Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Job, An Introduction, part 1 of 7

Jim's Truck
When I meet new people, they often ask me if I work. I do, but when I explain my job, they normally leave confused. This is my explanation: I work for my brother who owns a video production company. He videos school events and I work for him selling DVDs to the parents. I don't work all of his jobs because he has other crews. Last month I took my camera with me for a few days and snapped pictures to help show what I do.This is Jim, my brother, inside the production truck directing his camera crew.
"Greetings and hallucinations"

Jim repurposed a catering truck into a standard production truck that would be used for field production.  It is designed to seat a director, shader (coordinates colors of all the cameras), and an audio person.  Jim bought it, rebuilt the engine, welded up the rusted holes, added the door to the side then installed the equipment. Over the years he has rebuilt it repeatedly and perfected the design.  He likes to stay on the cutting edge of obsolescence. The original odometer was broken so we can only guess at the mileage.  I suppose it has been to the moon and back at least a few times.

Sometimes, late at night when the streetlights shimmer eerily and the moon is full, a ghostly image faintly appears in the paint on the side of the truck, "Hot Buttered Biscuits."

I can't work anything in this truck except the microwave to heat coffee.

This is the back of the truck with the doors swung wide open and my son Reese is doing something very important.

This is a close up of the inside of the back of the truck before anyone started pulling things out.   Everything must go back in order or the doors will not close and VERY expensive equipment will break in transit.

Normally this is how the back looks, everyone reaching and getting what they need.

The drawers were designed to be the perfect height to lean upon when you need to think important thoughts or if you are "plum tuckered out."

Howard, in deep thought.
This sign is on the inside of the back door.  I wonder, what is the "or else"?

We also use a "rack"  which was built by Jim to do multiple events at different locations.  It does most of what the truck does but on a smaller scale. 

This is one of our cameras after it has been assembled and fully rigged for a show.  It is a Sony DXC - D30 WS for anyone who might be curious.  

This is a close-up to show the wear and tear due to our excessive use.  The tape is holding the eye guard for the viewfinder on the camera.  I think it has also been to the moon and back a few times.

This is one of the tripods which holds an assembled camera and a close-up showing the wear and tear.  Everyone and everything works hard.

This one is being carried by my son Dustin.  They are very heavy.

At the beginning of each event, every camera and tripod must be assembled then disassembled afterward.  They are connected to the truck or rack by hundreds of feet of Triax cables which are unrolled and rerolled for each show.  The long cables are heavy and hard to handle.

There is an exact way to roll the cables, it's called "over and under."  You wrap one loop, then twist the second loop.  This keeps the cables from knotting up.  The more you roll, the heavier it gets. 

Wrap over, then loop under. 

Repeat a few more thousand times.
Here is a master cable roller at work.  Howard can out roll any of the young whippersnappers.  He moves so fast my camera can't film his hands.

This 500-foot cable had one loop right in the middle missed by the person who previously rolled it.  It caused this tangled mess which took a while to straighten out.

Dustin and Reese holding a cable that is "all boogered up."

The irritation on Reese's face was caused by the twisted cable.  You should see his face after he has unknotted a 1,000-foot cable.

The real nightmare is when you are in a panicked, fast-paced setup and this happens.

The cables are connected to the truck by a side patch panel.  Jim built the door to flip-up to keep rain from getting into the connections.  It is fun to watch them hook it up.  They don't seem to realize how goofy it is to see grown men standing around with a door on top of their head.  None of them seem bothered at all.  It is part of the job.  Jim actually trains new crew people to do it this way.

If you think learning how to roll cables was exciting, wait until my next post where I show you how to tape the cables down so people won't trip.  I hope I don't get fired for making fun of Jim and telling all of his trade secrets.

"Are you making fun of me?" asked Jim.  "Howard, is she making fun of me?"

Howard sighs, "Jim, she is making fun of all of us."

....naw, he won't fire me, he can't fire me, I am his SISTER!  He is stuck with me for life.


  1. What a small world we live in!!Why you ask? Because I used to do recording and sound and spent hours crawling around to tape down cable, and arranging mikes and miking people back in the day. This time of year used to be our busy season with a lot of traveling. Dorothy

  2. Oh my Dorothy, it is a small world!! You know how hard the work really is to do. You can skip reading my next post since you will already know everything about it, or maybe you can correct my mistakes.

  3. This was an instructive lesson about this field of activity.
    A field of action that requires technical knowledge as well as
    artistic creation. Well, I cannot find better words with my limited
    knowledge of the English language.
    I wish continued success for the future !

    1. Christel, Thank you for your well wishes. Your English is much better than my German!
      It is a highly technical job and I believe my brother has mastered it. I am so proud of him and yes, I am prejudice and think he is the best.

  4. So, that's what you do when you're not gardening! I'm impressed with how much you know that you don't know you know.....What kind of events do you video? I'm thinking proms and graduations?

    1. Now you know why I have weeds and spiderwebs in my garden. Jim does everything you can possibly imagine. Me, I just tag along when he needs someone to sit out in the lobby selling DVD's. I have more posts coming and will go into deeper details. I did not want to overload anyone with too much excitement all at once.

  5. Filming at sporting events is really a big job. I bet those cameras are super heavy. I wouldn't know how to run any of the equipment in that truck either. Maybe not even the microwave. lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. Thanks Jann, everything is heavy and complicated; but, I just sit, smile, and take people's money. I am good at taking people's money!

      Thanks for letting me link up at "Share Your Cup Thursday",

      My post did not exactly fit with everyone else's posts, but then again, I never quite fit anywhere else anywhere.

  6. I would never have guessed what your job would be.

    1. It is impossible to explain to anyone new I meet.