In addition to the extensive first-person coverage of the tsunami disaster on blogs, there have been several amateur recordings of the tsunami from camcorders. Unfortunately, the network websites aren't making them easy to find and view. The videos are usually only available as poor-quality, streaming video like RealPlayer, and buried in popup windows and poor navigation.
Ben pointed me to downloadable versions of three clips. I'm hosting them here. (Unfortunately, I don't have much information about the source of these videos.)
- phuket.wmv (11MB) - shot from inside a restaurant, waves engulf older couple clinging to railing before flooding entire room
- patong_beach.wmv (10MB) - rooftop view of two huge waves battering buildings along shore, then flooding of city streets
- sri_lanka.wmv (7MB) - upper balcony view of hotel swimming pool area getting flooded as observers run away; woman asks "how high will it go?" before retreating
- koh_lanta_thailand.avi (11MB) - shot on beach level; watch as first wave grows and crashes, before cameraman's frantic retreat away from shore
- penang_beach.wmv (1MB) - shot from wall above beach, three men are caught in battering waves
- sri_lanka_resort.wmv (6MB) - upper level hotel balcony; restaurant, pools, and deck flooded as people cling to trees; two men narrate what they see
If you have any more first-hand video footage, or higher-quality versions of any of these videos, please let me know and I'll add them. Most of these videos are also available as direct downloads from Cheese and Crackers, Asian Tsunami Videos, and Wave of Destruction.
December 29, 2004: Added two more videos. There is also some new footage I haven't converted yet: BBC footage from a second-story balcony in Aceh, Indonesia.
December 30, 2004: Wow, you people used over 400GB of bandwidth in a single day! I'm now redirecting all video requests to several mirrors, courtesy of Gordon Luk, Leonard Lin, Nathan Perkins, and Ask Bjorn Hansen. Thanks for the help, guys! (Sorry about the temporary downtime while I was sorting out the details.) If you can contribute a mirror and have loads of bandwidth, please e-mail me ASAP.
December 30, 2004: Archive.org is now hosting all the videos. All download links will now redirect to the Archive.org mirror. Thanks to everyone who mirrored the files overnight.
Also, a final note... If these videos touched you in any way, consider donating to the relief efforts.
December 31, 2004: Basically, we broke Archive.org! The largest repository of public-domain audio, video, and text in the world couldn't handle the demand for these videos.
I'm now hosting all these videos on my BitTorrent tracker instead. Because of the small size of these videos, I was hoping to avoid requiring a BitTorrent client for downloading, but the demand is just too high.
January 4, 2004: Back to Archive.org, at Brewster Kahle's request. He thinks they can handle the traffic now.
January 12, 2004: If you're looking for newer videos, the definitive source is the questionably-named Wave of Destruction. The site is updated constantly, with videos available by BitTorrent or direct download from multiple mirrors.