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A Look into the 2012 NBC Olympic Highlights Factory

By Lindsey Smith, junior

My time spent in NBC’s Highlights factory covering the 2012 London Summer Olympic Game’s was one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life. After waiting over a year and a half, I started my internship in the infamous Saturday Night Live (SNL) Studio, 8H. For 17 days straight, I was on the team responsible for generating all of the non-broadcast content for the NBC Olympics website, smart phones, tablets, electronic sites, and cable VOD.

The SNL set was magically transformed into the London Street, “Abbey Road,” and there were well-known athletes pictured on the announcing booths. On the first day, I picked up my NBCUniversal badge and was assigned the role of a shot selector. In this position, I worked on the stage with at least 20 computer monitors that streamed thousands of hours worth of footage. The producers sat behind us and virtually sent assignments. I cut clips from the streams and sent them to the producers to review and upload. In front of the shot selectors, a huge screen broadcasted the daytime coverage, so together; we experienced the excitement of the games together while editing.

During my first week of the internship, I learned how to use Avid Interplay and the cloud editing software, Forecene. A supervisor trained me the correct way to monitor my work orders. I was lucky enough to meet former Gold medal athletes that visited the studio and sometimes even commentated events. When Opening Ceremony began, I was ready to experience the dedication and hard work required to run this magical event with new friends who were as passionate about media as me. During the games, my typical day started by waking up a 2:30 am and catching my car to 30 Rockefeller Plaza at 3:30 am. I usually worked until about 1 or 2 pm. After work, I went to bed around 6-7pm. Even when I was out of the games, I still watched NBC constantly on my laptop.

By the end of the Olympics, I edited 76 videos on nbcolympics.com. Below are my favorites:
• Pole Vaulting Bloopers
• Dana Vollmer Sets American Record in 100m fly a trials
Additionally, I created specialty videos and then uncomplicated highlights, like this. The simplest highlights actually received the most views.

I learned about all Olympics sports, from equestrian to judo. I even cut wrestling and table tennis, both intense and serious events. In total, my videos garnered over 620,000 views. Additionally, I was the 3rd largest content producer for multi-platform distribution including dot com, on-deck mobile and TVN.

By working for NBC, I was part of a global tradition and a historical story. I saw the standing ovation given to Sarah Attar (the first female track athlete to compete for Saudi Arabia), Chris Hoy and Great Britain dominate cycling, Andy Murray’s gold medal metal, and many other tear-jerking or hilarious moments live. Along with cutting the “prime time” moments, I brought the unknown athletes story to life. I preserved their moment in history by telling their experience online. If I were to go back to August, I would never change anything about my Olympic experience.



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