Working for NBC

:: I recently got an opportunity to work in a utility role at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, WA. Today was the first day of setup and turned out to be pretty chill. I expected the atmosphere to be somewhat frantic, but while it was definitely hard work, a lot of the time I was chatting and getting to know some of the people I'd be working with. Only a few of them are actually employed by NBC; these guys at the top hire out freelancers for the rest of the positions.

For setup today, I mostly unloaded gear and made sure it was organized as we got it into the loading area. In a production of this size, organization is a huge component; there are hundreds of boxes, thousands of feet of cable, and cameras everywhere. The cameras and cable were what took up the rest of the day. I was more involved with the cable running, which was a challenge since we had to make sure none of it was in the way or tangled with other gear. I learned about several different types like TAC cable, which is actually several tactical data fiber optic cables combined in a very thin snake. Each cable has a numbered suffix denoting how many individual fibers are in each snake (i.e. TAC-12 has twelve fibers, six for sending and six for receiving data). I also learned a lot of abbreviations the experienced techs use: "homerun" is when a device like a camera is connected directly to the booth without patching into a snake or other device, "genny" is a generator, and a "shed" is the box that the send from a camera plugs into, which then sends a fiber optic signal to the booth.

Tomorrow will be a long day; we have to report at 8am, then stay until everything is ready for filming on Friday, which will probably result in a 14-hour day. I don't know what's in store for me, but I'm really excited to keep going. So begins my brief two-week career with NBC! ::