Drop a hundred thousand or so TV geeks onto the glittering scab of Las Vegas and what do you get? A hangover in the making. But enough about my head, let’s go to the show! Officially it’s known as the Electronic Media Show, an annual Spring summit of gear-heads, Power Suits and sleazoids of every stripe - sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. But stroll through the Las Vegas Convention Center and you quickly realize NAB is all about the gadgets. Sat trucks with vertical thrust, microphone flags that glow in the dark and enough plasma flatties to trigger to cause a brownout at nearby Hoover Dam. Me, I’m a people person - one whose eyes glaze over whenever the engineer types wax all over the schematics. Still, I’d be remiss in my self-appointed role as stumbling pundit if I didn’t at least mention some of the whatchamadoodles:
It’s a motor home, it’s a space shuttle, it’s WRAL’s spiffy new Sat Truck! Sporting an eye-bleeding array of logos, gravel-crunching mojo and enough electronics onboard to give most photogs a stroke-0, this SNG/ENG road hog is a sight to behold. Hard to believe it’s even remotely related to El Ocho’s own Santa Maria. Here’s hoping I don’t ding it with the door of Unit Four at the next Carolina broadcast encampment. That's a cross-market beatdown I don't need.
Back in my day, we didn’t have giant video walls! We had shitty little monitors wrapped in blue canvas AND WE LIKED IT! In other words, there were more flat panel TV’s, cardio-inducing edit systems and rainbow selection of coax cable than this failed reporter can ever properly describe. Perhaps I’ll Leave it to The Weaver. For now just know that two thirds of what I walked by sailed right over my head, though the flashy, blinky things were awful purty.
This I saw two years ago, but it’s so intrinsically impractical, it deserves a second mocking. It’s a Segue -- with a Steadicam! I know, I know - why didn’t YOU think of that? I’ll tell you why…It doesn’t make any sense! Sure it must be fun to run - kinda like shooting home movies while riding a unicycle - but no matter how much I run my fingers through my thinning hair, I can’t figure out why you’d ever need one. I’ll gladly stand corrected. For now though, I’m getting’ the hell out the way.
Good News! We want you to model for us at the world’s largest electronic media show. Bad News! Ya gotta wear a too-tight jumpsuit with nipply sensor points! Oh, and ya hafta dance too! At least that’s how I envision the pitch made to the two painfully white women trying busting a groove while their computer generated counterparts herked and jerked in rhythm-less simulation. Think Laura Croft with far less sex appeal and all that pesky self-esteem.
Excuse me sir, but your chocolate’s in my peanut butter. And while you’re at it, it looks like your giant satellite dish fell on my Mini-Cooper. How else do you explain this contraption: quite possibly the globe’s most diminutive dish-hauler. I know, I know - it’s the perfect Christmas gift for that VJ in your life and the very idea of a Sat Truck will be laughable in the Magic Laptop Age, but with a cockpit that small, one has to wonder where you stuff the intern. Put your hand down, Bill.