When Streamers Don’t Stream

When the requisite post-speech streamers launched, it looked like a quickly blossoming beard of red, white and blue, floating just above the portico of the temple set. But something was amiss—the streamers failed to clear the backdrop, leaving stage right a cobwebby, though patriotic, mess.

From where I was standing on a press riser, this was quite possibly the only off-note, staging-wise, of the night.

And for more than a few working photographers, it was a bigger problem. There were twenty some photojournalists atop the stage’s temple, and they, as if covered in leftover Fourth of July silly string, took brief moments from their furious snapping following Obama’s speech to pull strands out of their hair, off their clothes, and away from their lenses.

But the situation with the Skycam was far more dramatic, since it risked some of night’s coup-de-grace shots from Invesco’s most expensive camera set-up. The Skycam, whose midfield aerial shots sports fans are familiar with, spent the whole night sliding around the stadium suspended on four taut wires, giving viewers birdseye pans of the assembled delegates.

But at the moment of streamer mis-launch, it was close enough to the stage that one of the wires caught several red and white streamers, like stockings on a clothes line. Eventually, breeze and movement conspired to mire the camera proper in streamers, making something that looked a little like a Portuguese man-o’-war hovering overhead.

“I knew that would happen,” said a tripod bound cameraman to my right, with a schadenfreude satisfied chuckle.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.