July 21st, 2007
08:22 PM ET
12 years ago

The stage is being set

The stage is set for tomorrow’s Democratic presidential debate.

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN)– It’s two days until show time and the stage is in the process of being set for Monday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

There’s an army of technicians working in concert to construct the stage and dress up the McAllister Field House, here on the campus of the Citadel, for the debate that CNN, You Tube and the South Carolina Democratic Party are teaming up to host.

Lighting and video technicians, stage carpenters, members of the CNN design team and field engineers, and a host of other workers are busy transforming the field house, which normally hosts basketball games, into a debate hall that will be seen by television viewers and computer users around the world.

Above me some 40 thousand pounds of lighting equipment is being set up on grids attached to the ceiling of the building. Riggers, who scale the tops of the field house, are finishing up connecting lights and cables to the ceiling grids above the stage. I’m sitting directly under a huge speaker as I write down these observations. You know what, maybe I better move.

Cameramen are setting up their equipment, and checking their shots. Ten cameras, both stationary and hand held, will be inside the hall to shoot the debate.

On stage right now, an honor guard from the Citadel is practicing a drill they will perform at the beginning of the debate. “Right face” commands the honor guard’s leader. Now the six member team is marching off the stage. They will practice their drill over and over again.

Stage left and hanging from a grid attached to the ceiling is a giant high definition screen where the candidates and the debate audience will see the recorded questions. Each of the eight candidates will also have personal monitor in their podium on the stage.

The CNN director who will call the shots Monday night just walked on stage. She’s checking her shots and the lighting. It’s something she’ll do a number of times between now and show time Monday night.

All this action began on Wednesday and will go through Monday afternoon, when the final touches will be applied.

- Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: CNN/YouTube Debate • South Carolina
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Chrystal Hegarty, Toledo, OH

    Re talk in Charleston, Monday nite
    My question is about immigration. I truly believe in "Give me your tired, your poor, etc" We are a country of immigrants. I also think that passage of the Patriot Act was our nation's greatest disgrace since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1797. Do any of the Democratic candidates agree with any of my thoughts?

    July 21, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. Peter, Portland,OR

    It will be interesting how low resolution YouTube videos will end up looking on a giant HDTV.

    All this talk about how its the people's debate, uncensored, unfiltered etc. is a load of hooey. Cnn is picking (aka filtering) the questions to be used, we will still get the same half dozen questions about the health care system (we all know their stances by now) and iraq (bring the troops home they'll say) and education questions (how am i gonna pay for skool and get me learnen?)

    July 21, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  3. Paul Levinson, NY, NY

    Looking forward to the debate on Monday – this is an important step forward for democracy. YouTube, CNN and Democracy

    July 22, 2007 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Let's hope that the good people of South Carolina don't embarrass themselves this time by twisting Ron Paul's words and not understanding his message. Clapping for Giuliani in the last debate made them look like the most clueless state in the union.

    July 22, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |