I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Holiday and New Year - now we're a few days into 2019 and life can start returning to normal. Lets see if I can find the time to get back into my personal projects - including this website and the blog - so lets get caught up on the last few months and dive right in:
Wow, where did the last part of 2018 go? It's just been a bit of a blur, you see - the week after my last blog post (October 19th) I began working basically non-stop on Border Live on the Discovery Channel in the role of "Field Technical Supervisor". Actually we did a test run back in September, but then I shifted back to other projects until everything came together. In October they sent me out to one of the locations on a scouting run to make sure things would work, and then starting in November I was traveling down to the border basically once a week until we got up to the holidays. Unfortunately I can't go into much detail behind the scenes, but basically my role in the production was to make sure that the video from the field teams made it back to the main studio on the east coast in the highest quality possible.
So I spent every show (including multiple full scale rehearsals) watching the action play out in little preview thumbnails accompanied by real time encoding data - bit rate, packet loss, latency, etc from each of the cameras. In a way it kind of felt like staring at the code for the Matrix, watching all these different things happen at once. Of course I had some remote control to jump in and make minor tweaks to settings to keep the video signals streaming well. (Or as well as can be expected given the cellular environment at the border.) All in all, it was a great experience and I learned a lot, but needless to say it was a lot of work and when I was back in Houston, I was basically catching up on sleep and supporting other projects at TPC. (With a tiny bit of theatre work thrown in at CCCT).
Thomas Meek is an independent filmmaker living and working in Houston, TX