ACL Behind the Scenes

A Note from Gary Menotti, Director of Austin City Limits

These are new and exciting times for Austin City Limits and the production crew of ACL. Not only do we have a brand new venue to work in, we also have new, state-of-the-art equipment for recording. As much as I miss 6A, the “original ACL studio,” the new ACL Live at the Moody Theater is a welcome challenge to try and keep that same, “intimate feeling” the tapings have always had.

There has been a quick, fast, acclimation to the new space by all of the crew members, including growing accustom to the Downtown “vibe.” Overall, I feel the first five artists we’ve taped have been seamless. With the new skyline, a slightly taller stage, new audio equipment, bigger audience configuration and the addition of a 7th camera, ACL is well on its way to becoming “a better than ever” TV show.

Speaking of cameras, you might have noticed a strange looking camera on a track, moving in an arc around the mezzanine floor wall. This is the new Sony Trac-Cam controlled by a single operator from a station located in the corner of the mezzanine. It takes great skill to operate this camera as it’s operated by remote control. The Trac-Cam is replacing the giant crane camera in the original studio that took a five-person crew to operate. The previous crane, and now Trac-camera is key for the ACL production as it captures our famous “signature tree shot,” which, along with the skyline, gives the viewer the perspective that the show is taped outdoors. We have had countless letters and emails asking if there is a KOA campground nearby, to camp and listen to the music. Oh well, at least we fooled some people.

Lastly, I want to tell you about our new way of recording the show. In years past, we would record with cameras using tape. Now, with new technological innovations, we are shooting digitally and are able to send a fiber optic signal of all the audio and video, directly from the Moody Theater back to KLRU’s editing suite and Avid servers located on the UT campus. Buck Rogers would be proud!

Anyway, I am very excited on this transition from ACL 1.0 to the new ACL 2.0. Thank all of you for your support. Don’t forget, when you’re in the audience, please smile and applaud loudly, I will be watching you from the control room.

Gary has been Director of ACL for the past 29 years