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March 13, 2009
Posted: 2052 GMT

It seems like Hala exists in a self-sufficient bubble when she’s on the set. But in fact, there’s a swarm of individuals running around her, making sure she has everything from her soda light– which during commercial brakes is all but sutured to her hand—to positioning the cameras for each respective shot.

 

First there’s Alice, who works the lighting board.  Each different camera shot of Hala has its own dedicated lighting cue. For example, when she turns to the wall to talk to a correspondent, the lights must be turned on and the lights for the shot she is turning from must be brought down (in order to avoid shadows, over-lighting etc…). This is Alice’s job. She stands at the lighting board—which controls every one of the dozens of lights hanging from the ceiling—commanding and manipulating the sliding knobs.

 

 Not all television studios have their lighting boards so saliently displayed in their studios.  But luckily, CNN International’s is right in the middle of things, and we get to have Alice hanging about, spreading her warmth and materteral presence amongst the crew.

 

Secondly there’s Heather. She runs prompter, which is the machine that scrolls scripts into the camera screen, allowing Hala to look into the camera while reading words slowly scrolling in front of her. Heather also helps collate scripts between breaks—along with Alice—so that they’re in Hala’s hands by the time we’re on air. Alice is a dear and you should all get to know her and be her best friend.

 

Last but not least, there’s me–Zach. I am the floor director. My job is to give time cues and to make sure Hala knows which camera she will be on. Basically, I am the physical intermediary between Hala and the control room (where the director and producers sit.)

 

As they’re perched up there, hidden away in their cave– imperious and incorporeal voices command and direct me to carryout their tactile dirty-work. Also, along with Alice, I must move the cameras throughout the studio when specified shots are called for.

 

I carry out my duties with varying degrees of success, but I certainly can’t be blamed for lack of charm or for my willingness to sing harmony when Hala launches into a random song that hasn’t been heard since it charted at #3 in 1958 on American Bandstand.

 

So there you have it, the “floor crew.”  Think of us in your prayers and have a good weekend.

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Filed under: Behind the scenes •I


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tarek (BB)   March 13th, 2009 9:25 pm ET

Hi AND HOW ARE YOU ALL.

YOU ARE REALLY A GREAT TEAM TOGHATHER, YOU ARE BRINGING IDESK TO THE BEST. I SAID IAM THE BEST AND TO BE WITH ME YOU HAVE TO BE THE BEST AND YOU ALL IN IDESK ARE THE BEST. I WISH YOU A GOOD LUCK. I REALLY LOVE YOU AND RESPECT YOU ALL FLOOR CREW INFORNT AND BEHIND THE CAMERA. BUT STILL I HAVE ONE MORE REMARK, HALA STILL SWEET AND LOVELY JUST LIKE ICECREAM IN HOT SUMMER DAY.

BEST REGARD TO YOU ALL.

BYE AND TAKE CARE.

DZB   March 14th, 2009 1:08 am ET

Wow, great team, and great show... again.

LOL at the 'American Bandstand' one.

Marc   March 14th, 2009 6:38 pm ET

I would like to make a suggestion, make aBack Story over The Idesk Team!!!!
Because when the Idesk is on air, every thing lokes so easy, but behind the scenes it's probable hell, that why I made this suggestion.

So people can see how a program is made. We have seen the Idesk Team in pictures, so now we can see them in action.

Bye bye from Belgium.

Mac   March 15th, 2009 4:17 pm ET

UR show rocks the way Hala do the entire show that is enough to put me in great shock
Great Show Keep it up

Lisa   March 15th, 2009 9:06 pm ET

Hi from Amman, Jordan. Love your show. The pics help us understand what goes into it all. Backstory of i-desk is a GREAT idea. People need to see how you put it all together. Tell Micheal Holmes we want more of the actual backstory and less of him explaining and hosting. Also, too much of the wonky walking camera!

Jack Quann -Dublin, Ireland   March 16th, 2009 9:27 am ET

Always good to get some insight...cheers guys!

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International Desk brings viewers into the heart of the largest news gathering operation in the world. Viewers don't come here to watch the news; they come here to be immersed in it. To feel the rush of being the first to know what's happening as stories break, and to leave knowing they've gotten the best and latest information available. The show airs Mon-Fri at 1900 CET.

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