5 minutes with... Christina Varghese, broadcast engineer, Best Broadcast Hire

Published: 20 January 2020 - 11:24 a.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira
DS: A Broadcast Engineer is synonymous with exciting events in exotic locations. Is it true?
Many people, including friends and family, view my profession as a dream job. It is true, I do get paid for the opportunity to meet celebrities in various fields, attend popular concerts, and travel around the world.
However, what is often unseen by the public is the immense dedication, sacrifices (including sleep) and personal disappointments that I am challenged by, on a day-to-day basis.

DS: So, do the sacrifices outweigh the perks of the job?
Sometimes. Let me give you a recent experience, where I was involved as the chief engineer in a major project overseas. As per the schedule, I was scheduled to fly out after the setup was completed to participate in my Ultimate Frisbee Team’s first-ever sports tournament in Dubai.
On the night before the big game, I checked in for my flight and everything was moving like clockwork, until a slight hitch wiped out the settings of the entire system. We ended up pulling an all-nighter to reprogram the setup from scratch.
I had to miss my tournament but, as disappointing as it was, the show must go on. The life of a broadcast engineer can be extremely unpredictable.

DS: What sort of events do you cover, and what role do you play at them?
The events are always varied, but usually we cover conferences like the government summits, concerts like Backstreet Boys or AR Rahman, sporting events like the Standard Chartered Marathon, e-sports tournaments and weddings — the list is endless.

DS: Given that your job constantly evolves from event to event, give us a basic idea of what your job entails?
As a broadcast engineer, I’m involved with building tailor-made fly-pack solutions and tweaking our outdoor broadcast van for multi-cam productions. Once the show goes live, I listen in to the intercoms, spotting any irregularities (failing equipment or operators having issues) to ensure a smooth production. Fixing a fault before it happens, or with minimal delay is absolutely critical, and needs you to think creatively, so I’m always kept on my toes, and I love it.

DS: The busy Saudi events schedule has seen you travel to the Kingdom a fair bit, what’s your assessment of the push the country is making towards becoming entertainment friendly?
The country (Saudi Arabia) is definitely ready for more events, and I’m excited to witness the transformation. We have done several jobs in Saudi Arabia in recent times, and we found the nation to be polite, professional, and organised.
As a female engineer, I felt safe, respected and included in all the major decision-making processes, just as I would be in Dubai.

DS: What are your future plans?
The future is exciting to say the least. My priorities are to invest in education, while pushing professional boundaries, not just personally, but for other women in technology around the globe.

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