Dragon Con was held in Atlanta. I so wanted to stay in one of the three main con hotels, but I was shut out. I ended up booking in the Omni Hotel. It happens to adjoin CNN headquarters.
They have tours for a reasonable price, so I signed up for one. But first, here’s what part of their food court looks like. Yes, they own the Cartoon Network.
Each bear is about the size of a person on all fours
Not only is that the CNN globe, but that’s a narrow escalator leading up to it. It’s the longest open-air escalator in the country. And that’s what we took to start the tour.
The tour truly was behind-the-scenes. We saw the set for Headline News—CNN owns HLN. The regular morning anchor wasn’t there; it was the weekend host. She wasn’t on camera at the moment, so she waved at us through thick glass. She chatted with the guy in charge of the robocams—huge cameras that moved by remote control.
We were not allowed to take any pictures inside, so we were free to gaze down from a balcony at their newsroom. It looked like any open-air office with cubicles, but with large monitors. Our guide pointed out which desks covered foreign news. They receive news feeds from all over the world and decide what to put on the air.
A particular news studio was incredibly cramped. It showcased smaller segments for CNN, like their medical show. Our guide explained how one man operated all the lights in this studio. I think it was over seventy.
This clip gives you an idea of how cramped some of their studios are. If you don’t like one side or the other of the politics involved, just watch with the sound off.
So this brings me to a short segment from my science fiction novel, Alpha Shift. It’s a minor detail, but one producer operates all the cameras. Knowing that one man runs a multitude of cameras in the present day gives me affirmation. Here, the producer comes out in the open because she wants to meet a celebrity. Is it a good idea?
Terrence ignored the baritone reply and linked his hardcel to the monitor in the corridor to the left, through which Halak had entered. The four assistants from the shuttle loitered there—by coincidence, the same number as their remaining bridge crew: security guard, tech specialist, makeup artist, and producer. The producer—who looked insect-like with her headset, eyepiece, and large microphone stem—normally was back in the control room behind the cameras, using voice commands to operate them and give them signals, but was so eager to meet Halak that she had emerged and was operating the cameras by remote control.
Something strategic. The four assistants had gradually shifted so each one was behind or beside one of their crew.