Crunch Time | By: Mike James | | Category: Short Story - Thoughts and Ramblings Bookmark and Share

Crunch Time

The news starts here!

Everyday I come into work at 10am and work until 6:30pm, making sure that each show is complete. I sit there in a dark room with no windows called an edit bay. I sit there editing tapes for 3 shows a day. My primary responsibility is the Noon, 5pm and 5:30pm shows. In all, we have 6 edit bays. Each edit bay has a computer, 2 TV monitors, 2 video tape machines and an edit console.

I have tons of video tapes in the area. Thatís because I have to edit so many tapes in a day. The days of film are long gone. Thereís no more cut and splice here. Film went away in the late 70ís. After that, it was ĺ tapes. Then it was SuperVHS, which was different than your average VHS. Right now, we shoot on DVC PRO, which is the smallest kind of tape around. The picture is noticeably different and clearer.

The producer sends me a rundown with all the stories I need to edit. Once the story is edited, the tape number and time code is entered into the computer. This way, if I need to find a story later on in the year, I can just punch in a word or a name and it comes up.

Communication is very important. If the producer doesnít give me the correct story, I need to holler at them and make sure itís correct. This is a time generated business. There are deadlines. If you donít get the story correctly or in time, my bosses will ask why itís not there and you better have a good reason, or else.

My biggest problems on the job right now are producers who are not experienced enough. Iíve worked at my job since 1996 and it seems like theyíre getting younger and younger. Many of the producers are just out of college and they seem to get a baptism by fire in this business. Sure, they want to get their foot in the door, but many people in this business have less than a yearís under their belt. A few have zero experience. You can than management for that business practice. What lacks in experience is sure to be mistakes on the air.

Thatís where my second job comes in. Iím also Chief Steward for NABET/CWA Local 51211. I represent 80 members who will need my help if theyíre ever in trouble. Nowadays, that seems to be the case with the amount of kids going into the broadcasting business. Many of them have never been a part of a Union. Thatís why Iíve made it my goal to let each one of them know that itís very important to know what their rights are. It seems likes itís an uphill battle the way the current business climate is with unions, but itís a battle Iím willing to take, knowing what Iíve been through.

One of these days, my job will soon be a thing of the past. Many stations in the bigger markets are switching to non-linear editing. In other words, no tapes will be needed. Once that happens, there will be no need for an editor like myself. The show will probably be done by a producer. When that happens, Iíll have to look for another job to do.

They way I figure it, weíre all replaceable.
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