Stand Here, Mr President

This week, I worked on the setup crew for the President’s visit to Sun City Center.

Things I’m still amazed about, even though I knew them from other events:

1) The “pool” video camera sits atop a cement camera stand built at each event the President appears at. This ensures a stable platform which no-one can bump.

Concrete Camera Stand

2) The “bullnose” – the camera platform discussed in item one above – must be filled while representatives from the Secret Service are present. If they are not present when the building or final pour occur, they may require that it be demolished and re-built.

Things I learned that I didn’t know before:

1) The lighting of W is very specific – backlighting must only reach to his neck, and shall be no more than about 90 candlepower. Apparently if it hits his hair, massive shine will occur and blind the audience.

2) There is frequently a piece of tape, right behind the Presidential Lectern which has “The President” written on it, so he knows where to stand.


3) There are at least 12 sets of lecterns and Presidential audio systems traveling around the country at any given time, and 12 sets of 2 audio engineers (supplied by the Army) who travel with and run the gear.

4) The lecterns travel in large custom aluminum cases with Wile E Coyote stencilled on them.

5) For the past several decades, the two microphones atop the Presidential lectern are Shure SM-57s, a microphone I believe to be a relatively poor spoken-word microphone.

6) Both lecterns at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner were authentic. Apparently it was quite the secret to make that entertainment happen.

7) W wasn’t as upset as the blogosphere indicated about Colbert’s ribbing.

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