CBS Behind the Scenes

Posted by Paul Devlin


Alongside making independent films, my other career is with CBS Sports.  I work as a video editor, mostly weekends, in the Broadcast Center in New York City on the studio shows – NFL Today, Road to the Final Four and others. Of course, I do a lot of work on non-linear edit systems (Avid, Final Cut Pro), especially for my movies, but my primary role at CBS is old-school, on-line, tape-to-tape, linear editing.  

For those of you who know what that means, it may seem hard to believe. Most people assume that style of editing is ancient history. It used to be the norm, though – big, expensive suites that looked like the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek and cost up to $500/hour for agency work. This was before video editing migrated to PCs and laptops, collapsing the post-production industry as we knew it at the time.   

To a get a sense of linear editing workflow, read this article “THE ZEN OF LINEAR ONLINE EDITING”  by Dennis Ho.  And if you want to reminisce about what the TV and post-production worlds were like when linear editors were Masters of the Universe, check out the article “NO COUNTRY FOR OLD CUTTERS” by Jonathan Moser.

I’m probably one of maybe a few dozen people in the world (if that?) who still use this kind of high-end equipment regularly. But the fact is, there are some applications, where fast-turnaround, linear editing is still the best solution, and a live sports show is one of them.  The way I see it, in this capacity, I’m no longer a video editor; I’m a “linear specialist.”

I’ve been with CBS Sports since 1997 and with NBC Sports before that. Working on live sports shows is high-pressure and exciting and man, do I have some hair-raising stories about close calls trying to get to air in time. This behind-the-scenes piece from will give you a sense of what that experience is like.

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