Okay, I’ve been putting it off long enough. Finally, today, I’m pleased to present a few techie photos. When I was in Beijing, our broadcast compound was a bit less spread out, so it was easy for me to get pictures of all sorts of stuff. Here, we’re spread out over a mountain. I still haven’t even been to the start of the course. I’ve been to the END of it lots of time because that’s where a lot of my work takes place, but the start, well, no. Besides, the start is a LOT farther up the hill.
Now, onto the pictures!
First, as unglamorous as it is, here’s my control room. Not much to look at, but it gets the job done. The equipment rack in the background holds some specialized routers that connect all of the commentators’ consoles to our software and, ultimately, to our Switching Center in Vancouver. In Beijing, we used a similar system, but the gear in the racks sat on tables in front of the operators, and we monitored audio and adjusted levels right on the gear. Here, we do it all on computer. That’s what the laptops are for. The two guys in the picture are my coworkers, Glenn Stillwell and Ed Slater.
Here are our OB Trucks. The one on the left is where the television control room is. These trucks come from Clearwater, FL. My condolences to the driver. It’s quite a haul just driving from Vancouver to Whistler, much less from Florida to Whistler.
Next, we have the wall of video. This is inside the truck on the left. We’ve got about 60 cameras covering the course and even more mics. The sleds run so fast that it’s hard to keep up with them. As I understand it, we have a number of camera shots that are programmed and computer controlled. When a sled enters the frame on a particular camera, the director can cut to the next automated camera sweep and it will move with the sled around the course. When you watch the event, you’ll see replays where they overlay one team over another at a particular point on the track. If they didn’t have the shots automated — so that each team is shot the same way — they wouldn’t be able to do the comparative overlays nearly as well. It looks pretty amazing.
This is the audio mixer on-board the truck. We’re not actually using this one for the main mix because it can’t handle all the mic inputs. It will handle some of the sub mixes and routing. We provide a surround sound mix of crowd ambiance and a few course mics for the radio broadcasts and add to that all of the camera mics that pick up the sound of the sled zooming past for television. In my control room, we add in the individual announcers before sending it all on to the networks covering the events.
Well, those are just a few of the techie photos. I’ll post more in another update. Tomorrow, it all begins with the Opening Ceremonies. Our first day of competition will be on Saturday. Incidentally, all of our races will run in the afternoons and evenings.
Thanks for following along at home. Feel free to post your own comments as we go along.