CNET behind the scenes at CES 2016 (pictures)

Wherein we pull back the curtain to reveal the mysteries of what CNET staff does during CES. Here's what we do-be-do-be-do.

Lori Grunin
1 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Setting the Stage

It takes a l-o-o-o-o-ng time and a lot of heavy lifting to set up the CNET Stage for our continuous livestream. I suspect Production Manager Bryan VanGelder (facing front), Producer Kelly Hendricks (right), Senior Producer Chris Pavey (left) and Jeff Bakalar (that's Bakalar's back) are discussing the merits of shooting everything on mobile phones next year. Either that or they're desperately trying to ignore the creepy gallery of disembodied editor heads staring down at them.

2 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET


Once the CNET Stage is set up, we strap a couple of editors into uncomfortable chairs and make them talk for hours. Thankfully, Senior Editor and chief wearable-wearer Scott Stein (tiny, distorted Scott Stein) and peripatetic Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley (Scott's invisible partner) are up to the challenge of conversational marathons. Others we banish to the far reaches of the show floor to fall off scooters, eat 3D printed food and generally find some of the most bizarre products we can. That's Senior Editor Lexy Savvides on the screen in the corner, reporting from Tech West.

3 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Hi-ho, the glamorous life!

When they're not schlepping heavy video equipment all over Las Vegas, we lock the video producers in a windowless makeshift room next to the CNET Stage.

4 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Say "Huawei!"

Why are Associate Editors Dan Graziano and Xiomara Blanco smiling? Because they got to the Huawei press conference early enough to score good seats and to give video editor Logan Moy enough time to wrangle his video equipment.

(Actually, they're probably just smiling because Sarah Tew, the photographer, pointed a camera at them.)

Press Day is the day before the show opens where tons of companies hold press conferences and closed briefings about the products they're announcing or plan to announce in the future. One of the reasons CNET sends a huge team of editors is because all these occur back-to-back and simultaneously, and covering them all would otherwise require a TARDIS.

Notice the sticker on Logan's bag? This year the CTA (which runs CES) instituted bag security measures, one of which was a prohibition against rolling bags on the show floor. Camera crews are exempt, thankfully.

5 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Ready, set, blog!

Say "Hi!" to Reviews' Senior Editor David Katzmaier and News' Executive Editor Ian Sherr in the calm before the LG live-blog storm. (Sister-site TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler looks like he's already dealing with a storm.) For many of our live blogs, we send two writers: one from news to primarily deliver the facts and one from reviews to provide color commentary and to offer some context for the manufacturers' grandiose marketing claims.

That empty chair belongs to the photographer. The best place to sit when photographing a press conference is at the end of the row, so you can stand up without blocking anybody.

6 of 13 Richard Trenholm/CNET

If it's 10 a.m....

...this must be ZTE. I'm not sure why Associate Editor Lynn La is taking a picture of 12 ZTE logos, but there are so many mobile phones announced these days that she's probably just trying to keep track.

7 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Howdy, folks!

Frequently the tallest man in the room, TV ace David Katzmaier cuts himself down to size for a photograph with some Samsung execs. A large chunk of CES is spent walking and talking with manufacturers' representatives.

8 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET


He's laughing at the moment, but her interviewee clearly doesn't recognize Shara Tibken's "I'm going to nail you with my next question" face. Shara's a senior writer covering Samsung, so CES is a nonstop writefest for her.

And note: even when you're surrounded by the latest technology, nothing still beats pen and paper for taking notes while you're doing a stand-up interview.

9 of 13 Richard Trenholm/CNET

Collect all three and win a set of steak knives

At CES Unveiled, the first of the mini tradeshows for the press to get an early look at some of the products, tables with network connections are available for us to post stories quickly, so you don't have to wait a few hours to hear about the Belty. Video Producer Jonathan Garnham taunts us with his collection of work phones during a pause between doing video-like things.

10 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

It's tough trying to come up with ways to make an exciting video of a laptop. Here, Section Editor Dan Ackerman is attempting to use the Force to levitate that Lenovo Yoga for cameraman Celso Bulgatti.

11 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

Oh well

The Force did not work, so they're using a more conventional shot of the Lenovo Yoga in upward-facing dog.

12 of 13

After a hard day walking on concrete...

...we take our petty revenge by eating it.

13 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET


Can you find the penguin? Just kidding -- no animals were harmed in the shooting of this photo, though sometimes we have to prop some folks up for the annual end-of-show group shot. As you can probably tell, CES is a big deal for us, and we head into it like the US infantry storming the beaches at Normandy. All for you.

More Galleries

Go Inside the Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: See How the New iPhones Look and Work
iphone 15 in different color from an angled view

Go Inside the Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: See How the New iPhones Look and Work

21 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
Astronomy Photographer of the Year Winners Reveal Our Stunning Universe

Astronomy Photographer of the Year Winners Reveal Our Stunning Universe

16 Photos
Check Out the iPhone 15's New Camera in Action
A photo of a silhouette of buildings on the water taken on the iPhone 15

Check Out the iPhone 15's New Camera in Action

12 Photos
I Got an Early Look at Intel's Glass Packaging Tech for Faster Chips
Rahul Manepalli, right, Intel's module engineering leader, shows a glass substrate panel before it's sliced into the small rectangles that will be bonded to the undersides of hundreds of test processors. The technology, shown here at Intel's CH8 facility in Chandler, Arizona, stands to improve performance and power consumption of advanced processors arriving later this decade. Glass substrates should permit physically larger processors comprised of several small "chiplets" for AI and data center work, but Intel expects they'll trickle down to PCs, too.

I Got an Early Look at Intel's Glass Packaging Tech for Faster Chips

20 Photos
Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

16 Photos
CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

9 Photos