Thursday, April 22, 2010

Preparations for World Equestrian Games

HD production trucks in the TV compound
Single-mode fiber pedestal in the TV compound

Denise: "GRFX Chick"
Daktronics ProStar in Outdoor Stadium

I was asked by "TV Producer" to come to the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event for a few days to attend production meetings for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

My involvement with WEG has been a long and winding road. Originally, I put in a bid to be the overall provider of all timing & scoring + TV graphics. WEG decided to go with a Dutch technology provider, which was a disappointment on many fronts. I didn't really understand, amongst other things, why WEG management would even consider a non-US provider in these difficult economic times. But politics work in mysterious ways. You smack your head up against the office wall a few times, curse a bit, and move on.

After "Dutch Provider" did the World Cup Final in Las Vegas last year with "TV Producer" as the host, I was asked to come back into the mix. "TV Producer" has decided not to take "Dutch Provider"'s graphics for WEG. "TV Producer" will do the whole event (almost 150 hours of live TV, plus 4 two-hour shows on An American Network) via interfaces, D.P. will provide only data. And Interfaces R Us. So, another twist of fate, and I'm back booking flight tix to Lexington Airport.

WEG and Kentucky Horse Park are a somewhat odd public / private partnership, which is usually a recipe for disaster. But in this week's meetings, I was impressed with much of the infrastructure the State of Kentucky has provided. On paper, the fiber backbone (actually two BBs, one for TV and one for networking) is a nice design. I see a couple of problems, and a couple of areas where I would have done things differently, but the plan will work. I was pleasantly surprised with the expertise of the infrastructure team people from the State.

Should be an interesting September.

I really enjoy working for "TV Producer". The company is run by two really cool, unusual and talented guys, the production team is populated by lots of other cool and talented people, and the general competency of the whole outfit is WAY high. The workplace takes on almost a family atmosphere, which stands in stark contrast to many production outfits, in which the atmosphere can be toxic. Those of you who work in TV know all about The Screamers; there's none of that at "TV Producers".

WEG will be a long and difficult event, we'll be on the air 4-8 hours a day for 16 days, so working in a nice atmosphere with laid-back people will make things a lot easier.


T-Rav said...

Family style atmosphere for a US broadcaster? Surely you must be joking.

The Mighty Skunk said...

No joke.

T-Rav is a veteran of hundreds of TV broadcasts, in a dozen or more countries. He knows of what he speaks, and he knows how unlikely my description is.

The average US TV production is a very, very strange beast. It involves lots of screaming, lots of drama, and a toxic atmosphere. Collegiality is nonexistent, and praise is defined as the absence of blue-faced, spittle-spraying rants.

This particular TV production company is an almost unheard-of anomaly. Talented people, all of whom are pleasant to work with, many of whom have either been with the company, or working as subs for the company, for 15 years.

Strange but true, and I'm pleased they value my talents enough to consider me part of the team.