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This is a question I'm glad nobody saw me

Have you ever done something, realised how stupid or embarrassing it was and then looked about to see if anyone watching? Did you get away with it?

Suggested by Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, chosen by YOU

(, Thu 27 Jan 2011, 15:49)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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The 1998 TV3 weather fiasco: Disey saves the day.
The phone rang in Graphics, and it was Dianne calling me from downstairs in the TV3 program control room.
“Hey AJ, the weather’s gone.”
It was one of those telescoping pull-focus horrorshow moments like when Paul Scheider first sees that shark in Jaws.
“Oh shit, I just overwrote it with the Nightline weather!”
FUCK! It was 6.52 on a quiet Friday evening at TV3 and we were in the last commercial break before the weather bulletin. After the Friday bulletin the News Department always shouted Heinekens, wine and nibbles for the Friday evening crew, so, being on the Nightline late shift skeleton crew, I thought I’d be really efficient, save time and generate the late weather while the 6 o’clock went to air, then go kick back with a few brewskis in the newsroom.
Except that I’d forgotten which commercial break we were in, jumped the gun and overwritten the 6 o’clock weather still frames with the Nightline weather stills. Totally different ball game.
“Is there a problem, graphics?” I heard the news director ask, noticing Di’s sudden flurry of activity further down the console as she attempted to test the weather playback.
It was standard practice for graphics to monitor the control room comms during the bulletin. The director was an incompetent prick, one of those assholes who tries to bury his own mistakes by distributing the blame for them across as many departments as possible, in the hope that his signal would get lost in the noise.
Therefore Di hated him every last little bit as much as I did.

However just as history books are written by the victors in any war, TV station Fault Logs are written by the News Director. And this fiasco was a career breaker. And I was the department newbie.
Suddenly I had a flash.
“I can fix this. Tell him it’s OK!”
“No problem. It’s OK,” I heard Di’s icy reply to the director over the comms.
“What are you going to do?” she half-whispered into the phone.
“Praise God, I didn’t delete the 6 o’clock source files. I can re-copy them back down to your machine while we’re still in the break.”
“...In three minutes?”
“No, we’ve got about 6. I can still keep writing to your machine while we’re on-air as long as you’re not trying to read the same still frame that I’m writing.”
“…And if Rose doesn’t read too fast off the autocue and catch up. Go! Go then! Go!”

16 still frames, each with a 5 digit file name, and I would have to do it all manually. Using the auto routine would just re-dump the Nightline weather again now.
Run across the room, crank up the sleeping weather computer, load the first still frame onto the router, back over to the still frame store, grab the still, dump it to Di’s program control room computer. And again, all in exact sequence, 16 times, plus the cloud loop.

Just one digit out of place and God knows what half a million unsuspecting New Zealand weather punters would have seen: a blank frame, an error message, a picture of a frog, one of my bizarre Photoshop doodles… anything. Rose the weather girl could read faster than I could dump stills, and by the time I hit “save” on the last still it was a dead heat, and when I glanced up at the program line monitor as that last frame went to air I had no more idea what she would see there than she did, or Di.

YES! Off air! Nailed it, with literally milliseconds to spare! 12 years later and I still hyperventilate and my heart races when I think about it.

Downstairs, cool as a cucumber, Di put the presentation computers on standby and casually strolled back up to Graphics. By the time she got upstairs I was shaking like a leaf and the still frame store buttons were slick with sweat.

She didn’t get mad, she didn’t say anything. She waited until my normal hair colour returned and my pulse slowed and then we went out into the newsroom and drank beers with the news crew as if nothing had happened, because it hadn’t. Although the Director had his suspicions and the Producer (who sat next to graphics) was certain that something was up when Di spent the whole weather break whispering on the phone, because that never happens.

I quit TV3 on `04 but Di still works there part time and we are friends to this very day. If she hadn’t trusted me to fix the weather in that split second, both of our asses would have been well and truly in the fire, so if you’re reading this Disey, thanks again for saving my ass, I will never forget that.
You rock!!
(, Mon 31 Jan 2011, 7:42, 3 replies)
I really like this.

(, Mon 31 Jan 2011, 21:47, closed)
What was the name of that T.V presenter that perstnted the news all fucked up on E?

(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 1:44, closed)
excellent stuff!
gets a click from me!!
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 10:56, closed)

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Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1