Denver, Day 1
March 19, 2008, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Challenge, Technology, Video

DENVER — For as little as I did today, it seemed like a lot. Mostly because my main purpose for being here — video — was threatened big-time.

Of course, I packed my camcorder (plus accessories) and my tripod down to Denver. I need it, right? I’m doing post-game video and whatever other random multimedia stuff I decide to do.

Well, no. Apparently not at the NCAA tournament. The NCAA contracts out a multimedia company to do all the video so all TV stations have to do is plug in to the feed. Sounds simple enough — just gotta plug my camera into the mixer board and video distribution thingamagig.

Oh wait, my camcorder doesn’t have any audio-video inputs.

Well, the video coordinators must make digital backups of all the press conferences they do, right? I mean, it’s 2008.

Nope. Beta tapes.

Beta? What is this, the ’80s? I mean, I know that’s the TV industry standard for that kind of stuff, but no digital archiving?

The video rep told me I had three options:

  1. I could connect to their satellite uplink and download the video like many TV stations. Of course, I don’t travel with a satellite truck in my pants pocket.
  2. The rep could see if he could transfer any archived video to DVD for me, hence have it in a digital format I could use on my computer. Not a good chance, though, and it wouldn’t be timely by any means.
  3. I could try to convince an NCAA media representative to let me set up my own camera, since I’m media and should have access to video. While I’m waiting for the NCAA rep to find me after I requested her, I called the multimedia company to ask if it had an exclusive contract with the NCAA, and whether I could set up my own camcorder. Didn’t know. Talk to the NCAA. Finally, the NCAA rep comes out and gives me five seconds of her time by answering with a solid “no.”


Oh wait! Though my camcorder doesn’t have an A/V input, the computer dock it plugs into can function as one through its mini-USB port. All I needed was a USB-RCA cord to connect my camcorder dock to the wired world. I called up the Office Depot five blocks away from Pepsi Center and they said they had one. Awesome, I had one hour until the WSU interview; I could make it to Office Depot and back. KXLY offered to lend me the adapters and cables I would need to connect to the “video distribution center” hardware. Just needed the USB-RCA cord.

I walked to Office Depot, where the guy I talked to promptly said they didn’t carry the cord I was looking for. Nothing close.


I walked back to Pepsi Center and got back in time to do the locker-room interviews I needed to do for this story on Daven Harmeling and Caleb Forrest for Thursday’s front page. (I talked to Daven and Caleb about coming home to Colorado — even though their hometowns are Grand Junction and Pagosa Springs, respectively, and are each about five hours away from Denver — and got their parents’ phone numbers from them.)

Radio CrapAfter I wrote the story, I took the media shuttle back to my Marriott and proceeded to research how in hell I could capture video directly to my work Mac. Here is my solution: a $270 awesome-looking piece of equipment that lets me hook anything up via FireWire. Before that, I had walked to the Radio Shack three blocks from the Marriott and bought $85 worth of cords and adapters (pictured at left). So all I need to do is take a cab to the Denver Apple Store in the morning and pick up this video converter. (I called ahead. They have them in stock.)

This should work.

Good thing I’ll be expensing all this stuff.


5 Comments so far
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[…] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

Pingback by Denver, Day 1

Ok. That box … thing is pretty hot.

Is the thing on the left an RCA-phono adapter? Freakin’ Pullman Radio Shack had no such thing. Also, what’s the coax for? Video?

Have fun with the TV folk – theirs is a world of magic, $40k cameras and unicorns.

Comment by tor

Yes, I can’t wait to go waste the Spokesman’s money on a cab and buy this thing.

The thing on the way left is an XLR-phono adapter. They didn’t have an RCA-phono adapter? That’s a pretty basic item. I think I have half a dozen of them at home.

Yeah, the BNC coax cable is for the video feed.

Comment by Nick Eaton

[…] you look, the video solution worked beautifully. The audio came in a bit hot (and, for some reason, I can’t turn down the […]

Pingback by Look! A post! « Stories on the run

[…] soon I should be getting a sleek, high-def, microphone-friendly Sony A1U, shown below. The only drawback is that it uses tapes, unlike my current consumer-grade […]

Pingback by New gear, in theory « Stories on the run

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