CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach TV logistics preview

1996 PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES Race No. 4 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH Long Beach, California April 12-14, 1996 TELEVISION LOGISTICS: AN OVERVIEW by Robert Heathcote Earlier this week I managed to break away from my "real" job a ...

1996 PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES Race No. 4 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH Long Beach, California April 12-14, 1996

TELEVISION LOGISTICS: AN OVERVIEW by Robert Heathcote

Earlier this week I managed to break away from my "real" job a couple hours early and hang out with a few buddies who were busy with their associated logistical duties for Grand Prix Teleproductions, the television and communication engineering specialist to the Grand Prix of Long Beach since day one, in 1975.

For an estimated 35 million viewers world-wide, these hard-working guys and gals make sure every piece of audio/video equipment and its operator is in place and working when they should be so that tv producers of OCC (ABC), Canada (English and French languages), Brazil, ESPN International, and trackside closed-circuit television (for attending media, hospitality suites and the seven "Vision Board Big-Screens"), can choose, independently, between any of the 13 fixed-location cameras around the circuit, five in-car cameras, a blimp shot, two pitlane reporters and yet another camera in victory circle. Add more hand-held cameras for ESPN support-race coverage and foreign language broadcasters, and you have over 25 cameras connected by some 41,000 feet of cable.

Just as important is the coordination, configuration and management of the remote television production control booths (trucks), its technicians, and the so-called "talent" of OCC for the ABC television network.

But that is just the beginning. GPT is also responsible for the installation and maintenance of all temporary landlines/telephone communications and, all the closed-circuit television monitors, including those in the many hospitality suites all around the circuit (nine of which are new this year, including one very large platform above and behind pitlane, which rivals the main grandstands in total height).

Nearly every wire you can see around the circuit -- and that's probably only 5% of the installed total -- has been done so by the highly-skilled staff of GPT (in fact, if you see any messy rigging, it was probably *not* done by GPT because these guys are some of the best in the world, most with credits which included many other major sporting events like the NFL's Super Bowl and last week's 68th Academy Awards).

They started just last Monday (4/1) and will probably have only one day-off out of the next 15, including an eight-day stretch of end-to-end logistical nightmares. And I'm told it will be worse this year than in the past because the Grand Prix insurance agent no longer allows the GPT crew a cold beer or five for Monday's post-race windup party.

To the crew of GPT: You have my sympathy. I and 35 million others owe you a beer.

/end

..Robert Heathcote.......................AUTOSPORTS BBS..310-641-9627..

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