Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth

October 24, 2008

Sneak Preview Tour of NPR’s Election Studio

Filed under: Election 2.0,Media & Politics,Video — Andy Carvin @ 1:23 pm

I just streamed a live 15-minute tour of NPR’s election studio with NPR election producer Tom Bullock. Here’s an archive of the video in case you missed it:

May 25, 2008

A Camel Eating Cantaloupe

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 3:02 pm

An animal trainer feeds a cantaloupe to a camel at the Leesburg Animal Park in Leesburg, VA.
Formats available: mp4

May 23, 2008

Impromptu Interview with Jacob Soboroff of Why Tuesday?

Filed under: Election 2.0,Media & Politics,Video — Andy Carvin @ 9:48 am

So I was working at my desk yesterday when Weekend Edition Sunday producer Davar Ardalan suddenly appeared with Jacob Soboroff of Why Tuesday?, a nonpartisan group that produces a fascinating video blog about electoral reform. (In case you’re wondering about the name, it’s based on the question of why on earth U.S. elections are held on a Tuesday, when most people are stuck at work.) Jacob has been participating in Weekend Edition’s Sunday Soapbox blog, which features political commentaries from video bloggers and podcasters, and he was in town for some meetings. (He’s also headed to a Memorial Day clam bake at Joe Trippi’s horse farm; hope he shoots some video while he’s there.)
We ended up running across the street to the local Starbucks to grab a drink and enjoy the first tolerably warm temps we’ve had in a few days. It didn’t take long for me to whip out my N95 and record an impromptu interview with Jacob about Why Tuesday? and electoral reform:

April 26, 2008

Riding the Wheaton Express

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 2:59 pm

One of our favorite things to do when the weather is nice is to take Kayleigh to Wheaton Regional Park, just north of Washington DC, where they have a charming toy train that rides through the park. I thought it would be fun to stream a live tour of the train ride; here’s the archive of the video I shot.

March 28, 2008

DC Cherry Blossoms Walking Tour

Filed under: Mobcasting,Video — Andy Carvin @ 3:17 pm

Today during my lunch break I streamed some live video over my N95 mobile phone from the Tidal Basin in Washington DC, home to the annual blossom of DC’s famous cherry blossom trees. The first video didn’t work so well – I had the video at such a high resolution the network crashed – but the second take worked like a charm. The video is about 16 minutes long, and features lots of cherry blossoms, some helicopters, and my disembodied voice talking about the history of cherry trees in DC. My wife Susanne and daughter Kayleigh even make a brief cameo – they were touring the cherry blossoms with my mother-in-law and I bumped into them near the FDR memorial. Enjoy! -andy

March 25, 2008

Live from the Salt Lick: BBQ and the Future of Mobcasting

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 10:19 am

I’m back in Austin, TX for a couple of days of NPR meetings, so last night I convinced my colleagues to make the 45-minute trek outside of the city to the Salt Lick, an old-time barbecue joint with some of the best BBQ in the area. While we waited for our table, I thought it would be a great occasion to break in my new Nokia N95 video phone. Using the streaming service, I was able to stream a live video as I toured the barbecue pit, watching cooks slapping briskets onto the fire and slathering them with their tangy sauce. (I also managed to let the video keep recording after I thought I hit the stop button, so the end of the video is kinda funny.) This video is an archive of the live event.
As far as I’m concerned, being able to stream live video from a mobile phone to the Internet is an absolute game-changer. I’m hoping I can get some of these phones into the hands of NPR colleagues so they can test them out in the field, but imagine the possibilities when everyday people can press a button on their phones and start broadcasting. I keep thinking of the Tibetan protests that took place against the Chinese government, or the Burmese monk protests last year. In both cases, there was a limited pool of video available, and much of it came up after the fact. Imagine if a protestor – or a whole group of them – were able to broadcast what was going on around them in real time?
It’s very much an extension of the mobcasting concept I advocated three years ago. Back then, I talked about using open source tools to allow protestors and citizen journalists to post audio and video to blogs and RSS feeds as events unfolded:

[W]ith the proliferation of video-enabled smartphones, it seems that it would be a natural progression to mobilize the millions of people who are buying these tools with an easy, no-nonsense way to capture socially-relevant footage and get it online in near-real time….
…A quick example: imagine a large protest at a political convention. During the protest, police overstep their authority and begin abusing protesters, sometimes brutally. A few journalists are covering the event, but not live. For the protestors and civil rights activists caught in the melee, the police abuses clearly need to be documented and publicized as quickly as possible. Rather than waiting for the handful of journalists to file a story on it, activists at the protest capture the event on their video phones — dozens of phones from dozens of angles. Thanks to the local 3G (or community wi-fi) network, the activists immediately podcast the footage on their blogs. The footage gets aggregated on a civil rights website thanks to the RSS feeds produced by the podcasters’ blogs. (Or perhaps they all podcast their footage directly to a centralized website, a la OneWorld TV but with an RSS twist.) This leads to coverage by bloggers throughout the blogosphere, which leads to coverage by the mainstream media, which leads to demands of accountability by the general public. That’s mobcasting.

Back then, though, we were limited to somewhat crude mobile podcasting tools like and, both of which are now defunct. Today, we’re seeing the deployment of new services that allow for near-real time audio and video posting, like Utterz and These services also incorporate social networking features that allow users to track each other’s content, comment on it, and cross-post it to various social media sites, like Twitter or Facebook. And now with Qik, near-real time becomes actual real-time. Rather than waiting for you to finish recording your content before posting it from your phone, Qik streams it with just a 5-10 second delay. That’s not so different than the delay you see in “live” broadcasts on TV news or radio.
In some ways, the term mobcasting is more appropriate than ever: groups of people using mobile phones in coordinated actions to cover an event without any easy way to censor them. It’s both exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. It’s just a matter of time before there’s another government crackdown, police beating incident, voter intimidation or other incident that authorities wouldn’t want the rest of us to see. But we will see it. Live. -andy

March 12, 2008

Billy Bob Thornton vs. the Studio

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 9:33 am

Actor Billy Bob Thornton, speaking at the 2008 SXSW festival in Austin, TX, describes the fight he had with a Hollywood studio over his creative independence while making the film All the Pretty Horses. -andy
Formats available: mp4, iPod, mobile

February 19, 2008

Unveiling My $17 Burger at the LA Biltmore Hotel

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 9:21 pm

February 11, 2008

Studio 4A: Inside NPR on Super Tuesday

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 8:36 pm

On February 5, I spent the better part of the night working at NPR, helping out with online coverage of Super Tuesday 2008. One floor above us was Studio 4A, NPR's broadcast command center. Inside, dozens of NPR staff worked to bring live coverage of the voting results, including making projections for every primary and caucus that night.

I spent some time visiting Studio 4A observing the action. I'd only planned to take some still pictures, but ended up shooting this video as well. Because I didn't have a proper video camera with me, the audio is somewhat embarrassing, but at least the visuals will give you a sense of some of the things taking place behind the scenes. Included in the video are Featuring Beth Donovan, Ken Rudin, Ron Elving, Ellen Weiss, Robert Siegel, Michelle Norris, Mara Liasson, EJ Dionne, Scott Simon, David Folkenflik, Andrea Seabrook and Nina Totenberg, among others. -andy

Formats available: mp4, iPod, Mobile, Flash

Anonymous Protest Scientology in Washington DC

Filed under: Video — Andy Carvin @ 12:12 pm

Footage I shot for Rocketboom at the Washington DC protest against the Church of Scientology by the group known as Anonymous.
Formats available: mp4, iPod, mobile, Flash
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