ABC’s New Year’s Eve broadcast starts at 8 pm, but the pre-planning is extensive. Technical challenges of covering the Times Square ball drop are compounded by 2 million people packed into a tiny space. ABC sets up a stage at Military Island at W. 44th St. for cameras, with an additional camera on the 7th floor roof of 1500 Broadway for crowd and ball shots. They also have 12 more cameras to cover talent, shoot guest interviews and the Times Square crowd.
ABC considers this one of their most daunting shoots. The weather is unpredictable. The endless stream of live music makes it difficult to hear over the PA system. The closer it gets to midnight, the harder it is to maneuver around the area. Bob Lampel, ABC’s technical manager, told TV Technology, “Everyone is pressing closer to the ball, and the energy in the plaza builds and feels comparable to five Super Bowls at once.”