I love directing live surgical events! It’s where I get to really show my stuff. I call the shots and make the decisions as to what gets seen, on the spot, live, and it’s a commitment vastly different from capturing surgery and editing later. It’s like a dance, and I do it in a style so that I can also physically help the cameramen adjust to the shots of what I want to see, not from the video switcher panel, but out on the floor. So for every live video event I direct, I always use an extra monitor showing me the multi-screen from the video switcher on a cart, on the floor, so I can be with the cameramen, the presenters as well, and adjust to things quickly and call the shots.
So I just directed one of my favorite yearly events, the surgical skills lab at the annual American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine or AOSSM in Seattle. This year was another raging success. We had about a thousand sports med surgeons viewing in the main hall while we broadcasted cadaveric demos from a smaller room at the other end of the Seattle Convention Center.
We had our typical challenges with the equipment companies bringing in two fluoroscopy units and one endoscopic video camera that wouldn’t adapt to video for a while, but once we got those problems solved, we were set. That’s another reason why I love live events! They are always a challenge. We had four demo stations in a line, and throughout the many years I have directed this lab, we would do the show in a format where the surgeon would finish the demo and run into the main hall for 10 minutes of Q&A, so that we could reset our cameras for the next demo station. Surprise! Not this year. The first moderator kept asking questions which took us right up to the next demo start time. So we had to do some fancy dancing to get one camera over to the next station for a transition that was less than a minute, and that camera was live while we hauled the other camera in place. Whew! And when that first moderator set the tone, all others followed. That was four and a half hours straight without regrouping. I had to let the switcher operator go to the restroom when we were doing a demo that was mostly arthroscopic so we wouldn’t need a lot of fancy camera switching. He was sweating.
This year these demos were all lower extremity, hips, knees, and ankles. Yes, I love this! Directing live surgical demos, cadaveric or live patients, are always highlights for me.