Friday, October 01, 2010
And We LIKED IT That Way!
You there, jabbering into the laptop. Nice suit. Hey, did I ever tell you how we used to put together TV in the field? It’s crazy now that I think about it, but at the time it seemed totally dope. First off, we ran around with these colossal cameras on one shoulder and a Samsonite full of VCR parts hanging off the other... VCR, Video Cassette Recorder. You know, those rickety brick like devices your parents used to play reruns of Barney on. You know, Barney - big purple dinosaur, first openly gay children’s show host. Anyway, we’d have to bring a bunch of these like, huge tapes with us, ‘cause once you filled them up, there they were. I mean, you could dub the stuff over to another tape but it took forever and the only draggin‘ and droppin‘ going on were the ashes falling off all those cigarettes they used to make us smoke.
Oh, and get this: All the microphones had cords hanging off them. No joke, they were physically attached to the recording deck. On shoots we’d be tethered to each other, me with the camera and deck, you with the big-ass microphone. On walk-downs and such, camera crews would get all tangled. It wasn’t at all uncommon to spend ten minutes afterward untying yourself from the other schlub sportin’ forty feet of cable. If you weren’t careful, you could even trip a civilian or worse yet, a cop! I once took a bailiff out at the knees during a gang-bang, thought I was gonna spend the weekend in the pokey. And then there were the lights. We used to attach these big ole landing strip lamps on-top of our cameras, then strap on a battery belt just to power them. A battery belt! A belt made of batteries! I shit you not.
Of course it really wasn’t all that bad, since we only had, what, two or three newscasts a day. Hell, if a ballgame or show went long, the studio crew would tape it in advance and cue it up for later. Can you imagine? News in a can? Of course back then stations still signed off at night. Yeah, around midnight they’d just throw up some horse blanket and chill ‘til dawn. No infomercials, no dirty 800 number spots, just a still image and - get this - tone. TONE! they’d blast that right intro people’s homes like it was some kind of air raid. I’m tellin’ ya, it was whack! Good thing was we rarely ever went live. Stations only had one live truck a piece back then, not a fleet like now. Yeah, back then if you were going live, there had to be a plane crash or a submarine hunt or some kind of cop car convention, Not like now when any old city council meeting attracts a satellite farm out back, I remember when we first got our - Hmm? What’s that? You’re trying to track audio?
Yeah, I’ll shut up.