This past weekend, DCI East was held in Allentown, PA, at the famous J. Birney Crum Stadium, which is one of the most historic venues that is part of the DCI Summer Tour. This two-day event set the tone for finals week, and I was able to witness every second of it.
As Dan Potter put it, this was the “penultimate-weekend” for the Drum Corps season.
Jeff and I flew out Wednesday night to Allentown. It wasn’t until midnight until we touched down at Lehigh Valley-Allentown Airport.
A two-hour layover added a lot of time to the trip. Fortunately, the hotel was close to the airport, so it didn’t take long to get over there and checked in. I remembered that it was Shark Week, so I was able to enjoy some of the wonders of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (since we didn’t have cable at the apartment, we couldn’t watch it. It wasn’t long until I passed out.
Thursday was a travel day around the area. Jeff and I spent time looking for corps rehearsing in the area to get some more Drum Cam footage, and get corps members to read the script the announcers say, so people will listen to it more when they hear it in the stadium. There were only two corps in the area that day, Cascades, and Mandarins, so we left the hotel around 12:30/1 p.m. We found the Cascades bus, but not the corps itself. After driving around, we decided to find Mandarins. We did, and got some good video. After that, we drove around some more to try and find others. At 5 p.m., after we got food, we decided to cut our loses, and go back to the hotel to do some work.
We went down to the lobby around 5:30 to do some work. After doing some work, Jeff discovered a disc golf course 10-minutes away from the hotel. It wasn’t a tough decision to go disc golfing.
First, we stopped at the Army and Navy store to pick up some discs. I had no idea the amount of detail in each disc. There are different ones for each throw, from a putter to a driver, with each one having different speed, spin, fade, etc… After we got our discs, we headed to the course.
The course itself was extremely challenging. The holes wound in-between groves of trees, and up steep hills. It felt like playing Augusta as my first round of golf. To give you a sense of how bad I was, my first throw almost went into the hole that that was adjacent to the first one.
But over the course of the game, I started to get used to the whole game. But then I was thrown a curveball. The 8th hole had a lake right-smack dab in the middle of it. And there was no way to go around it.
Fortunately, I was able to tomahawk it over the lake. I saw threw it a little high, and it started to dip. But it landed just feet from the water, in an angle, like Excalibur.
The second-to-next hole wasn’t easy either. It was a 30-yard throw to a base of a cliff, then the hole was up on the side of the hill.
Once we were done with that one, we started to notice it was getting darker, and becoming a lot harder to find the disks when they went in the woods. We decided to call it, and walked to rest of the course.
A quick drive later, we were back at the hotel, ready to fall asleep. As we were doing work, Brittni, Jenny, and Allison came in, and I went to Friendly’s with them. What an experience. A short time after that, I hit the hay, ready to hit the ground running Friday.
Friday was a normal show day. We headed over to the stadium around noon to set-up. Teal Sound was rehearsing at the stadium, so we got some awesome Drum Cam footage of a cymbal player, using the GoPro. The guy does flips and other acrobatic things during the show. A lot of awesome footage.
During the show, I got corps members to read parts of the script, to turn into a video instead of having Brandt Crocker read it. It will save his voice, and maybe make people take notice.
After the show, I was able to catch Bobby in the lot, when he was walking back to the buses from the food truck. It was awesome getting to catch up with him. It great to see how much he was enjoying tour, and touring the country. He had a lot of funny stories from the road.
Once we got back from the hotel, we hung out downstairs in the lobby with Chris and Mike Boo, who were doing some articles. A couple of the video guys were going to the bar, so Jeff and I went to have a drink. I was able to pick their brains, and ask how it is working in a live-production environment. I learned a lot, and had a lot of fun.
Saturday was kind of a wash-out. It started to rain around noon, so we couldn’t get the drum cam footage that we wanted to, from Carolina Crown. We stayed in the lobby working until 3:30ish, when we had to go to the stadium. When we got there, everything was already set-up from the night before, but we just had to waterproof everything. A jacket on the camera, a ripped up poncho over all of the connections, and a lot of paper towels did the trick.
It rained off and on for the first half of the show, as well as the first three corps of the second half. During intermission, I was able to catch up with Jamie and Seanley during intermission. I hadn’t seen them since tour, so it was awesome. Gate showed up before the Cadets performance too, so I got to catch up with him for a bit as well.
The rain really started to come during Carolina Crown’s performance. I had to put the rain jacket on my camera, so I couldn’t use the viewfinder, and had to use the eye piece. I had to pick my shots more carefully, because I didn’t have the advantage of being able to use one eye to look around, while the other was focused on the viewfinder.
The rain stopped briefly for the Cadets performance. Once again, they put on a SHOW! I am impressed every time I see the Cadets show. Sheer brilliance. They have the whole package to win a World Championship this year. But once the Blue Devils went on, the weather turned south. There was a band of bad storms going right over Allentown. Half-way through the Blue Devils run, it started to pour. Once they were done I headed straight to the press box, to get the camera out of the rain.
That made breakdown very interesting. We had to make sure everything was dry before we put it away. it took a little longer, but we ended up getting everything packed. Truck loading was the same way. But the rain didn’t slow us down. By 12:30 a.m., everything was on the truck, and we headed back to the hotel. Pizza and beer were waiting for us back at the hotel. Not too bad.
Sunday was a marathon travel day. I had to wake up at 5:15 to get to the airport. My flight out of Allentown was at 7:10 a.m., getting into O’Hare at 8:30 a.m. CDT. My flight to Indy was original scheduled for 11:56 a.m., but got delayed two hours. Finally, a little after 2 p.m., we took off. We ended up flying through a bunch of storm clouds, making it a very bumpy and uneasy decent into Indy. So glad I don’t have to fly into Indy anymore.
Miles travelled: approx. 1600 mi
Hours of footage: 2.5 hrs
Holes of Disc Golf: 16
Michigan City, IN: 8/8 – 8/10
Indianapolis, IN: 8/10-8/14
Whoever came up with 5:30 a.m. should take back their cruel, cruel joke.
Greetings from somewhere in the middle of Tennessee! As I am typing this, I am on I-24 heading down to Atlanta, Georgia from Murfreesboro. Wake up today was at 5:30 a.m. Since it is a four-minus drive there, plus we lose an hour going from CDT to EDT, we had to ship out at 6 to insure we got to the stadium in time for the 2:30 show start time.
Yesterday was a travel-filled day as well.
The day started with a 6-hour drive from Indianapolis to Murfreesboro. I rode down with one of the judges, Jeff Young, and Derek, one of the visual techs from the Blue Stars. We met up at the office at 10:45, and headed out. It was a very nice drive, and they are very nice guys. It was cool hearing about Jeff’s business, Dynamic Marching, and their high school programs. From what I heard, Indiana music programs aren’t taking that big of a hit, financially. Made me jealous.
We got to the hotel around 3:30 CDT. I took that time to TRY and register for my classes for the fall. I had finally gotten my ducks-in-a-row, and gotten the e-mail saying I was a fully enrolled student. I was excited to finally register for classes, but alas, I couldn’t. The high-speed internet at the hotel wasn’t letting me open their webpage.
NOTE: Hotels, C’MON MAN! Why advertise high-speed internet? Everyone knows it isn’t. I did a speed test on it. I was getting 1.8 mbps down, and .8 mbps up. That is not high-speed.
I headed over to the stadium with a group of DCI people at 5. I was very excited/antsy/awake for this show. I really didn’t know why I was that way, but it was good. First order of business at the show was find home base in the press box. After finding that, I got prepared for the show. Tapes labelled, batteries charging; everything ready to go. While I was in the box, I got the ESPN Alert that Nnamdi Asomguah signed with the Eagles. Needless to say, I was shocked. (But that is for another blog, that will come later this week)
The show started around 6:30. At the Tournament of Champions (TOC) shows, small ensembles from the various eight corps performed for the fans walking to their seats. I got a lot of b-roll for that. Not as much stuff went on, like it did in Houston, but I got a lot of great stuff. It is nice already knowing what is going to happen. Makes filming it a lot easier.
The show itself stepped off at 7:40. Even though it was a TOC show, Music City got to perform as an exhibition. I was videoing from the field, as well as playing analysts for my peeps back home. For the last couple years, 7th and Music City have been tough competitors. I wanted to let everyone know what was up.
The rest of the show went off without a hitch. After every show, the corps did an instant encore. That made the show longer, but definitely added a lot to it. The fans really enjoyed it. The house was PACKED. From side to side, it looked like their wasn’t a seat left in the house.
All of the mass encore activities wrapped up around 11:30. Since we weren’t doing VOD’s or anything, there was no breakdown. I packed up the camera up and went downstairs. I helped with loading the truck, and lugging bins from the Welcome Tent to the truck. After the truck, the DCI staff went to Steak ‘n Shake for a post-show dinner. Like I have said before, late-night food is always the best. I had a Frisco Melt, a mint chocolate chip milkshake, and a boatload of laughs.
Good times had by all.
The only downsize was that I didn’t get back to the hotel until 1:50 in the morning. After watching a bit of SportsCenter, I passed out, knowing that 5:30 was going to come VERY fast.
My alarm went off at 5:15, but I didn’t get out of bed until 5:30. After a quick shower and pack, I went downstairs to meet everyone. The caravan rolled out at 6. Some people left the hotel at 5 a.m. to go to Atlanta. Such devotion.
The show today is at the Georgiadome in Atlanta, DCI Southeast. It looks like it is going to be another long 12-hour day. Fortunately, Trevor, the band director I am working for in the fall, will be there with jersey Surf. Hopefully I can meet up with him and talk about the program in the fall.
It is going to be a great show tonight. Looking forward to it!
I told myself that I would just focus on writing my blog for my DCI internship, since I didn’t have a lot of time to write. But this was just too important.
So, as you all know, the NFL lockout was lifted Monday, leading to a frantic week of agreeing with free agents, and make trades to better your team. The Patriots, Panthers, and the New York teams have made a big splash in the league, making trades and signing some big name players.
Then, you have the Denver Broncos.
They have remained relatively quiet this week. They trades away Jadar Gaffney for the defensive tackle from Washington, but besides that, they haven’t done much. The big news out of Colorado Springs, Colorado this week were that they were shopping around Kyle Orton, the starting quarterback from last season.
Now, this didn’t surprise me at all. Kyle Orton and Kevin Kolb, who recently went to the Arizona Cardinals, were the two quarterbacks who were reported to be finding new homes this offseason. With Kolb signing with the Cardinals, oration was a hot commodity. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks were looking for a veteran quarterback to lead their team, while they get their young gun ready to play.
Kyle Orton would be a stop-gap.
Talks picked up around Orton when a proposed trade would send him to Miami, in exchange for a couple mid-to-late draft picks. Denver wanted more for Orton, and Miami didn’t feel that he was worth that much.
My question: Why? Why do the Broncos want to trade Orton? Why do the Dolphins think that Orton isn’t worth that much?
Why in the world are the Broncos trying to trade Kyle Orton? He is been succeeding expectations ever since he took the reigns over from Jay Cutler, who whined his way to the Windy City at the beginning of the “McFailures-era.” Last year, he was one of the top-5 passers in the league, with 3100+ yards, 20 TD’s, and 9 INT’s, before being benched for the “Broncos savior” Tim Tebow, who was less than impressive in his three starts.
If you ask me, I think the Broncos should hold on to him. He is being used as the Broncos scapegoat for the failed, and miserable, season in 2011. As a quarterback, you live and die by your teams performance. I understand that. But it wasn’t directly Orton’s fault. For one, he didn’t have a consistent running game to back him up. Denver went through five or six different running backs last season. The defense also couldn’t stop a nose-bleed, giving up leads and not able to stop a high school football team. Because of these factors, the Broncos were 4-12.
Is Kyle Orton the best in the league? No. Is he going to be able to put the team on his back? No. Is he able to win a Super Bowl. Yes.
Kyle Orton is a game-manager. He can’t throw the long ball, but he is effective leading an offense down the field. The reason the TEAM did so bad wasn’t because of Orton. It was the team as a whole. He did his part, but no one else did. He has never gotten the chance on a decent team to shine. And he is a whole lot better than TimTebow, who ran more than he threw the ball in his first game.
Which brings me to my next point. Why is Tim Tebow being labeled the ‘savior’ of the Denver Broncos? Just because he SAYS he work harder? That may be true, but if you have the natural talent at quarterback, you just won’t succeed. Now, I am not saying he isn’t talented. He is incredibly talented. I just think he isn’t a starter in the NFL. If he was a versatile TE, who could throw the ball, he could be extremely valuable weapon. If John Elway comes out and says that he isn’t comfortable with Tebow, something must be wrong. He is being labeled a ‘savior,’ but he was 1-2 last year. Just because you were a QB-stud in college, doesn’t mean it will all transfer to the pro-level. You can’t run over people in the NFL like you can in the college level. And I don’t think he knows that. Before you know it, he will be on the DL, and Orton will be starting once again.
In a rebuilding phase, like the Broncos are, they need someone who is a solid, stable quarterback, who can lead the team while the young ones behind him mature and grow. If Denver was smart, they would keep Kyle Orton for the next two to three years.
The ride to San Antonio consisted of traffic getting out of Houston, a lot of SiriusXM, and a stop at Buc-ee’s. It is a HUGE truckstop off of I-10, between Houston and San Antonio. David had told us so much about it, and we had to stop there. It was a necessary bathroom and snack-food break. As we were leaving, I snapped this picture of the mascot of Buc-ee’s. Cute, isn’t it.
We got to the Alamodome around 11:30. I power-walked back to the hotel for a quick shower. I wasn’t able to shower in the morning, and nothing is worse than filming a 9 hour show when you already feel disgusting. When I got back to the dome, we finished set up. I tried taking a quick cat-nap in the press box, but that ended up not working.
The closer we got to the show, the higher the stress level went up. When the live stream went live a 2 p.m., David, who was doing quality-control, realized that there was no left-channel audio coming through. After a discovery of a bad connection from the DA to the canopus box, we switched out some cables, used some duct tape to keep it in place, and it worked perfectly.
I went down on the field to capture some b-roll. There were three Open Class corps, and 22 World Class corps. After the Open Class corps went on, I went into the lot. I have to give it up for the members. It was hot, and there was minimal shade. I didn’t stay out there long at all. Before I knew it, the first 13 corps were done, and it was time for an hour intermission, which could’t have come soon enough. All that lack-of-sleep and hunger caught up with me. I hit a wall.
During intermission, I met up with my mom. She flew out for the show, and to do a little sight-seeing. It had been close to two months since I had seen her, so it was very nice to see her. I brought her up into the press box to show her what it was, what we did, etc… While I was talking to her, Jeff came in and told me it was time to go up on the catwalk.
You heard me, the catwalk.
We had gotten permission to go up there and do a time lapse video from up there. We met up with Logan, one of the Blue Devils videographers, who also wanted to go up there as well. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself scared of heights, but that was scary. The walkways were all grates, so you could see all the way down to the field.
Once we got in the middle, Jeff got the GoPro camera ready, and had to leave to continue with the live stream. It was just Logan and I up there. I was up there for the rest of intermission, and beginning of the Blue Knights performance.
Talk about an adrenaline rush.
After that, I was wide awake. I got my second, or third, or fourth wind. I was down on the field for the rest of the show, getting some awesome footage. Now that I am comfortable with the shows, I am starting to feel out where everything happens, and the different nuances to all the shows. That gives me more time to focus more on my shot composition, and less on what is happening on the field.
By the third to last performance, I started losing faith that the show was going to end. At 10:55, the last corps, Carolina Crown, went on. At that point, I was just making sure I got a couple shots I could use, and use my energy to stay awake. They finished up around 11:10. After a quick break, the drum majors came on the field for awards. I got all of the different salutes from the different drum majors. Once Dan Potter, the announce, said “Goodnight, and drive safe,” it was done!
Breakdown was relaxed, but hurried since everyone was tired. Jeff, David and I went up on the catwalk again to retrieve the GoPro. David was a little freaked out of heights, but went up anyways. It was a lot better the second time. Since I wasn’t that scared anymore, I was able to enjoy the scenes. Once we got to the middle, David decided to take a planking picture. He lay, face down and eyes open, on the catwalk. I couldn’t do that.
Best planking picture ever? I think so.
Once we got down, breakdown was pretty much complete. We headed off to the hotel. Pizza was waiting for us, per the usual pizza party we the DCI staff have after all of the shows. Mat, Jeff and I went out for drinks at Mi Tierra, by the Riverwalk. Time flew by. Before we knew it, it was already 2:30. We went back to the hotel, and by 3, I was in bed passed out.
I met Mat down in the lobby at 8:45 to go to the airport. Jeff and Zongwei were staying behind to go to I and E, and David was staying behind to visit with Taylor and some of his friends. At the airport, I got a set of headphones, that were really needed. The ones I had from Christmas were only coming out from one ear bud, and the free ones AirTran passed out sounded like garbage. I got really good headphones, that came with a case to protect them. Mat helped me get some good ones. He knows audio, and which ones were the best.
In a nutshell, that is was happened in the “…heart of Texas…” this weekend. Time to watch some Community and sleep.
Totals from the Trip:
Miles: 3,000 miles (est.)
Performance Times: 13 hrs
Footage: 5 hrs
Sleep: 15 hrs
Total: One awesome weekend
Schedule for the coming week:
Murfreesboro, TN: 7/28-7/29
Atlanta, GA: 7/30-7/31*
*Going to try and make it to the race at the Indy Motor Speedway Sunday once I land)
I had the privilege to be able to travel to San Antonio this weekend for DCI Southwest at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. I know this sounds crazy, but I was actually EXCITED to get out of Indianapolis and go to Texas because of the weather. I had heard there wasn’t a lot of humidity in Texas, so I was excited to get out of the lake called Indy.
Travel started on Thursday. Jeff told me I would be going to Houston on Friday with him for the Tournament of Champions (TOC) show. I was really pumped to hear this. Through reading Drum Corps Planet (DCP), I had only heard positive things. I was surely ready to get my face melted off by 600+ brass players.
Jeff, Zongwei, and I left the office around 5 p.m. for the airport. There was a lot of traffic, but we got to the airport with plenty of time. As soon as we parked, there was a shuttle that pulled up in front of us, asking for a ride. Indianapolis Airport was sending around more shuttles around the parking lots, to keep people out of the heat.
Getting through security was a breeze. We got to our gate with plenty of time to waste. In the gate area we spotted a Coldstone Creamery. After doing the math (ice cream + hot day = perfect), we got some ice cream for dinner. Unfortunately, the whole time I was standing there, all I could think of was Aziz Ansari’s comedy bit about Coldstone, so I couldn’t help from laughing.
We boarded the plane around 7 p.m. When I got on, I discovered that AirTran offered free SiriusXM Radio. Perfect! That way, I was able to keep abreast of the NFL lockout shenanigans. When I boarded the plane, I knew that the owners were still in their meeting, waiting to vote. As soon as the plane took off, I plugged my headphones in to listen. Luckily, I turned it on at the very beginning of a ‘SportsCenter Break.” The first words I heard: “The NFL Owners have voted 31-0 to ratify the new CBA.” And, to no one’s surprise, the Oakland Raiders didn’t vote. Shocking.
I was elated! Finally, there will be football.
But wait, there’s more.
The opening of the Brian Penny Show came on next on ESPN Radio. All the elation I felt was thrown out the window during his opening monologue. He was saying that the players didn’t like the changes made to the CBA before the owners voted on it. So, when I heard the players weren’t going to vote, I knew there wouldn’t be one tonight. Bummercitytown.
We landed in Atlanta, and had a quick connection on the San Antonio. I am not exaggerating when I say that Jeff, Mat, and I got off our plane, walked to the gate, and walked right on to the other plane. Atlanta was PACKED with people. Getting to the gate was a hassle in-and-of itself.
Finally, we landed in San Antonio 11. I ended up watching my new favorite show, ‘Community,’ the entire ride. The whole CBA-negotiating thing was just to frustrating. But with the awesome paintball episodes, which I will probably watch after I am done writing this, how could I not be entertained? Once everyone got their luggage, Mat stayed back to grab Zongwei from his 11:45 flight, while Jeff and I got our rental car and went to the hotel. We got to pick out the car we wanted for the weekend, and it needed space. I saw the Nissan Cube, and joking said we should get that. Jeff always wanted to say he drove one, so we decided on that one.
We got to the hotel a little after midnight. Check-in was a piece-of-cake, and went to the room to drop our stuff off. Since we hadn’t had an actual dinner, we walked about a mile to a Denny’s. BreakfAst food is always so good late at night. After we walked back to the hotel, I decided to put on TV. I don’t think I would ever say this, but I couldn’t watch ESPN. I have been going through withdrawals from it all summer, but I couldn’t stand to listen to Roger Goodall or DeMaurice Smith anymore. I found Alaska State Troopers on NatGeo, which has a lot of very good shows. I fell asleep shortly after.
Friday was jammed packed of activities. We went to the Alamodome after breakfast. It was right in the backyard of our hotel, so it was nice not having to drive there. We set up the internet, canopus boxes, and the basic layout for the next day. Jeff and I left the stadium at 1 p.m., and got in our Cube, bound for Houston. The drive was nice. A lot of wide open areas, cattles, and nothingness. We stopped at What-a-burger for some lunch. The fry container says “There is one near you!” False. There is not one in Connecticut. They are only in the south. Work on that.
We got to the stadium around 5 p.m., as the Cadets were wrapping up rehearsal. The security at the stadium rivaled Fort Knox. I have never been asked to see my badge so many times. Usually, they see it, it registers with them, and I can go on my merry way. I was questioned twice from the time I got to the gate and up into the press box.
The set-up was pretty straight forward, since we were only doing VOD’s and it was getting to the point where we had done it so many times, it was old hat. Around 6:30, the evenings “activities” began. Before the show, small ensembles performed while the crowd was moseying around. The kids from the different corps also intermingled with the spectators, as a way to get the crowd and performers closer. Very awesome. I got some B-roll of all of the pre-show festivities. I love it when there is so much stuff going on. Makes my job a whole lot easier.
The show started at 7:30, with the Blue Stars. After each corps performance, they would do what is called an “Instant Encore.” They would all get close together, and play one song for the crowd. All 8 corps did this. The spectators were eating that stuff up, really enjoying the show the corps were putting on.
After the last corps, they did what was called the “Mass Finale.” The 600+ brass players who marched in those corps would come on the field and play altogether. I was able to go on the field, in-between the performers to get footage. I almost got caught in the form too. I didn’t know all of the arcs collapsed, but good thing I caught it out of the corner of my eye. I was able to run and sneak between two trumpets, and avoid everything. But being in that arc, I can tell you that it was loud. I got goosebumps while walking around.
After the brass was done playing, there was awards. After the usual awards ceremony, all of the drumlins gathered by the gate to “play out the crowd.” I use that term loosely. Basically, all the drummers just started playing at the same time. it sounded like 100 shoes rolling around a dryer, and my head was right in the middle of it. I walked around and got footage of the kids drumming, interacting with the different corps, and all-around tom foolery. Between that, and the Mass Finale, my hearing was shot.
Once we got to our hotel, the work began. We had to trim all of the VOD’s down to put them on Brightcove, as well as make some commercials. We ended up working until 2:30 in the morning, finishing up around then. After a “nap,” we got up at 7 to hit the road. We had to make the three-hour drive back to San Antonio, and the show started at 2:30. At breakfast, we caught up with the other DCI employees who were also making the trek. We set off around 8:30, on the road again, to San Antonio.
I wanted to write a blog every couple of days or so, to keep everyone updated. But while doing that, I realized that it would be easier for me, and better for you, to talk about my travels instead. During the week, I am spending most of my time editing video, and getting prepared for the weekend. If you are doing it, it is exciting. If you are reading about it, not so much.
But I digress.
And so begins the meat of the drum corps season.
This past weekend, I made the trip up to the great state of Minnesota for DCI Minnesota, the first Regional competition of the Drum Corps International season.
The trip started on Thursday. Zongwei, David, and I were planning on going in to the office a little later than usual. We were going to leave the apartment around 9:45, and make our way in. But David got a call from Mat around 8:45, and we hastily made our way into the office.
During the morning, I continued work on my big project in preparation for the weekend. I had to put together a 45-minute video of different drum corps moments to be played during hour-long intermission of the show. After talking with Jeff, I realized I had made a couple of mistakes when ripping the portions of shows from 2008 and 2010. I quickly re-burned those parts before having to load the truck with all the equipment needed for this weekend. After that, I made sure I had all of the parts off of the DVD’s, so I could finish it up on the plane.
We left the office around 1 p.m. David, Zongwei and I made our way to Indianapolis International Airport. Upon arriving, we discovered our plane was 40-minutes due to weather in the east. I thought, “Man, this can’t happen to me AGAIN this weekend!” We got through security easily, and went to the gate. Before long, Jeff, Mat, and Rich joined us. We created our own little workspace in the airport, to do some “work.”
The flight was uneventful. I was able to get the majority of the project finished, but had to stop because my hand started to hurt. Of course, the guy in front of me HAD to put his seat back, so I had zero room to work. I had to contort my hand awkwardly to do anything. Eventually, I gave up, and just listened to music until we landed.
After we got our bags and rental cars, Jeff and I went to the hotel, while the IT guys went to try and get tickets to the Royals/Twins game. It was a good thing we went to the hotel first. There was a mix-up in our reservation, and the hotel actually didn’t have us checking in that night. Jeff was able to get it squared away, and we were able to check-in, as well as save rooms for Mat/David and Rich/Zongwei.
Once we were settled in, we met up with the guys at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. After a great dinner filled with laughs, we ended up going back to the hotel. I was able to get my project finished, and let it render FOREVER (because FCP 6 doesn’t have background rendering. Lame.).
In the morning, we got up around 8 to head to the stadium. It started to drizzle, and we knew it wouldn’t be good from there. After trying to find an IHOP, but instead, being led to a residential neighborhood, we headed to the stadium. We ended up stopping by a McDonald’s for breakfast. I guess I like hash browns now.
We got to the stadium around 10 a.m. I started compressing, while the internet and set-up started. Mat was making fun of me because I said I was working on compressing, while watching ‘Community.’ I love compressing a 45-minute movie, more time to watch the show.
Over the course of the late-morning/early-afternoon, the rain started picking up. I was glad I was in a press box. The storm was really weird, bringing many waves of rain over the stadium.
The Blue Devils were putting on a System Blue clinic in the stadium that day. They were constantly off-and-on the field during that time. Eventually, it started to downpour with thunder and lightning, so they retreated inside. It rained constantly for a good portion of time. The field looked in bad shape. (I later found out that there was between 5-7″ of rainfall in Minneapolis. INSANE!)
I don’t if you can tell, but the field was severely soaked, and started to puddle. But fortunately, the rain stopped around 2 p.m., in time to go to lunch. As always there is a BWW near the stadium, so naturally, we went there.
After lunch, we finished up the set-up. We got all of the computers hooked up, tested, and tested again. Since we were doing a live broadcast, everything had to be set-up right. How many computers does it take to put on a live-stream and capture VOD”s?
We were done with set-up around 7 p.m. Jeff and I went back to the hotel to drop Ed off at the hotel close to us. We met up with the IT guys at the Mall of America. We played some pool, had a great time. After pool, we went to T.G.I. Fridays to grab some dinner, since we had such a late lunch. We ended up getting back to the hotel around midnight. And with my luck, Independence Day was on HBO, so I had to watch it. It ended up being closer to 1:00 a.m. by the time I got to sleep.
Wake-up came a lot faster, and suddenly, then I had expected. We were supposed to leave around 7:30, to meet up with the audio guys. But the funny thing was, Jeff and I both woke up at 7:54. Oops. And the funny part was, I got a text from David two minutes before I woke up saying they just had as well. After a hurried gathering of things, we headed to the stadium. When we got there, everything was good, and we started getting things ready. We had a short time, since the show started at 1:30 p.m. David and Zongwei ordered pizza, so at least we had something to eat before the show.
The show kicked off at 1:30, with the Blue Saints, then Racine Scouts. I stayed in the press box for them. I went down on the field to get footage of the Colt Cadets and Legends.After their performances, I went back up during the two DCA corps.
I met Ryan, who was one of the interns at DCI last year, and was helping Chris with photography for this show. It was awesome getting to see what his internship was like, and swapping intern stories.
I just needed to get off the field. Man, it was hot. Definitely brought me back to the good ‘ole days of all-day rehearsals. It was around 90-degrees, with 85/90% humidity. It honestly felt like I was walking in a swimming pool all day. It was nasty out there. I was fortunate to be in shorts and polo though. Those kids must of been dying in those uniforms!
After the DCA corps, the world-class corps started. There were 18 of them at this regional. After the first six, there was an hour long intermission. It was awesome seeing my project on the Jumbo-tron during intermission. I definitely felt accomplished.
After intermission, I went to get interviews of fans, asking if/why they were going to Finals in Indianapolis. I couldn’t find anyone who was going, and wanted to be on camera. Everyone looked miserable. The heat was definitely affecting the audience.
I was on the field for the rest of the night. I brought the battery-charger down to the field, because I was going through camera batteries like it was my job [insert pun here]. 8-hours of performances definitely makes you go through batteries. I was able to give a passing ‘Hey!’ to Mike Woodall as he was wheeling his pit equipment off the field. Boston had gone on right before the last intermission, so they were taking their time getting off the field. I hadn’t seen him in forever, so it was nice saying hi.
The top six went on after intermission. Man, have the shows changed since I first saw them in Texas. I love seeing the different shows evolve over the course of the season. My favorite show of the night was Phantom (maybe a little bias there), along with the Cadets and Carolina Crown. Since I becoming more familiar with the shows, I am able to spend less mental energy on where my shot is, and able to listen to the shows a little more.
Finally, once the Blue Devils finished, the show was over. I went back up to the press box to grab a microphone, and went back to interview the winning drum majors. Brittni was able to help me, and hold the mic, which was a big help. After waiting around for 24 scores to be announced, we finally got our chance to interview the Cavaliers drum majors. I had interviewed them in Michigan City a few weeks back, so I felt a lot more comfortable asking questions and such.
After break-down, the IT and video department blew off some steam by trying to throw a blueberry muffin into the trash can from across the room. We were all tired, dehydrated, and felt nasty, and it was a form of cheap and quick entertainment.
After Mat finally got it in after 10-minutes, we headed down with all the equipment. We left it by the truck, and started walking. While walking to the cars, we stopped by the field. You could tell how hazy it was by just looking at the lights.
David, Zongwei, Jeff and I had some fun on the field. The four of us tested our 8-to-5 steps. David had a perfect one, while the rest of us were a little big. After, we tried going backward. As you could imagine, all of us had WAY too big of a step. After a quick 40-yard race between David, Zongwei and I, we headed to the cars, and headed to the hotel.
Jeff was able to stop at Wendy’s so I could get some food. During the show, I don’t really have time/a chance to eat, so it had been a long time since I had eaten anything. When we got back to the room, I scarfed down my food, and took a nice cool shower. I learned from drum corps that warm showers don’t feel good after you have been out in the hot sun sweating. Cool showers, now that is where it is at.
After my shower, Mat came over and we started compressing the VOD’s for the Fan Network. I set my 8 corps to compress, and passed right out. I was dehydrated and tired, which wasn’t a good mix, especially for an early morning.
Jeff and I left for the airport around 8 a.m., which was 15-minutes later than we wanted to, but still made it to the airport with plenty of time. Brittni, Allison, and Whitney were all on the flight, so it was a mini-DCI office party on the plane. We got back to the apartment around 1:15, with plenty of time until the start of the Women’s World Cup final. I was able to watch all of the first half, but fell asleep at halftime, until the 63-ish minute of the game. It was a nail-biting game, and after a lot of yelling, screaming, and agony, the game ended with a Japanese win.
After the game, we all took a quick nap, then went to Chili’s to celebrate Brittni’s 21st birthday. Chili’s was definitely a nice way to end a long weekend.
It is almost 1 a.m., and I need some sleep. Check back for what happens in San Antonio!
This weeks schedule:
San Antonio, Texas:7/21- 7/24