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Conan O'Brien production facilities

Conan O’Brien production facilities

In the early summer of 2010, NEP Broadcasting's Denali division was asked to build the production facilities for the new Conan O'Brien show, "Conan." It was an exciting project to bid on, but the location for the production had not been selected beyond the West Coast. Bids were due the middle of June, the award would be announced at the end of June, and the show would debut on TBS the first week of November. That left just 120 days to design and build the new production facilities.

Fortunately, the location decision came rather quickly: the Warner Brothers Lot, Stage 15. Unfortunately, there was no space on the soundstage for the technical facilities. The solution, conceived by the show's project manager, David Crivelli, was to build seven custom office trailers married together to create spaces for production, audio, sound effects, graphics, edit bays, music mix, video, recording and core systems. But the next big issue was that the trailers would not be manufactured, delivered and set up until after Labor Day. This left NEP less than 45 days before rehearsals began to finish the build.

Fortunately, much of the creative and technical crew had worked on O'Brien's previous show, so issues of workflow and preferred equipment had been resolved. Crivelli made the decision to split up the various parts among three vendors: Key Code Media would handle editing and SAN storage; Paul Sandweiss at Sound Design Corporation would tackle production audio, music, sound effects and house PA; and NEP was tasked with the remainder, which consisted of production, recording, graphics, video, communications and core systems.

NEP immediately made the decision to prebuild at its systems integration facility in Pittsburgh. This would allow construction to begin before the trailers were in place. Twenty racks of equipment, consoles and the production monitor wall were assembled and wired in Pittsburgh in late August. Just after Labor Day, two 53ft tractor-trailers made the cross-country trek to Warner Brothers.

NEP began the load-in on Friday at 6 a.m., and by the end of the day Friday, all systems were in place. Only three days later, systems were wired together and ready for testing and configuration. This included pulling in all the cables to the stage via new conduits under the road between the building and trailers.

With close coordination and teamwork, the show has a new, spacious facility to rival any installation in the Los Angeles area. Once inside, you'd never know 45 days earlier it was just an empty parking lot.

  • New studio technology — HD
    Submitted by NEP BroadcastingDesign team"Conan:" David Crivelli, proj. mgr.
    NEP Denali: George Hoover and Kevin Hayes, proj. mgrs.
    NEP Engineering: Frank Rainey and Tim Kubit, engs. in charge
    NEP Systems Integration: Howard Naugle, Terry Kulchar and Michael Naugle, sys. design.; Scott Chaffo and John Fortunato, super. fabrication and install.Technology at workApple: Final Cut Pro editing
    Canon: Lenses
    Evertz: Distribution, frame syncs, sync systems, multiviewers
    FOR-A: FA-9500 frame syncs
    Grass Valley: Encore routing control, K2 Summit servers, SAN, Trinix HD video router with embedded audio
    Iconix: POV cameras
    Ikegami: Monitors
    NEC: Monitors
    RTS: ADAM intercom system
    Sony: HDC 1500 cameras, monitors, MVS-8000G production switcher, XDCAM recorders
    Studer: Vista 8 and Vista 9 consoles
    TV Logic: Monitors
    Vinten: Pedestals, camera heads

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.