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By SLM Fall Intern, Travis Upshaw

We were somewhere around Paradise on the edge of the desert when the jet lag began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit warm; maybe I should crack the window open…” And suddenly there was pleasant sunshine all around us and the skyline was full of what looked like huge palm trees and scenic hillsides, all beautiful and welcoming and surrounding the minivan, which was going about 50 miles an hour with its doors securely locked to Las Vegas. And a voice was politely exclaiming: “Holy Vegas! There sure is lots of gosh darn sand!”…

The interior of the Town & Country looked like a mobile media production lab. We had two Sony XDCAMS, 25 XDCAM discs, one case of high-powered Arri lights, a Sony F3, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored extension cords, gaff tape, monitors, C-stands … and also a pair of headphones, a shotgun mic, a case of lenses, a boom pole and two dozen clothes pins…

All this had been rounded up earlier in the morning, in a frenzy of safe-speed gear-cart maneuvering all over SolidLine Media headquarters – from the 12th floor to the street below, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious video equipment collection, the tendency is to push the production value as far as you can…

Enough of my lame attempt at channeling (well, plagiarizing) the late, great gonzo journalist! As my blog title (and previous paragraphs) indicate, this entry is about my venture out to Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ll (now) keep it short: The SLM crew was hired to produce around 50 (or so) live (to “tape” and streaming online) ASUG News segments for the “SAP TechEd && d-code” convention over a three day period. I set up, operated, and broke down one of the Sony XDCAMs. Also, I helped with some logistics: picked up a fellow camera operator from the (confusing) airport, retrieved some rented gear from a local equipment house, returned the rental van, and, most importantly, got In-N-Out Burger for the crew. The shows were huge successes! It felt good to be behind the lens.

As a whole, Vegas is a bustling, adult playground accented with a myriad of multi-colored neon lights. Man-made and sun-baked concrete structures divide the wealthy from the poor. Warm weather welcomes sightseers from all continents. Some nationality groups follow the lead of an elected (or appointed?) tour guide. He/she holds up (with firm, non-smiling pride) a tiny flag that represents their home country–their identity. I suppose this procedure takes place so nobody gets lost. Nobody goes astray. In a city erected from piles of cash, truckloads of dreams, and maxed out hope, this is most likely a good thing…

Sorry, I got a little heavy there. So, here’s a picture of robots I saw out on the streets:

VegasBots

Thanks for reading!
– Travis