Obscura Shines Some Light on the 2016 Presidential Debates

November 7, 2016 Projects

CNN came to us wanting to do something different. In what can only be called a unique election year, they wanted to create a one-of-a-kind experience for their live broadcasts of the four Presidential debates.

We decided to create a visual story for each of the debate locations that would inspire, educate, and entertain audiences of TV viewers and passers-by alike. And we wanted to take it on the road.

So we tricked out a Ford F250 pickup that would pull the CNN/Facebook Campaign Camper (a pretty sweet Airstream rigged up with Facebook and Instagram social media capabilities for the public that would drive from debate to debate), retrofitting the truck bed with a custom-mounted Christie Digital 30K projector that would raise up, rotate 360-degrees, calibrate, and project anywhere.

While that was underway, our art team created visual content to augment the CNN anchors’ pre- and post-debate broadcasts, including bumper animations, “mosaics” incorporating campaign trail photography, and dynamic visualizations featuring live polling data. We also pulled in and projected a dynamic feed of Instagram photos from the Campaign Camper.

Our crew worked with the CNN team to project them from the truck onto the building behind the CNN sets at NY’s Hofstra University, Longwood University in Farmville, VA, Washington University in St. Louis, and UNLV in Vegas, adding a rich dimension to the debate experience for those watching in person and on TV.

The team had a great time experiencing the debate energy first hand. Krista Adkins, Obscura’s Producer on the project, said “It was cool to be a part of this experience, and particularly gratifying to see our country’s youth having a voice in this election.” 

Photos: Joe Vigorito and Josh Brott

By Will Chase