How Does The Daily Show Compile Their Video Clips? Fifteen TiVos

There’s an interesting discussion in the comments on a recent PVRblog post. Matt of PVRBlog noticed a comment in a New York Times profile of Jon Stewart and posted it:

The day begins with a morning meeting where material harvested from 15 TiVos and even more newspapers, magazines and Web sites is reviewed.

That sparked discussion and speculation that Jon was using ‘TiVo’ as a generic reference to some other DVR setup, but no, a former researcher on the show posted a comment and confirmed their setup.

Nope, it’s literally 15 rack-mounted TiVos of various models, many from the pre-Series 2 era. Some Philips boxes, some Sonys. And because there’s a limited number of remote codes, when a staffer operates one, he has to hold the remote directly against that box’s IR receiver so that the beam doesn’t hit any of the other boxes (i.e., so he’s not inadvertently controlling multiple boxes at once). No joke! It’s pretty primitive.

There’s a lot more in the comment, an interesting look behind the scenes of The Daily Show. Since they’re using old Series1 units, how do they get the clips on air?

When TiVo footage is needed for TDS that day (i.e., every day), the clips are dubbed off to Beta tape and brought to an editing bay. Yup, sneakernet. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. I wouldn’t be surprised if the show upgrades to a networked PVR system — especially with an imminent move to HD — but I don’t know what their plans are.

So the rack of TiVos may not be in place for long. It sounds like an opportunity for TiVo to supply them with a new HD-capable setup, based on the TiVo HD. I wonder if there is enough business to make it worthwhile for them to develop a customized version of the software with features designed to make it easier for commercial users.

The Daily Show isn’t the only major program using TiVo. An intern for Late Night with Conan O’Brien posted a comment at Boing Boing stating that they use three TiVos content.

I intern at Late Night with Conan O’Brien and am privileged enough to realize how a set-up like The Daily Shows is so mind-boggling. At Late Night we have three TiVo’s that are set-up to record every other late night talk show, several morning to afternoon shows and a few special events that happen now and again. Every morning we burn DVD copies of the previous day’s shows, a process that takes less then 2 hours, depending on the temperament of the recorders.

I picked that one up from CNET’s Crave.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • nos

    ok….. combine their use of Tivo….. series 1 tivo’s to boot, and this paragraph from the article:
    “SOON after Mr. Stewart joined “The Daily Show” in 1999, in the waning years of the Clinton administration, he and his staff began to move the program away from the show-business-heavy agenda it had under his predecessor, Craig Kilborn. New technology providing access to more video material gave them growing control over the show’s content; the staff, the co-executive producer Kahane Corn said, also worked to choose targets “who deserved to be targets” instead of random, easy-to-mock subjects.”

    TIVO made the current Daily Show possible!! and by extension, the Colbert Report! Maybe this is one of the first demonstrations of Tivo influencing something outside of how we interact with TV?

  • Tom

    I knew they used DVRs, but didn’t know how many or which brand(s). And I wondered what they did in the pre-DVR era (never watched the Kilborn era or first few years of Stewart).

    It might be a good marketing move for TiVo to re-equip them for an end-of-show credit.