So I was in L.A. on Monday, making a little pit stop before San Diego. My plane got in at 5:15pm and my gracious host, my boy/writing partner Adam--who day-jobs as a TV producer--was on a shoot and invited me along. He was exec-producing a live concert that MySpace was throwing to promote Pharell Williams' new album.
I drive up to the top floor of a parking garage across from the Arclight Theater and see a massive stage erected, with cameras on cranes and lights on towers and scantily-clad would-be groupies. (And some would-be groupies that shouldn't have been as scantily-clad as they were.)
The show was about to start and so Adam and I went down to the control room truck...as an executive producer is wont to do. So I'm sitting there as the concert begins. There are 6 cameras recording the show and there's a director in the truck who's doing the show "live to tape," which means that for all intents and purposes, unless something goes horribly wrong, the show could pretty much air as is. He's telling the dude sitting at the control panel which camera to switch to and when: "Ready one, take one...ready four, four...dissolve two, two."
If you've never seen this before, you should find a way to get into a control room at some point. It's this very unique, insanely impressive dance. This director gets into a zone where he's feeling the music, anticipating when to cut, directing the cameramen what to focus on, and rattling out this hypnotic string of direction fo the technical dude and the switcher...who has to be in that same rhythm in order to keep up.
When it's done well, it's mesmerizing to watch, like some backbrain ninja at work.