visualising bittorrent swarms

The following visualisations were created for use as eye candy in a podcast I’m editing for the 53rd Sydney Film Festival. Specifically I intend to use them for the Hyperdistribution Pod/Webcast Masterclass featuring Mark Pesce.

All of the imagery you are about to see was generated by the Azureus Java BitTorrent client during an actual download. They were captured using a trial version of the awesome screen capture utility from Ambrosia Software, SnapzPro. Each of captured videos were then manipulated in Final Cut Pro, before being encoded using ffmpegX

The animations are all copyright (c) James Christopher Murty 2006 under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 2.1 Australia.

Azureus Bittorrent Swarm


“Come and Join the Swarm” – graphically illustrates a torrent being started up. A client becomes one with the swarm as Azureus is able to locate more and more peers who have parts of the desired file. This animation has had an exponential acceleration applied to it compressing about 15 minutes of activity down to 15 seconds.

Azureus Bittorrent File Pieces(/james/content/images/2006/05/swarm/chunks.h264.mp4)
“A Million Tiny Pieces” – graphically illustrates a file broken into lots of smaller pieces. The animation shows the current upload and download status of each of these pieces. This animation has been sped up compressing about a minute and a half of activity down to five seconds.

(5 seconds, 550KB)
Azureus Bittorrent International Peers
(/james/content/images/2006/05/swarm/international.h264.mp4)
“I Have Peers in Many Places” – graphically illustrates other peers in the swarm currently uploading and downloading the file and their approximate geographic locations. This animation has been sped up compressing about a minute of activity down to five seconds.

(5 seconds, 800KB)
QuickTime 7 or above required
(http://www.apple.com/quicktime/) These animations are encoded at 768×576 at 25 frames per second using H264 (MPEG4 Part 10/AVC).

Apple QuickTime 7.1 or above is required to view these videos. I’ve had reports that QuickTime 7.0 and lower under Windows will crash Microsoft I.E. when attempting to play back similarly encoded clips.