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Hatcam Goes to the Conventions

What’s that curious helmet covered in stickers and wires?

Why, it’s the PBS NewsHour hatcam, an emerging sensation at the national political conventions.

Our documentary tool is a red plastic hard hat outfitted with a Go Pro HD camera, shotgun microphone and LiveShell broadcast transmitter that beams out onto our UStream channel live. And it has allowed us to capture the convention from one more perspective: at eye level with delegates, media members and politicians, allowing us to be unencumbered by bulky photography gear.

We’ve had real conversations with real people at the Republican National Convention who are drawn to the hat, and just as quickly forget about it. They’ve told us about their families, their religious beliefs, about the moments at the conventions that moved them most. And there’s more in store.

Hatcam is now in Charlotte, awaiting prime time (and a few others walks) when it can venture across uptown to the Democrats’ epicenter.

Hatcam was the brainchild of NewsHour creative director Travis Daub and the NewsHour online team. It has graced the heads of a few different NewsHour staffers, including political director Christina Bellantoni. Our regular wearers are first-time convention-goers, production assistant Meena Ganesan, @meenaganesan, and reporter-producer Katelyn Polantz, @kpolantz.

Find us at the convention center in Charlotte or at the Time Warner Arena, and we’ll pose for a photo.

For hatcam updates, follow #hatcam and @NewsHour on Twitter. You can also tune in to past hatcam takes and the live feed at:
http://bit.ly/newshourhatcam

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