11/19/14

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

... but not so much - even though it is getting bitterly cold in New York City. I just realised I have not posted any updates in a few months so here we go.

The UN General Debate happened, we worked crazy long hours and celebrated accordingly with all of our colleagues, supervisors, and peers. Some days we arrived early at 7am and other days we didn't leave til past midnight. The first days of that week started with the unprecedented Climate Change Summit with powerful speeches from Leonardo DiCaprio, US President Barack Obama, philanthropist Al Gore, international politicians, business leaders, and many others. Following that long day of climate change action and ambition announcements, the General Debate began and didn't stop - Heads of State of all 193 countries made their national statement for nine straight days, recording, editing, and distributing all of statements.

As the broadcast department has not been overwhelmed with nonstop Debate or Assembly meetings, my supervisors have give me few more opportunities to operate robotic cameras, studio graphics, field microphones, and more. They also are beginning to have MOC technicians (myself included) train fellow technicians in the MOC Room systems; which is amazing as much senior technicians shadow and learn from my hands-on experience in the room.

Since that early October week though, committee meetings have continued, panel discussions convened, special events have happened and we have all been stepping up our game to make sure all meetings are effectively broadcasted.

8/18/14

It's Been a Year!

It's crazy to think I have been working at the United Nations headquarters, in the television broadcast for just over a year now. I have seen quite the number of celebrities (Steven Spielberg, Stevie Wonder, David Guetta, Mia Farrow -- just to name a few) walk thru these halls, as well as decent high-level political figures (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Benyamin Netanyahu, and many others).

As I began my experience the UN broadcast dept, I was thinking the studios or control rooms or master control booths would be top of the line technologically... Ironically, it was quite the opposite, everything was analog and just transitioning into the new digital age (new cameras, tapeless recorders, high-def monitors, media management servers, etc) and everyone was starting fresh to learn it. Since there were few "new" guys, we knew nothing of the old ways and were able to quickly get a hang of the systems but the "old" crew took some time readjusting to the digital age. There were (and still are) numerous glitches in the system. I found out , actually that some local news stations run the system media management system and they have similar issues as well.

While the digital transition was happening for us, there was non-stop construction in the General Assembly (GA) Hall. Since before my time (Jan 2010, to be exact), the GA has been in a temporary building on the north lawn of the headquarters -- housing many conference rooms, offices, and storage. This month, the original GA Hall (built in 1952) will reopen after years of construction - including infrastructure repair, telecommunication upgrades, and general renovations. Our staff are planning to test all the new GA equipment soon and hopefully be up-and-running for the Debate in late September.

And today (18-Aug) is my birthday... our supervisors celebrate the staff birthday each month with cookies (or a cake, or cupcakes, etc) and I cannot be more excited for free cookies!! 

In the end, this past year has been awesome -- with plenty of ups and downs, fun times and annoying times, and mostly learning experiences that help with progress my career.

5/23/14

Time is Flying by... it's Summer now!!

Cannot believe spring flew by and it is already summer-time! Unfortunately, in the "real-world" we do not get a 3-month vacation, beach-filled relaxing days, or any sort of real summer break -- I have to use my allocated time off, which in turn means I have less time off, come fall or winter time. Either way, I am excited for continued work at the UN even though the summer is known to have a lighter workload.

Over the past month or so, the producers have actively been cross-training the technicians (myself included) in various positions throughout the operations; because of this, I have been quite often running the Media Operations Centre on my own, while others watch / learn the daily tasks of the room. At times, it definitely gets overwhelming because some days there can be five different recordings (meetings, events, interviews, etc) happening at once, while I am the only technician operating the recording system AND the global UN Television feed.

With every job, there are always those few staff that are completely oblivious with the tasks of the day- even if there are schedules posted all around the control room. To some extent, I can blame myself with this at times mostly because I am often the only staff in the MOC and do not always catch the start of every single meeting, for backup recordings. The one thing I did learn (at least with others being oblivious), is to double and triple, even quadruple check the tasks I complete - because, as often the sole technician in the MOC, anything that is exported, dubbed, monitored and in essence seen UN staff, media personnel, or country delegate representative all comes through my office!


In the end, it has been ten months working at the UN - I am still constantly intrigued and on the edge of my seat with everything that we do in the broadcast operations of the UN.

3/20/14

Finally Spring!

Time is speeding by this winter and it's finally spring! Lots of things have been happening with my work - most notably, I operated the robotic cameras / switcher for a UN meeting AND was the technical director (TD) for a short time one evening recently.

My boss(es) have been trying to spread me around to do different jobs for various UNTV programming. The opportunity for operate robotic cameras and switch between feeds for one of the meetings was awesome! At first, it was overwhelming but slowly began to realise it is not as difficult or complicated as I once thought; sure I sometimes turn the joystick the wrong way, since the controls are reversed (moving stick right, aims camera left), but overall fun and intriguing! The second time I was running the whole switcher for different UN program feeds; since it was after "regular" hours, I was simply switching between a playback deck, bars or black, and live press stakeout camera - still was pretty sweet.

As less high-level meetings are happening and spring / summer rolls in, I will have many more chances to take roles in the control room or in the field, shooting b-roll / secondary footage. Ambition and time will tell what positions I ultimately with be ... check back for more update.

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Right before taking over control of the TD position

2/4/14

Crazy snow days then some awesome celebs!

January flew by and February is well underway... might have been because of unbearable cold and snow of NYC this winter! The United Nations actually shut down once and closed early / opened late a few times, due to this crazy weather.

Many things are always happening here at the UN Headquarters including daily committee meetings, General Assembly plenary, country's Mission events, brief diplomatic meetings, Security Council debates, international remembrance days, or cultural bazaars in the HQ lobby. Everything that occurs in the UN really is quite interesting, even if I am just walking by checking out the posters or tables.

A few months ago, David Guetta and Stevie Wonder ventured into the UN for various events, studio records, and meetings... for the "International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust" (as officially named by the UN), many Jewish-related organisations and genocide prevention and awareness groups hosted / attended the ceremony to remember and honour the Victims of the Holocaust. The keynote speaker for the event was filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Holocaust survivor Rena Finder, both speaking about incredible stories of resilience, survival, and continuing education. Spielberg then came into our studio to record an extensive interview discussing his Jewish roots, filming Schindler's List, meeting survivors to hear their stories, and attempting to continue educating today's youth before all the survivors are gone! One of the best parts about having such incredible talent and "celebrities" come into our studio, is that I am on the opposite side of the wall from them or often in the same room as them (operating the camera, setting up lights, stage managing, or simply watching the interview).

In addition to my full time position at the UN, I recently picked up a freelance gig with Dick Clark Productions for crew at the NFL Honors which was held 1 Feb 2014 at Radio City Music Hall. As I was crew with various live event and award show productions in Los Angeles during my time there, I was able to reconnect with some of the managers and supervisors to land this gig. It was really an awesome experience to work again in a live award show production; to make it even more interesting, I ran into Hugh Jackman, Andy Samberg, Alec Baldwin, and lots of NFL players and coaches!