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Organizers Preparing For First Night Celebration

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As we reflect on 2013, it's time to look ahead to New Year's Eve – and Highmark First Night Pittsburgh celebration.

"We are going to run our timing and get it down pat and then it will be a show," said Chris Ruffner with Technique Architectural Projects.

Knowing prior preparation prevents poor performance, Ruffner and the crew from Technique Architectural Projects of Wilkinsburg spent Friday morning up on the snow-covered roof of the Highmark building downtown.

"It's loaded into the iPlayer and then that runs it through the DMX line, all the way into the ball and that's what tells the lights what to do," he explains.

A lot of high-tech gadgetry is squeezed inside a big black box. It controls the massive orb that has become Pittsburgh's symbol of New Year's Eve.

"The ball is made of all recycled materials," said First Night Director Darcy Kucenic. "The blue on the ball represents our rivers, and there are nearly 1,200 different kinds of lights on the ball and it weighs over over 1,300 pounds."

And Pittsburgh has the distinction of raising the ball in the final seconds when December turns into January.

"It shows that we are a city on the rise which was true seven years ago when the ball was sort of designed and created and it is still true today," Kucenic said.

They've been working on the ball for more than a month and say they're sure they'll be ready on New Year's Eve.

"We actually start this around Thanksgiving and then we work through New Year's Eve," Ruffner said.

Safe to say, that for them, the countdown to New Year's Eve is already on.

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