NBC “Inside the Obama White House”

Colton and others note that NBC is showing “Inside the Obama White House” on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at 9 PM Eastern. Brian Williams: “We will show aspects of life in the White House — the Obama White House — that no one on the outside has ever seen before.” We’ll be the judge of that, Brian. From the preview videos, he seems to regard Bo as a “get.”

Also from the preview, we do see the Palm Room, Chief of Staff Office, and parts of the East Wing. Here’s hoping we see the master bedroom and bath, girls’ bedrooms, and a brief tour of the basement and West Wing ground floor. If only these people would consult us beforehand….


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart sent John Oliver to the White House press area for a good tour of the offices. [This just aired; the video is not yet available on the Comedy Central site.]

Jordan sent links to the White House Historical Association’s YouTube video channel and the old White House videos of the Cabinet Room and Oval Office. Great stuff.

Also, thanks to Colton for the link to some videos from Smithsonian’s White House Revealed.

UPDATE: The Daily Show video clip is available now on their site.

Press secretary area revealed

Joe Scarborough toured the West Wing press staff area today accompanied by an out-of-control nine-year-old girl and conducted by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. It’s a great look at a seldom-seen part of the White House.

Meanwhile, their friend Willie Geist poked around the old swimming pool and also the Press Briefing Room.

While I’m at it, here is a tour Bill Plante did a few months ago (that includes the Kitchen, Pastry Kitchen, Family Theater, and Bowling Alley) that you may have missed (introduced by Chris Presumestoomuch).

Thanks to everyone who sent links.

White House Revealed

Everybody’s getting into the act…. Now The Smithsonian channel is premiering White House Revealed on February 16, President’s Day in high definition and narrated by Martin Sheen. From the commercial, it seems to focus on the staff.

Also, I’ve added some more pics from the C-SPAN documentary.

WHM goes international

In addition to my interviews with Japanese TV, Pete Sharkey’s 3D model of the White House appeared on Austrian television…! From Wingnut’s Workings:

On Inauguration Day I had the honor and pleasure of having my White House model of the Residence and Wings used by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation for their coverage on January 20th.

Congratulations to Pete!

Presidential television

The History channel is running various president-related programs in the next 24 hours, including:

  • The White House: Behind Closed Doors
  • The Presidents (a series)
  • Modern Marvels: presidential transportation
  • Secret Access: Air Force 1
  • Civil War Journal
  • A Presidency Revealed (a series including JFK and FDR)
  • UFO Files (Cleveland was abducted by aliens)
  • Star Wars Tech (presumably about Reagan)
  • Batman Unmasked (Harding fought crime in a black cloak and cowl and became the inspiration for Batman; the “playboy president” persona was a ruse).

UPDATE: At 8 AM and 2 PM on Thu, they’re also rerunning their excellent doco on Fort Knox. The history and architecture of the bullion depository is really fascinating.

The White House in 3D – a mini-tour

I’ve finally managed to produce a high-quality version of the animation of Pete Sharkey’s 3D President’s Park with narration by me. If you go to YouTube, you should see a little “watch in high quality” link in the lower right for best quality.

The next step is naturally to go inside the White House, and with Pete hard at work on various rooms (have you seen Wingnut’s Workings lately?) the only trick will be making the transitions seamless. And then, if I can get Pete to create them: historical versions of the White House in 3D. Imagine flying over Lincoln’s or Jefferson’s White House….

White House Week on C-SPAN

Today is the beginning of White House Week, C-SPAN’s answer to Shark Week.

They even have a floor plan. The “Chocolate Shop” is placed in the basement. I recall seeing a reference to this before; is it really different from the Pastry Kitchen on the first mez?

And there’s video of the Living Room! So much for my separate-bedrooms theory….

UPDATE: Hey! They used my version of the floor plans…!
UPDATE: Hey! They credit WHM at the end!

White House in 3D

I’ve been playing with Peter Sharkey’s 3D model of the White House again and trying to create a nice video from it, but I’ve been having poor luck. Google Sketch-Up is a little tricky to export from and Microsoft Movie Maker is even trickier to import into.

I’ve uploaded the raw Sketch-Up animation to YouTube, where it looks fairly terrible.

I’ve also uploaded the Movie Maker video to this site (it’s about 35 MB). It looks better than the Flash-converted YouTube version, but Movie Maker does weird things like freezing on the frame after the frame the source video froze on, which sometimes puts a tree branch in the way of the view. But it’s got titles and narration so it seems more polished.

I’ll continue experimenting and perhaps try a different video software. I welcome any suggestions.

C-Span’s White House Week

Don’t forget about C-Span’s “White House Week,” starting December 14, which will include a tour. From the trailer, it looks pretty good. Already, I see it will give us good wide-angle view of the Flower Shop and Pastry Kitchen in addition to all the usual state rooms and family quarters. Still no hint of the Living Room and Master Bedroom or even the East and West Bedrooms on the north side, nor anything on the third floor. It would be nice to see what the Bushes have done with the Clinton’s Music Room, at least. And it would be nice to the see the grounds in detail, especially the new pool house.


Watched Fail-Safe this evening and added an analysis of its depiction of the White House to the Movies & TV page. Nearly all the WH scenes occur in the Sit Room, which is depicted as a concrete bunker with a handset telephone while the Pentagon and SAC have sophisticated video screens and speaker phones. Walter Matthau’s math (60 million dead is empirically better than 100 million dead) is unintentionally hilarious today, but Henry Fonda is so presidential, you’ll be chilled anyway.

Capturing WH video clips

When I first starting creating WHM, I tried to pull the official White House video clips on pages like Life in the West Wing to archive them in a more-or-less permanent place. But because of the way they are encoded (RealMedia) and hosted (some non-gov site), I couldn’t even figure out how to link to them from WHM, much less save them and host them myself (I’m pretty sure they’re government-created and therefore public domain). Before this administration retires to points west, I’d like to capture them so they’re available in the future. Anyone who can figure out how to download (as opposed to just view) the clips, I’d like to hear it.