We were happy to finally see the season start after the completely ridiculous off-season distractions. We didn’t doubt for a second that Brady’s four-game suspension would be thrown out. Still, we are glad that it is now GAME ON!
Watching a football game “on tv” is no longer a passive activity. There’s more to do more now than just watch the game. You can get a steady feed of real-time stats, or participate in live on-line discussion, or, with the right cable subscription, see the game from more than one camera angle!
We have written a few articles on the gear we use to watch football on TV and on the computer. We won’t go over all of the details but here are links to more in-depth explanations if you’re interested:
Because this year will be Super Bowl 50, and also because the New England Patriots will be trying for their second back-to-back Super Bowl win (meaning, they had back-to-back wins in 2003 and 2004 and are now trying for another set with 2014 and 2015), we have decided to reconfigure our current media setup to record every Pats game, home or away. If things go according to plan, we will edit every game down to just the plays (60 minutes per game), and end up with all the data to put together our own killer highlight reel at the end of the season!
The most important thing we need to have is the ability to grab a clean signal. The best is still the HDTV signal grabbed right out of the air. So, during the pre-season, we played around with a bunch of different HDTV antennas and with various workflows. In the end, we found that the best combination of gear for recording live TV off the air is:
- EyeTV Hybrid : Easy to use HDTV tuner, records in 1080p
- Clearstream Eclipse HDTV antenna : Sticks anywhere antenna, super clear signals
- Mac mini : Small size, easily upgradeable, great workhorse
Recording live TV using the EyeTV tuner/Clearstream HDTV antenna combo was very simple. We just scheduled the recording in the software, made sure we had a strong signal, and checked on the available disk space (25GB is a safe number).
NOTE: As of February 2015, Elgato no longer offers television tuner devices in North America. This is a bummer as it is an excellent device for recording live TV. If you can find an EyeTV Hybrid on EBay or Craigslist, it is well worth picking up!
The only problem we have found with our workflow is with the post processing. EyeTV records data in a proprietary format, and the conversion to something iMovie can import is EXTREMELY slow. A three-hour (20GB) file will take close to 10 hours to process! We have no idea why, but all efforts to speed it up (more RAM, faster CPU, more disk space/SSD, etc) has not made much of a difference.
For a season’s worth of recordings, our nine-year-old 1TB RAID system would still be sufficient if we wiped it clean. However, in order to do the editing and other video-related work, we thought it better that we had more scratch and backup space available. Since we had such success building our first RAID system using an Addonics enclosure, we decided to see what they have now which might suit our football-game-recording needs.
After a bit of research, our interns determined that the Addonics’ RAID Tower III suited our needs perfectly. This enclosure is compact, can handle as many as five 3.5″ SATA hard drives, and has a small foot print. With no fan, it means silent operation. Coupled with the large storage capability, it is exactly what we want in a media drive.
To populate the Addonics array, we decided to go with Seagate 3TB drives. They have a low cost-per-megabyte ratio, are proven to be durable, and backed by a 3-year exchange warranty. At around $100/drive, we could expand to a total of 15TB for only $500. Amazing!
BTW, the largest drive offered by Seagate at the moment is 5TB unit. This means we can potentially build a 25TB array today for under $1000. That is just incredible!!!
Even though we are only populating our new Addonics three-disk/9TB external disc storage system with three 3TB units at the moment, it still should be sufficient for this RainyDayProject. If not, filling the two open slots will be just a matter of plugging in additional drives and flipping a few dip switches.
We will post an update on this project after we have “processed” a few recordings. Definitely let us know if there you have any ideas for speeding up the EyeTV export or anything else which may make the workflow faster and/or simpler! Go Pats!!!