By COLIN MOYNIHAN
Robert Stolarik for The New York TimesProtestors and documentarians gathered Sunday at an encampment in Tampa known as Romneyville, about a mile from where the Republican National Convention will take place.
The white and blue bus sat near the edge of downtown Tampa, on a small plot that had recently been named “Romneyville” as protesters from around the country gathered to pitch tents and unroll sleeping bags.
Blue lettering spelled out the words Mobile Broadcast News on the side of the bus. Inside, the vehicle was outfitted with bunks, sconce lights and a ventilation fan.
Working in the cramped interior were Chappell Howard and Flux Rostrum, who sat at wooden tables where three laptops displayed images that had been recorded on video earlier that day.
Mr. Rostrum, who has traveled the country for years filming protests, said that the bus, a 1995 International Bluebird that runs on recycled vegetable oil, would be a headquarters for people documenting rallies, marches and other street actions during both the Republican and Democratic conventions.
As protesters trickled into Tampa before the convention, videographers were joined by another sort of documentarian, called livestreamers, who broadcast events on the Web in real time.
That sort of immediate dissemination of raw footage, Mr. Rostrum said, had provided a potent tool to show interactions between police and the public and to create a record of fleeting, sometimes chaotic moments that otherwise might be lost to conflicting memories.
“They can’t say you’re editing it and twisting the story,” he said on Friday. “It’s live, happening right in front of you.”
During the convention, he said, he and others would be broadcasting their footage on the Mobile Broadcast Web site.
Video has played a significant role during recent conventions and large-scale protests. Mr. Rostrum was among a group of people who contributed footage from the 2004 convention in New York to a collective called I-Witness Video. After the convention, video assembled by the group was used to refute testimony by police officers in a court case involving the mass arrests of hundreds of protesters.
Four years later, during the Republican gathering in St. Paul, officers surrounded a house where about a dozen I-Witness members were staying, handcuffed them and held them for hours. None of the collective members were arrested but they said that the authorities looked through their computers and cameras.
Livestreaming was widely used by people connected to the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York last fall and then spread to dozens of other cities.
Mr. Rostrum said that he was running a 24-hour livestream from the bus showing “Romneyville,” which was organized by a group called the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights campaign. He said the stream showed the evolution of the encampment, which sprung up on Aug. 20 on a lot rented from an Army-Navy surplus store that stands about a mile from the Tampa Bay Times Forum where the Republican delegates will gather.
Mr. Rostrum said that before arriving in Florida he had been in West Virginia with his bus documenting conflicts between police officers, miners and people protesting strip mining.
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