Internet Uncut: Cameron Bode of Occupy Vancouver

Posted on November 25, 2011

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Cameron Bode at Occupy Vancouver

Cameron Bode at Occupy Vancouver

If you had to design an environment that would make livestreaming difficult, would it not feature these traits:

  • impermanent
  • mobile
  • intermittent access to power
  • zero access to ambient wifi
  • random, donated equipment only
  • outdoors
  • in freezing rain
  • during an extreme wind warning
  • in winter

Thought so. Welcome to Occupy Vancouver, and the second in our series of Internet Uncut video interviews.

Cameron Bode has been with Occupy Vancouver since the beginning, and in this video he discusses the particular challenges of livestreaming during an extreme weather warning. A full transcript is after the video. This was shot at about 3:30am on the sole night Occupy Vancouver occupied Robson Plaza.

OccupyGrandviewPark

At Occupy Vancouver with Cameron Boyd of the media committee

Occupation 2.0: Robson Square

I’m primarily doing livestreaming and producing if we’re fortunate enough to have multiple cameras from time to time on livestream.com/occupyvan¬†and mixing between those. We just came back from a tour of the new site and the old one.

What was used to get the tour in the rain done:

Occupy is on the larger level is a real do it yourself thing, about self empowerment. We’ve got a netbook which is not the greatest platform, mobile internet stick so we’re not relying on spotty wifi. A donated microphone jury-rigged up with my pocket here and a 99 cent chenille glove [mine] as a wind protector And a big golf umbrella and a plastic bag to put over the netbook. These confines are beautiful, but outside it’s extremely windy, extremely wet. The wind was gusting at I’d guess 90 km/hr.

DSCN5193

You’re fairly snug with roofs over most of your heads.

Yes. We’re still “in the environment” but we kind of have a flip of the old site where on every side we were walled in Hotel Vancouver, VAG, HSBC, Hotel Georgia, and we had tent city at the base. THe wind whipped through there like crazy, whereas here we have overhead coverage and we’re open on the sides. Nice tradeoff. It’s really very fortuitous that we moved in today and a crazy windstorm blew up tonight, cuz everyone is hunkered down rather nice and cozy.

DSCN5216

But when you’re outside with the livestream, taking a look at where we were, and you get the wider picture, it’s quite the battle managing the livestream, just keeping it in the bag with the umbrella trying to move it with the shifting wind, making sure the umbrella doesn’t inside-out on us or anything or Mary Poppins away. We lost our umbrella…

A moment of silence for our fallen comrade the umbrella.

It was a beautiful Ikea golf umbrella that served us well. It went on the homeless/housing march a week ago Saturday, and it served valiantly out there in the wind and the rain tonight, but it’s met its final resting place.

Now, I have a nosy journalistic question here: I’ve noticed this extension cord coming down and going around here, so presumably you have power: where’d you get the power from?

There’s power outlets all over at UBC/Robson Square.

And you’re liberating the power in the name of the people?

Yeah. It’s there. We’re gonna use it to communicate better and provide the basic means that our other committee tents use, like the medical tent, food not bombs, whatever else out there that haven’t fully sprung up yet. Today was just moving day, but those basics of charging laptops and cameras so we can send what messages we can out to the world and be connected to the world back, and some light and some resources, for the medical tent and of course food not bombs who are just amazing. Keeping us fed and healthy.

What kind of equipment is the media team looking for?

We really have use for any kind of laptop however for livestreaming there’s a good quality laptop if it’s weatherized that’s great, but if not we’ll make do in other ways…a 2.6 gigahertz dual core processor with 2 gigs of RAM is the optimum platform for livestreaming. With an internet connection on that kind of machine we can basically stream in HD quality full time. Our livestreams are lower quality and have a bit of choppiness on almost any one that you’ve seen and that’s almost entirely a function of the laptop that’s streaming.

And people who want to learn to livestream. We’re always looking for more people at night but any time is great. Webcams…webcams to go with them are great. Most laptops come with them, but an external one that you can move around and position…Ideally maybe have those laptops in a backpack so that they could stay protected from the elements and then just have one of those little USB webcams. We have some but those are always great to have. Microphones for providing better sound. And anyone who wants to finance a mobile internet stick is great as well. We have several but the idea is that we continue to add livestream. It’s such a robust and amazing tool for both connecting people here with the outside world, people who Occupy in spirit and mind and aren’t able to do it physically at that time for whatever reason, we occupy what we can and connect them back here. It’s a two-way street… and so… was I still talking about things we need for Media? Yeah.

I’ve mostly personally been focused on doing the livestreaming, but more people who want to step up and do some occupying when they can, learn social media, learn twitter…we’ve got some great people resources, some people who are extremely able on Twitter who’d love to share that with you, Graphic Designers, there’s all kinds of…hopefully our web page is a place where that’s getting more detailed, and where the discussions are happening and where you can outline any skill sets you may have, that you might want to put to use in the Occupation. Support!

And it sounds like what YOU need is some sleep!

And some sleep! That’s why I keep asking for more people, especially for coverage at night. We haven’t had too much on that for keeping an eye on the media infrastructure that we have. After the move we don’t have much here, so that’s not a concern. I’m just going to bed down here. But having bodies communicating with the world all the time, especially onsite if they’re able to is one of the best resources we have, and that would allow us to try to get back to having some of the narrative that’s out in the rest of the boring world come from what’s actually happening here; the narrative as it’s unfolding and not just the quick drop-ins.

It has been very third-hand, really. What’s coming out of Occupy Vancouver. Everything that’s on social media, that is. They’re not connecting with the livestream, although that’s happening more and more, now that they know the GA is livestreamed.

Yes. and we’re starting to have a handle on having that livestream up more. I really take inspiration from the brothers and sisters in Toronto who have been livestreaming 24/7 since their occupation started. I think they were being moved around or possibly moved around today. That’s where we want to aim here too at Occupy Vancouver: that 24/7 livestream and that means laptops to do it on, internet sticks to power it, we’re using wind Mobile’s network right now and it’s been great for us. ANY NETWORK IS FINE OF COURSE THOUGH! and people to operate them. It’s a very simple skill, and we had a livestream chat tonight where I was just putting out that same call, “Anyone want to do some livestreaming?” HappyFox, Jen, she stepped up and said “Hey, I have a laptop and sure, I’d love to. I’m not a tech person but sure!” You don’t need to be a tech person and if you are, that’s great too.

We are all amazing people with huge wealths of knowledge to draw upon for one another and Occupy to me is at its heart about education so that we can talk about these big, crazy issues that we see. And learning means to communicate them and a new skill is part of that too. Come out and do that and share your knowledge with me and everyone else who is there too.

Thanks very much Cameron. That’s ten minutes and we should let you get to sleep.

I’m a rambler! Please edit that for your post.

I don’t edit. I’m lazy!

I hope some coherence came through there somewhere.

Well, there is no gain without pain and we can see that you’re working very hard.

Not painful at all. It’s easy when the vibes and what you’re doing for it…it’s easy to push yourself though we do need to remember to take care of yourself because you can’t go all the time. But I do encourage anyone who hasn’t to come down and feel that spirit inside. The Occupation, I think it’s day 38??? Maybe 39 now??? Somewhere in there…It has been the most satisfying time in my life. It has allowed me a lot of personal reflection … I’m not sure I’m speaking in the right metaphor but I’ve learned a lot and I’ve met the most amazing people possible, and I have renewed faith or BIGGER faith in the capacity of humanity and the capacity of my own generation and awe and wonder at what the other generations before me have done and what we’re doing together.