For those who've never helped run a booth at a trade show, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the temporary city — an endless sea of lights, sounds, and humans pressing past one another in search of the next great gadget — takes weeks to assemble before the first attendee even hits the floor. It's a choreographed symphony of thousands of laborers, installing everything from flooring to televisions to washing machines.
The Consumer Electronics Association, which runs CES, accompanied us on a tour of the show floor today to see exactly how the sausage is made. To put it mildly, it looks different than it will less than three days from now when the doors open. In fact, it's practically unrecognizable.
Be sure to compare these photos with the ones you see of the live show floor this week — they're both chaos, just very different kinds.
Workers on lifts put the finishing touches on Samsung's booth, which has been under construction for a month.
Giant boxes of appliances obstruct the view outside LG's booth. Construction began shortly after Thanksgiving, workers tell us.
It'd be hard to send GoPro's crates to the wrong booth.
A worker driving a forklift flashes a smile.
A mantra to be learned, lived, and loved during CES week.
Giant Samsung Galaxy Note IIs, it turns out, run Windows.
A 622-pound crate awaits unpacking outside Canon's booth.
A common sight on the show floor prior to opening: black cloths designed to conceal unannounced products.
Calling Sony's enormous presence a "booth" really doesn't do it justice: the company effectively occupies its own building inside the Las Vegas Convention Center's Central Hall.
Workers have long nights ahead of them before Tuesday's opening.
Samsung's booth, from some angles, looks like an endless white box two stories tall.
Panasonic's proximity to the restrooms will inevitably make it a popular destination for show-goers.
An Iogear logo decal is carefully applied on a kiosk.
A taped diagram lets workers know how RCA's booth is supposed to look when it's finished.
It takes a giant ladder to reach a logo strung from the convention center's ceiling.
Don't drop it!
Programming and choreographing the light show on Hisense's booth floor takes an impressive rig.
Hydraulic lifts are a common sight in the days before the show floor opens.
Hisense, a Chinese manufacturer unfamiliar to many Americans, takes the place of Microsoft's booth this year in one of CES's most visible locations: the very front of Central Hall.
A "tree" of ultrabooks hangs above Intel's booth.