Category Archives: MVS

Steve Hill is Pyeongchang bound

Steve Hill is Pyeongchang bound

Video Systems Manager Steve Hill has recently joined the MVS team bringing over 25 years experience to our operation. Hill has been working the Olympics since 2002 in Salt Lake City and then Vancouver, London, Sochi, Rio De Janeiro and is now heading to Pyeongchang, South Korea to work as a specialty camera jib and crane operator for the Half Pipe, Aerials, and Moguls events.

We had the chance to ask Steve some questions as he was preparing to travel:

Q: What do you have to do mentally to prepare to work at the Olympics? How is it different than Corporate AV work for MVS?

A: All of the Olympic Games have been a good experience for me. I have contacts and friends all over the world. People do not realize how much really goes into the Olympic Games.

The contract is signed a year ahead of the games.  Lots of steps and forms need to be filled out, uniform measurements, time scheduled for three weeks, two travel days, 15 hour flight, and getting the proper extra warm weather gear for the mountain experience.

Generally hardest part of the games is standing outside at night in a cold environment. During the games everyday seems to blend into the next.

Doing three events means there is a lot of repositioning of gear with little time to rehearse and put on the show.

To prepare I just try to make the opportunity a memorable one.  You get to meet people from all over the world and work with them. It is not something everyone gets the chance to do.  I had the chance to take my son with me to Sochi Olympic Games as My Jib Assist. It was a great experience for me to watch him see a world outside of his limited experiences.

Q: Are you more excited to travel internationally for work or does it cause you concern and why?

A: I enjoy traveling. I believe that it makes you a better person. International travel is the best. The people and cultures are new and exciting to me.

Any concerns would be a waste of energy.  You need to be aware of yourself and surroundings.  Make sure you do not offend or be the stereotypical American.

Try to be an Ambassador and prove that Americans are good people.  The more I travel the easier it is to appreciate the world and my home.

Q: What is the coolest gig you have ever done besides the Olympics?

A: I have had to chance to do so many cool gigs. I ran Jib for Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert. I have worked Jib camera for an Ultimate Fighting Show in Hawaii. I was working in Paris, France during the final stage of the Tour De France.  Got to see the last laps at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Not the coolest, but an interesting Gig was when a Producer, Cameraman and myself went around the world in 9 days.  We started our trip from Salt Lake City and flew to Tokyo, Japan and rode the bullet train. The next flight to Sydney, Australia was to shoot at the opera house. Next we flew to Aukland, New Zealand to an Alpaca ranch. Then back to Japan for the night off then to London England to shoot at Big Ben. Then back to Salt Lake City.  I think we were in the airplane flying more than we were on the ground.

Q: Any advice for aspiring Video Production professionals out there?

A: Things change so fast and your time is important. Make the best use of it.

Have a passion to learn and make the most of your time. If you don’t like to take some criticism this maybe wrong job for you.  Love what you do because it is what you will be doing most of your waking hours.

Magnetic Personality

Magnetic Personality

MVS Producer Ben Kristy Q&A

  1. Tell me about your background and how you got where you are now?

I’ve had a passion for planning events since I can remember growing up in Iowa. My first event was a hardcore punk concert in a barn. It’s funny to think back to it – 3 friends and I installed a stage, small PA, lighting, and had dual 30” CRT TVs connected to an SD camera in the balcony for an audience of 300 kids – quite possibly every kid in the county. I realize now that I treated all of the work as a creative outlet – post event I was hooked and continued to find ways to be a part of live events.

  1. What do most people not understand about your job?

Many people simply think we are the “IT guys.” Many folks think I am describing magic when they hear me talk about what I do specifically. The reality is, everything we do can be boiled down to a simple process. The real work involves meticulously reviewing and editing the spreadsheets and line diagrams created during pre-production.

  1. You seem to have a magnetic personality and people like working with you. Why do you think that is?

Let’s first establish a fundamental rule – people love to work with other people who have a passion for what they do. It’s just true. When you can sense this with someone, you communicate more effectively and form connections. So if when you ask me why people like to work with me – I’ll tell you it’s because I enjoy the pursuit of a perfect product every time.

  1. How do you balance all the responsibilities as a Producer or Technical Director on show site? 

I am a leader with a collaborative style – when it comes to balancing responsibilities on show site, I build teams that are self-starting and mostly self-directing. I am really only slightly steering things by the time I am on site. The collaborative style guarantees the team’s ownership of the project and sets the tone for a fast-paced, positive environment – clients notice this every time.

  1. What is your secret super power?

I have a photographic memory – I once memorized every inventory item and its quantity, in one shift, while working as a shift lead at a coffee shop.

  1. How do you know when you have made a show successful?

I’ll admit I’ve never “felt” a show was 100% successful but luckily it’s not my experience that matters. I have a saying, “it’s not my show” that seems to help drive this fact home. Success in the production world is a relative thing – every time. Getting to know the client’s scope of objectives and putting that in my crosshairs is the only way to guarantee the type of success that matters.

  1. What is different about MVS compared to similar companies in the events industry?

MVS treats every project like the most important show of the year; I have not seen this in many other places. Larger companies are known for throwing their weight around and may not give everyone the right attention and pre-production experience. Smaller companies say they will give the attention but may not have the resources to execute the show or pre-production in the best way. I feel MVS is uniquely positioned to make the best of each pre-production experience and custom engineered show solution.

  1. What is the future of events and how are you going to be a part of it?

I believe the limits of live show production will continue to be pushed in every direction. In the next 5 years we are going to see more attention and value given to conventional event pre-visualization as it becomes merged with the world of VR and AR. I plan to lead the charge in developing turn-key workflows that allow Producer / Technical Directors to “farm to table” their technical docs into VR and AR assets.