It’s clear that this year The Blue Alliance has been unable to provide match archives for as many matches as we have in previous years. In particular, the dissolution of SOAP has removed much of the organizing drive behind video archiving at events. Perhaps less teams are recording events because they assume someone else will be and the matches will be available online, but if no one records anything, we can’t offer them.
The Blue Alliance is weighing a number of options to improve the environment for next year. One possible course of action would be buying 12 Pinacle video recording units, and sending one along with each field. Swapping in and out 8gb thumbdrives would let each event be fully recorded for later processing, splitting, and uploading. This is obviously a somewhat expensive option, but we may be able to obtain sponsorship for this project, and part of the cost could be covered by the relatively moderate amount of advertising revenue we have made.
We would love to open the discussion for other ideas. Match videos are great for showing sponsors what their money enables, letting parents who couldn’t come to events see what their children’s long hours at the school were for, and relieving your most exciting matches. As a community, we can do a better job preserving these memories, let’s just figure out how!
This may be a crazy idea, but would there be some way to share advertising revenue with people/orginizations who record the videos? The monetary incentive might induce more people to help get you the videos. Also, it might save you from having to buy a bunch of units yourself. I suppose that means that TBA would have to have an income stream in first place, so it might not work out.
On a related note, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing some banners or other ads on TBA if I knew it meant more money for you guys. Of course I’m using Firefox with Adblock so I don’t see many ads in the first place. But Chief Delphi has a few banners, so I don’t think more advertising on TBA would be a bad thing if it meant the financial flexibility to do more stuff.
Last year we mailed a TBA Pinacle to Kyle Love, who recorded IRI. We can send you one to record it this year if you’re willing and want to save some money. Of course, I love the Pinacle boxes and think they’re awesome, so if you want your own anyway don’t let us stop you
I know as a startup business, being able to do an event without compensation currently just isn’t feasible. I would love to be able to webcast/record an event.
Maybe having a donation system were teams can donate to a fund that is used to help support whoever does an events video. Another idea is that a higher definition(higher than webcast quality) video DVD could be sold to support future event recordings.
Just wanted to chime in here. In Philly, Miss Daisy had a video stream using ustream.tv (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/philadelphiafirst). The video can be downloaded from the ustream site, so that may be a direction to look into.
If we could get every regional to stream matches, we could later go on and download the video and archive it.
Last year I got the Philly regional recorded using an Elgato Eyetv 250. It worked pretty well, I just need to find the time to split the video up.
Our ads are also pretty far down the page. We didn’t want them to get in the way of any content. Since we have a donated server from HostRocket, we don’t have very many ongoing costs, and mostly use the ad revenue to support new projects (like buying and mailing Pinacles) for the site.
I’d like to think that we can just by-pass the uStream solution, since we’re talking about archiving here, not webcasting. It’s way too low-quality for offline viewing, especially if you’re trying to impress a sponsor, group of students, school board, parents, etc. Or just for looking back at matches for nostalgia/education-sake.
I think the Pinacles would be an ideal solution, since that would provide the same quality/format for each regional.
If we coordinated with the Regional Planning Committees before events, it would be trivial to add an RCA cable splitter to their AV setup expressly for the purpose of archiving their event. Special permission would solve that problem, and get us the on screen scoring still.
I must say that I kinda wish the Pinnacle devices were a bit better quality, but they will do. All we need are 12 Pinnacle devices, and 12 16gb usb thumb drives. As long as you stop the recording at lunch and then restart the recording before the afternoon matches I have never run into the 4GB wall. I think we can easily raise enough money to support purchasing enough devices.
Personally, I think it’s important to get the videos up as quickly as possible.
If I’m scanning the match scores of an ongoing regional and happen to see a great match that I missed, I immediately want to go look at it on TBA. However, a couple weeks later when the video is finally posted, I just don’t have the time or desire to look it up. This would also help scouting teams in their discussions and deliberations Friday night. Who scored in autonomous? What happened to team X in match 42?
Obviously, it’s “better late than never”, but the Pinnacle box + flash drive solution seems like a rather slow way to get the video: the flash drive gets sent back to TBA (mailed?), Greg uploads the video, someone spends several hours parsing it, and
I would like to see an easy way for matches to be recorded, parsed, and uploaded in real time. I’m hoping to work on something like this over the summer, and possibly give it a test run at one or two off-season events.
The basic idea consists of a PC and a generic USB video capture device. The PC runs software that detects the beginning and end of the matches based on the bell and buzzer sound effects, and parses the video accordingly. Between matches (or in the background, if it’s a multi-core machine), the video is compressed and uploaded.
Ideally, there would be a Linux LiveCD and a list of compatible capture devices, such that a user could take any laptop, pop in the CD, plug in a capture device, connect to the Internet, and start sending video directly to TBA.
Its a great idea, but its going to take a lot of effort to make that work. The hardest parts are going to be making it use any video source and the whole listening for the bell rings… It would probably be easier to standardize on one cheap video capture device like a Pinnacle Dazzle or something thats widely available.
It could probably be done relatively simply on a mac, I use VideoGlide which allows me to hook up a variety of USB video capture devices, manually use Quicktime X to make a movie recording of each match (someone would have to start and stop each match recording), if these video settings aren’t optimal use an script to watch a folder where the original video is saved to and encode that video with specified handbrake settings, then send it to FFMPEG to encode the flash video and create a JPEG, then send all that to the FTP… Yea it gets complex pretty quickly.