). So, right now, I am just firefighting any little problems that occur. I am done 1/2 day early and now the "boring" kicks in. The operators will start loading their machines but they will start rehearsing as well. Brian, on the other hand, is still dealing with transmission issues and last I saw my son, he was saying very ugly words about CBS News people. Would make his mother wash his mouth out with soap.

CBS truck compound. You cannot see all of the trucks.

CBS Production Compound

NFL Experience (Brian will explain this)

Brian in the compound saying, "good by for now"

david and brian

Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Bowl, Day 6

We've gotten an influx of people here today. I'm not sure when people will stop coming, probably around the 5th (You know, AFTER the Super Bowl is over!).
Any way, there are now 10 Trucks in the compound:
NEP's Super Shooter 24 (Shortened to SS24) A Truck
NEP's SS24 B
NEP's SS24 C
NEP's Denali
Corplex's Platinum
Corplex's Mercury
AMV Cinetour

The NEP SS24's 3 Trucks are here to produce the actual football game
NCP is here for the Pre-Game and Post-Game shows
NEP's Denali is here for the Half-Time (Prince-who?)
Corplex is here for Tape release. That means there are so many tape machines in this show, CBS brought an ENTIRE truck!
Bexel's truck is an edit truck for the Pre-Game show
Cinetour is an edit truck for the Game show
And NEP's ESU is a truck filled with DAs and a massive router.

A DA is short for Distribution Amplifier. It turns one signal into many signals, without affecting the quality of the signal.

I'm in ESU. This is where I'm sitting for the next week. I have all the different truck's video and audio feeds coming to me, which I can watch, all at once. And I distribute them to the transmission paths out of here. It's all very confusing. So don't worry about the details. Just know: It's a big show.

brian and dave

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Super Bowl Day 5

The day started with a nice little shower and warm weather moving in again. To our northern readers, EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT!!!!! It has been very warm here and definitely shorts weather. We see storm fronts move thru, dump water, and then quickly move out. Typical Florida. Brian was busy chasing down issues for transmission and helping his manager deal with issues. Not sure actually what he is doing but I finally finished building the graphics trailer.

It is sometimes tough getting all the parts together and running enough cable to get the room working but there is about 1 mile of different types of cable to make this work. Just for one room. I currently have 14 computers talking to each other and video signals from each. The room will be run by 10 people and will be used leading up to the actually kick off.

Later, as things slow down a bit, both Brian and I will discuss the number of people here working at CBS and how many trucks we have. We can also go into the different jobs people do and what new things you may see.

Any questions out there, please ask.

david and brian

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Super Bowl, Day 4

It's still a zoo. Cables are flying everywhere. People are changing their minds, and cables are being pulled back. My father is pulling his hair out with some of the people he's working with. Situation: Normal.

I've been running cables for transmission, as my father mentioned, and showed a wonderful picture yesterday.

Dad and I finally got the proper credentials today. Mistakenly, we had received credentials that wouldn't allow us into the stadium. That's bad, considering Dad needs to get to the Pre-Game set, and I need to get everywhere a camera or television might be placed. I'd send a picture of my corrected credential, but I'm pretty sure someone would copy it and try and get in as another Brian Raynes. I'm pretty sure the security guys wouldn't like that.

Getting back to the first day I arrived to my room in our hotel, I noticed something unusual. Now I'd like to preface this by saying that I've been put in a very nice room, that's very clean. I was VERY surprised to see that it appeared someone had used my comode, before I got a chance. It seems, after reading the little card on the toilet tank, that the discoloration is natural, because of the local water system. Let me tell you, it's kind of unusual to think that I'll be brushing my teeth and showering in yellow water. I've included a picture of my bath tub half filled. Don't worry, the water tastes fine, it hasn't stained my teeth or skin, yet.

The first day of working, as my father pointed out, was parking the trucks. Here's a picture from the a spot in the compound with just a few trucks in there.

Here's a picture, from the same spot, with 7 trucks parked. One more was soon parked, a few minutes later, in the open area. Oh by the way, we're waiting for one more truck to show up.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Super Bowl Third day

Well, as expected, today was the first real zoo day. About 1/2 of the crew is now here, and we are starting to build the compound. More cables are being run and more areas are being set up. I now have my graphics trailer to build and it is always a challenge. More complex computers are being used in the production of this and more features are being used. Where there was only one graphics device to put in lower third supers and stats information, I have now counted 14 graphic devices and 24 channels of video server (a server is a mult-channeled device that is like several tape recorders, so this is like 24 tape machines JUST for pre-game graphics show). A very tiring day but we have started on the graphics room.

Start of the Graphics Room

After first day

Equipment room

Brian is prepping more cable for the compound


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Super Bowl, Day 2 (Cont'd)

We finally got Internet up and running. I will fill you in on today's events, and have more detailed information tomorrow, as it's almost time to leave.

As my father mentioned, I'm the transmission (otherwise known as TX) guy. I coordinate all of the signals coming from the different trucks into the Encoders and out to their respective transmission points. An encoder is a device that takes all of the signals you see at home (video and audio) into one signal. This signal is a jumble of information that looks nothing like video and sounds nothing like audio. But, it takes the HD signal and all 8 audio signals, which make up Dolby 5.1 (for all 10% of the nation that can actually HEAR Dolby 5.1) and compresses it into one wire. It's easier to send one signal, then 9 (HD video and 8 audios) signals. Then it's passed to the different transmission pathes.

There are 5 transmission paths. The reason for the multiple paths, is for redundancy. If a path fails, CBS-NY wants to be able to switch to another path, so the viewers at home get to see the game in it's entirety, without much interruption. We have two fiber paths (very tiny strands of glass that pass light over THOUSANDS of miles, with very little loss of data) and we have two uplink trucks passing three different paths of transmission. I know it's a lot, but that's why they hired one guy (Me) to figure it out, and make sure it's always working.

I know my father was at home, next to a fire place, but it's not like the weather is perfect down here. Yesterday it was 80 degrees, but it rained (for about an hour). Today, it's over cast, rained in the morning, and about 65 degrees. I had to put on a rain coat!

Super Bowl Day 2

As Brian doesn't have internet yet, I will write for today, although I am still in NH. Cold.....waiting for my plane...I travel this afternoon and will be there tonight.

Brian reports that he has been busy parking trucks. Usually there is one or two semi-trailers that is used for doing a network event. For Super Bowl, there is over 12 trucks, 12 office trailers, and three uplink trucks....so far. Brian had the job of parking and then powering all the trucks to two twin pack generator trailers. This took all day. Today, starts the job of running cabling to all the trucks and getting internet and communications up. This includes phones as well. This should take all day. I am sure Brian will fill you in when he finally gets on line. Unlike Torino, at least we are state-side and will have better communications and be able to give you more information.

So, be patient, dear Readers as we will shortly post pictures and more interesting info.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Super Bowl Adventure Jan 24, 2006

Well, this will be the start of yet another adventure. As I write this, in the cold, next to a roaring woodstove, Brian is in the heat of Miami, busy parking trucks at Joe Robbie (Dolphin) Stadium. We are continuing the "Excellant Adventures" to let people know what happens at the Super Bowl. Brian's job will be transmission, but he will be working with a senior manager as his number #2. I may have to work for my son.....which will be interesting and a challenge. My job is going to be graphics maintenance for the pre and post game shows. I will have multiple computers that all talk to each other for the graphics for these shows. We are both down there over the next 10 days so this will truly be an "Excellant Adventure".