When it comes to kids events it doesn’t get any bigger than this. DigiGames was recently honored to be a major part of the National History Bee which is held in Washington DC and broadcast worldwide on the History Channel.
Creating product for a nationally televised TV game show is a completely unique experience. Being on location where a TV game show is being produced is an almost surrealistic event. DigiGames fit right in. We invaded a dreamy land of high tech devices including millions of dollars in cameras, lighting, trussing, working hand in hand with executives, producers, directors and other key personnel.
This project was very intense from a technological stand point. To control the names and scores on eight monitors requires some very powerful computerized components. Initially DigiGames’ LCD-based systems only had two monitors. The day came when a third monitor was needed. It took months to develop three-monitor support and months thereafter to perfect it. Over the years, DigiGames has never had a project requirement beyond three monitors.
However, for the History Channel, their requirement was for a system with eight monitors. We didn’t have months of design and months of debugging at our disposal. In fact, when the History Channel pulled the strings on this we had approximately two weeks’ notice. They already had a solution in mind but allowed us to come in to prove our technology accordingly. The project required wireless pushbuttons, controls to coordinate lighting and some significant software creations. The kids were going to be ready for their big day, and so were we.
Setting up a room to create the environment for testing purposes prior to shipping was the next necessity. The room was intense with the eight large monitors stationed in position and a screaming mainframe computer that sounded like a jet engine during the first 20 seconds of boot up. Our engineering, software and design team had to come together to create the system to the network’s specifications.
It was quite intriguing to watch the construction come together rapidly on the set. It was clear that millions of dollars and many thousands of man hours come together to create a single episode for TV.
Al Roker was the host of the National History Bee. 32 very intelligent kids also arrived from all over the country for the game show. These were the best and the brightest students from various regions of the US coming together to battle it out for a $50,000 scholarship. The winner would be the student who answered the most history-based trivia questions correctly. The game progressed elimination-style, with a series of tournament semi-final and quarter-final rounds where the 32 were reduced to 16, then 8 then 4 then 2 then to the winner.
Prepping the students for the show was a key part of the process—teaching them about the buzzers, how the system worked, etc. All their eyes were gleaming with total excitement at the prospect of being on a real TV game show.
We should note that it’s not all about the national bee. There are going to be lots of great opportunities for game show hosts and DigiGames customers throughout the country for local, state and regional competitions every year.
Everything came together, and the following day the production crew and audience would arrive on location to start filming the episode. With some six hours of taping for the show, the custom system performed flawlessly, without a single glitch.
We were ecstatic to leave the facility with the feeling that everything was a success. The knowledge we gained during this process will make future episodes progress at a much quicker rate for other TV game shows where more than three LCD monitors are used. Producers and directors thanked us and expressed deep appreciation for our involvement in this project.
The next part was the worst: the anticipation of seeing the final edit on TV and seeing our name in the final rolling credits. Six hours of footage from cameras at all angles was brought together to make an amazing episode a mere three weeks after the episode was filmed.
The executive producer indicated that this will be an annual event and assured us of future involvement in future episodes. We are currently developing a program to assist entertainers throughout the country host local events to prepare the young history buffs for the annual History Bee.
If you would like to increase your bottom line through these types of game shows and trivia events the money is there for the taking. Contact DigiGames for more information.
Filed Under: Events, Issue #143, Performing, Sales & Marketing
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