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ECMA Wrap-up

Well, it's hard to believe the week is over. 7 days of work to pay the bills for a while and then a day of recovery to make up for the missed Valentine's Day. I had a great time working on the show. I learned a few things about big TV productions. Especially how much money they can spend. It was sad to see all the wonderful stages torn up and thrown away on Sunday night.

I guess to recap the week, Tuesday and Wednesday were basically occupied with loading in the PA, hanging and cabling it, and then running the monitors for the stage. By half way through Wednesday the work was really slowing down because we had to wait on the carpenters finishing their work. Wednesday to Friday had a fair bit of space in between bits of work, so I had a chance to spend some time chatting, explore the Metro Centre and play with Smaart Live. It turned out that I was responsible for wedges and in-ears on stages C and D. C was the centre circle stage and D was the big stage with Damhnait Doyle, Ashley MacIssac, Mary-Jane Lemmont, the Ennis Sisters, Denise Djokic, the classical bit and Aselin Debison. It really wasn't too hard; I just had to keep good notes. With the four stages there was plenty of time to move things between acts. The neatest bit was that I was on the floor during the live telecast.

The monitor mix was done by a guy named Terry, but I don't know his whole name. He was great to work with. We had two Innovason Grand Live consoles for monitors, and two for FOH. There was a FOH and monitor console dedicated to the A/B stages, and another pair dedicated to C/D stages. A fifth Innovason, a Compact, did the mixdown from the two FOH consoles, the VTR feeds and announcer mics etc to feed the main PA. I have some pictures, but as usual it will be a while before I get the roll used and developed.

I saw part of the broadcast re-aired on CMT yesterday, and thought it looked pretty good. I had heard differing opinions, but it wasn't as bad as some people said. The show looked REALLY good in the arena. The director obviously knew what she was doing, because the video shots were really cool, although they did miss some of the pyro shots in the Myles Goodwin tribute. Incidentally, the pyro for that segment nearly burned through the coax cable that takes the digital signal from the stage box to the Innovason consoles. If it had burned all the way through, the show would have been toast. Audio would have simply died on the A/B stages. Actually, come to think of it, the only act left was on C/D, so it wouldn't have ruined it, but it was an awful close call.

The on-air audio mix was a little disappointing. Not nearly as impressive as being there (even though I wasn't really in the coverage of the main PA most of the time). I don't hold it against the CBC guys in the truck, though. They only had one board to work with, and it didn't have automation. So, while the house PA and monitor boards could recall their exact rehearsal settings at the touch of a button with motorized faders and everything, the on-air mix had to reset for each act manually. I also thought the air mix was quite dry. I don't know if they didn't have many effect processors in the truck, or they wanted it that way or what.

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