DNF Controls is a Regular on Late Show With Letterman
Tim Kennedy, technical director/technical manager for the Late Show with David Letterman, is the man who ensures that every technical demand the show encounters is met successfully. The technical staff has massaged the CBS studio to meet the requirements of the man at the helm, and according to Kennedy, the 2034CL system from DNF Controls is invaluable in the production of every show.
"Flexibility is key here because Dave will call for just about anything," says Kennedy. "A clip of Dave dancing with Barbara Walters, a shot from Broadway, the dog biting him, a duck eating whipped cream out of someone's mouth - you never know what he's going to call for, but it can happen at any moment. We couldn't do it without the DNF Controls shotbox."
As Kennedy puts it, "a big button with a big name" provides the speedy reaction time necessary to keep the jokes rolling smoothly.
Every week Kennedy and the production crew use four DNF 2034CL-O-PBIO instant clip access systems, comprised of DNF Controls' ST300 controller with clip management software and a DNF ST420 Shotbox in the shooting of five shows in four days. Three of the systems are located in videotape playback, and the fourth is with the technical director.
"We rely on our DNF Controls equipment for every show," says Kennedy. "It has become invaluable in videotape playback. We used to do our A/B rolls on videotape. Any last second changes in the order would throw the tape room into chaos. By combining the Grass Valley Profile with the DNF Shotbox we can handle those changes instantly without any delays or loss of production time."
The quality of production on the show has been so strong, in fact, that in 2001 the Late Show technical crew won an Emmy for outstanding technical direction, camerawork, and video for a series.
The DNF Controls system also allows operators to call up multiple clips, integrate them into the switcher/key timeline, and trigger the right clip at any time. When Letterman does an interactive bit, the production staff must be prepared with openings for each of up to eight categories from which the audience gets to choose. The videotape operators cue up all of those opens, and the DNF clip access system's peripheral bus interface option (PBIO) allows the technical director to roll and re-cue all the clips via one Emem Register.
The 2034CL-O-PBIO instant access system features the ST420 Shotbox with 10 banks of 30 LCD keys each, providing instant access to 300 clips or clip combinations. The 2034CL also features control of up to four video channels, individually or ganged; clear on-key clip identification; on-button loading of single video clips or fill-and-key clip combinations; and quick, easy assignment and reassignment of clips to a key. Kennedy found the equipment easy to install and says that the intuitive interface simplified the installation and training.