Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

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Film35HD
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Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by Film35HD »

Hello to Zoltan and the great team at RESOLUME, and all good people here, from Hollywood, CA. USA.

If you are curious, in the link below is a BTS: Behind-the-Scenes look inside the TV OB (Outside Broadcast) production truck in the parking lot of the football stadium, during the Superbowl 50 Halftime Show (Chris Martin/Coldplay; Bruno Mars; Beyoncé).

I have muted all P/L chatter (Production Line: The $100,000 intercom system) – EXCEPT the voice of the female AD: Associate Director, who is counting every musical beat by measure (ONE, 2, 3, 4; TWO, 2, 3, 4; THREE, 2, 3, 4) - which cues the DIRECTOR sitting to her right and the TD: Technical Director who punches up the video on the $250,000 Switcher (often called a "Vision Mixer" in Europe).

The OB truck is in the stadium parking lot in Los Angeles. 2 fiber optic lines and 1 satellite line feed this signal to CBS Network's Master Control in New York (this is where the commercials are played and the network "Bug" (the corner logo) is added before it goes out to all TV stations/affiliates and to the world).


Enjoy.

p.s. Elsewhere on this forum I go into detail on why and how Drop Frame Time Code (DFTC) was invented in the U.S. in the 1950s/60s and thus how 29.97 frames per second was used instead of 30.00 when COLOR TV broadcasting had to ride piggy-back on top of legacy Black-and-White signals. Please search and find it if you are interested.

SuperBowl 50 Halftime BTS: 2min 30sec EXCERPT
https://vimeo.com/263987610
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Last edited by Film35HD on Sat Apr 25, 2020 04:58, edited 1 time in total.

boris.lema
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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by boris.lema »

thanks for the behind the scenes! Nice work!

Film35HD
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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by Film35HD »

Glad you enjoyed it, Boris.

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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by Robben »

WOW! Thank you so much for sharing this. I had to laugh when she (the voice) laugh @2:12. It shows a lot of passion that gets in to running a big show like that.

So how in fact do you used resolume? Is the director wall feed with or do you use it just for brand/commercials?

Film35HD
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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by Film35HD »

I am so happy you enjoyed the BTS truck video.

We don't use Resolume for Broadcast TV – I have been doing this for 40+ years – from way before personal computers/small workstations could handle video, much less broadcast-quality video.

I am certainly very impressed at what the genius gurus at Resolume have done with their software, and my comments here don't mean to take away from their great accomplishment.

If you can tour a high-end, broadcast TV studio in your area while they are doing anything LIVE, you will hardly see Macs and PCs – except maybe the HUMAN INTERFACE on some devices to 'trigger' and control higher-end machines in the machine rooms. The reason? When it is LIVE, we need instant push-button access for everything – we hardly have time to move a mouse, use pull-down menus, load files, etc. Everything has to be INSTANTLY available in less than 1 second. That is why the server used to record multiple cameras and "cheat" instant replay in sports costs $200,000 – it is nicknamed "ELVIS" because the product is called EVS, and it is a 'glorified TiVO.' Often when you watch an awards show like The Oscars® – we cheat those shots because, say Zoltan here won an Academy Award® just as his name was announced. The director then cuts to him in the audience looking shocked, hugging the person next to him, then standing to walk up to the stage to get his 'Golden Boy' statuette. While Zoltan is giving his thank you speech, maybe Steven Spielberg is sitting there and giving a 'thumbs up,' but the Director and Producer missed that shot and didn't punch-it up on-the-air, so the viewer at home just sees Zoltan at the microphone giving his speech thanking Spielberg.

So all we do is go on the P/L (Production Line, the $100,000 intercom system) and tell the EVS operator to re-cue Spielberg on camera just 1-second before he lifts his hand to gesture 'thumbs up' to Zoltan on stage. The Director says, "Stand-by to ROLL and TAKE 'GREEN'" (we used to give each machine a number, like VTR 27, but that takes too long to say repeatedly, so we started in the 90s giving each machine colors, so EVS Channel 1 would be RED, Ch 2 would be BLUE, Ch 3 with Super-Slomo High Frame Rate would be GOLD, etc). The EVS Operator feeds the Spielberg clip to GREEN, and waits for the Director, who a moment later barks, "ROLL GREEN, TAKE GREEN!" The TD: Technical Director cuts to the EVS and you see Spielberg lift his hand to give a thumbs up, then cuts back to Camera 2 which is Zolton on stage. YOU THOUGHT THIS WAS ALL REAL-TIME LIVE, but it actually happened 35 seconds ago... no different than an instant replay for a football game.

Before the Avid Media Composer could do 'broadcast-quality' around 2003 (it was invented in 1994/95, but was only VHS poor quality for Off-Line editing to do drafts), we had to use VTRs (averaging $100k each) and edit LINEARLY, in the order a show would be. We had to always fast-forward or rewind tape to find the sections we needed.

I still teach Linear editing, and people who start there and then go to a Non-Linear/Mouse-windows based editing are much better editors because they really have to think before doing an edit, because mistakes or guesses waste a lot of time.

Watch the first 9-minutes of this kids show from the late 1970s that on their last episode, showed how they made the show in editing. While the quality is poor because it is a 2nd generation copy (VHS) from a Betamax home/consumer VCR, I remember it well as it aired and the picture was absolutely perfect and sharp – because it came from $120,000 2-inch Quadruplex VTRs (that is like spending $488,000 in 2020 dollars, adjusted for inflation). 2-inch Quad was the first video format invented in America by Ampex in 1956 and was used for 30 years (until 1985). Sony's 3/4-inch cassette (invented 1971) which had sub-standard quality in the beginning and made more for schools and training video, got better and by 1977~1980 replaced 16mm film for News crews, inventing the term ENG: Electronic News Gathering. Until the 3/4-inch format, you couldn't broadcast portable video – everything oustide on location was usually film, because of the size of 2-inch machines (about 2-3 refrigerators in size).

PBS: Studio See (Kids Show, last episode showing behind-the-scenes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylLYmlIW0II

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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by He2neg »

The live buissness is something so different then just a live award show ;)


But when i view the first video (superbowl thing)... why does she talk so much and all that numbers.... isnt the only importend information what cam next (prepare) and then a "ready 1 -go" so it can be cut on point? (and some information to the camera ops sure, but if they are pro it dont need much to say)

Thats what i got when mix a few live cameras on mice events (show acts etc)

to whom is the other information (beat) importend? in paticula the beat number, they go up fast and then i notice its even hard to get these numbers spoken in time... 2-3-4-fifty five - 2- 3- 4 fifty six....
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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by Film35HD »

Good questions, thank you.

Two reasons the AD must call out each SHOT which is determined by 4/4 count of musical measures/beats:

1) Because the show is so "loud" in the stadium – along with all the other ambient noise and distractions, and, (2) As the show moves very quickly and you can't miss a single shot – it is important that all the camera operators know where they are at in the show, AND that a shot change is coming up. It is no different than an orchestra conductor leading waving his hands in the air with a baton – without that, sections of the musicians start hearing 'delays' where there sound echoes and bounces back, and start to 'drift' off time – some playing faster and others playing softer. Same reason DJs and bands/musicians have to have speaker monitors on stage or in-ear monitor earphones to cancel-out sound delay bouncing back to them.

I have the entire halftime, and fireworks go off at a certain point, but only on one side of the stadium is it best seen, so if the camera operator assigned to that shot is pointed somewhere else or the TD: Technical Director is not ready to punch that camera up, that split-second shot is missed.

Unlike a sporting event where the players are not 'staged and scripted' and you have to just be ready to catch any action that can happen, the AD: Associate Director's role is critical here. It is very easy for people on the team to get disoriented and forget where they are at in the show, in spite of 6 weeks of rehearsals before the big game. The shots are not 'random,' but carefully choreographed.

***

During a normal telecast, while the Director is concentrating on what you are seeing NOW, and the next shot or action you are about to see NEXT; the AD is cue-ing up what is 'down the road' 1 minute from now and getting that ready... (for the Academy Awards®, we can have (6) ADs all assigned to a different task: We make over 500 packaged clips since we don't know ahead of time which nominee will take home the Oscar®, So each nominee gets 1~2 'nom' clips and 1 win clip (in case they don't show up or if they fall or some emergency happens while they are walking up to the stage; the 'win' clip is different scenes from their movie than the nom clip. One AD is in charge of 'tape' (an EVS 'Elvis' hard-drive server which ingested all the 500 clips a week earlier); and once the envelope is opened and the recipient announced, the 4 other nominees are dropped and the 'winner' clip is cued and ready to go. While you are watching that, an AD is talking to the Stage Managers in the wings getting the next (2) presenters ready to walk out; while another AD is talking to other stage managers about the people after that; and another for the next 20 minutes, so no one is lost or stuck in the bathroom or upstairs at various bars during the show.

Thanks for the question!

Film35HD
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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by Film35HD »

Also, you should be in the PCR Control Room during LIVE NEWS (especially on a national, network broadcast) when something urgent is happening, like the 9/11 terrorist disasters in New York – REMote feeds coming in from camera crews all over the place. Master Control 'above' the PCR had to kill all programming for more than 24 hours and for most of that they did not go to commercial break. In the U.S., the (3) main news anchors (ABC, CBS, FOX) stayed at the anchor desk and on-air for 20+ hours, only taking bathroom and quick small bites to eat).

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Re: Behind the Scenes: SuperBowl 50 Halftime TV OB TRUCK

Post by He2neg »

Okay,,,, if all Cam OPs have also learnd the show with the numbers then it make sense....

as i said the "shows" i was part of had maybe a quick check before so all participants know what to deal with. Sometimes the show acts had a whole rehersal with technic live.

But never timed to this point. Mostly the coordinater of the cam call in what he needs / wants to the camera ppl and then say "ready mike" "go" and they have a tally to know they are live ;)
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