November 9, 2014, 7:00 pm
Posted by: Blaine

A Glimpse at the Infamous Spreadsheet


If you have been watching Desert Bus for Hope the last couple of years, you might have noticed how fast videos go up on Youtube. If you thought that there were little internet elves working away to get you the third “Africa” rendition that you missed, you’re not all wrong. The Video Strike Team, or VST, is a group of off site volunteers that work diligently throughout the run to keep a record of what events have happened, grab the video footage, and upload and edit the video for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

The group grew from the community of the Desert Bus Chat, which boasts nearly a hundred active chatters off season. The members talk about everything and are bonded by their love of the event, their desire to help children in hospitals, and sometimes even their own experiences with medical issues. The transformation from a fun way to keep in touch with one another to diligent workers was started when a number of chat moderators and members were considering trying to upload sections from the torrent that was to be released of the entire event after DB5. One member, LadySephiroth, began work with XelaReko and others on a spreadsheet to keep track of what important moments had happened in the run.


Coincidentally, after switching streaming providers, Graham wanted to try out some of the features Twitch offered and contacted chat members Master Gunner, Dave_Random and Aerocmdr asking them if they wanted to use the highlight system to edit the stream during the 6th event. From this, a spreadsheet of massive intricacy was born and this spreadsheet along with the directions for uploading were circulated. While initially the plans were to keep the group small, the effort of trying to keep track of all of the call-ins, skits, songs, and everything else was a bigger undertaking than anyone expected. The group of five or six grew to include a dedicated list of chat members:

2stepz, Andreas “LambMower” Engström, Betsy, BillTheCat, Blaine aka BrainStew, Deserai “Caitiri” Del Duca, Dave_Random, Dicey, Invariel, Jace “J” Greywool, Kidspanner, LadySephiroth, LordZarano, Master Gunner, Mowinkel, QuarterNote, Derek aka Sektor88, Sokar, SweedChef, Taylor/NewClassic, Telnaior, Tyranic-Moron/GarrusVakarian, & XelaReko.

A larger portion of the group set about recording the start and end times on the sheet, and a smaller number would then take these time signatures and clip the video out as quickly as possible.

This year there is an even more complex system in place than ever before. Dave_Random almost single-handedly set up a script that will cut video from a running capture of the stream automatically using multiple servers for redundancy, including his own and ones hosted by Anubis169 and Chton. The spreadsheet is more important than ever as the script will read the times off of the sheet, pull the clips, and upload them with a small time buffer directly to Youtube. From there, they need only be given a finishing touch on the beginning and end before being made public. And the over-caffeinated elves will work on, staying up far too late to make sure every Jenga tower is documented, edited, and uploaded so you don’t have to miss a minute of the fun.

15 Comments on “Video Strike Team – The Elves of DB (minus the pointy ears)”

  1. Look ma, I’m on the blog!

    By LambMower - November 9th, 2014 7:25 pm
  2. You guys are awesome and I love you. It’s so amazing to have so many highlights available so fast.

    By Sarah_Serinde - November 9th, 2014 7:37 pm
  3. I made great use of the YouTube highlights last year, and anticipate that I’ll need it even more this year, so All The Props to the Video Strike Team. You are amazing.

    By middlegirl - November 9th, 2014 7:49 pm
  4. We’re less amazing and more insane, honestly. Still, it’s a fantastic event, and I’m personally super jazzed to be able to help where I can. Props especially to the organizers up-top, and the server providers, as without those all-guiding hands in the sky, we’d all be running around like headless chickens.

    Glad you guys enjoy it, and I hope it goes as smoothly this year as it has in the past. Remember if you like a video, kick a bit of cash to Child’s Play for us. It’s all for the kids, after all.

    By NewClassic - November 9th, 2014 7:58 pm
  5. I love the magic internet elves

    By Snowman - November 9th, 2014 8:23 pm
  6. That’s all great news! Thanks for ALL the work that will have to be done VST.

    By D3fr0st - November 9th, 2014 10:56 pm
  7. HA! I love how the One Direction song I sang last year made it on there.

    And seriously though, that spreadsheet has been the savior of so many things when it comes to the Wiki.

    Speaking of… I need to get access to this year’s list too…

    By Dix - November 9th, 2014 11:16 pm
  8. Not to be a downer but will the new muting policy at twitch be an issue with highlights? I really hope not as catching up with the bits of desert bus that go on when I eventually sleep is always awesome.

    By ACOwen - November 10th, 2014 1:24 am
  9. Muting will not be an issue, ACOwen. We are capturing the stream as it is broadcast this year, and working off of our own copies.

    By Master Gunner - November 10th, 2014 6:10 am
  10. dave_random’s upload script is an absolute miracle worker this year for exactly what you mentioned, ACOwen. It also helps save some of our, albeit minimal, sanity as we can focus on making sure more of the events that happen at DB get accurately documented and uploaded.

    By Dicey - November 10th, 2014 9:32 am
  11. I have a challenge for this year: Have the Video Strike Team and the GIF team capture the same event and the VST gets it up first. That will be difficult, but you’ve got the whole run to do it. :-)

    By Admiral Memo - November 11th, 2014 1:23 am
  12. Sadly, our biggest bottleneck is YouTube processing time, which is completely out of our control. The only way to beat the GIF team is if they completely miss an event and have to wait for the Twitch replay to update.

    By Master Gunner - November 11th, 2014 2:37 pm
  13. So these are the fools I should blame for starting me off on my own quest this year…. I shall start plotting revenge soon on each and every one of them.

    (For those who read this who do not visit the LRR forums, I am going to be making a game using the videos and gif’s made, and much like everyone here I will be building it during the Desert bus run, forum thread here: )

    By Famout - November 12th, 2014 1:08 am
  14. The VST is awesome!

    By Ravynn - November 12th, 2014 10:56 am
  15. I’ve been working my way through the entire Desert Bus 8 video archives, and I just wanted to say the VST is bussing incredible. Thanks, guys! I can’t imagine how you do it, but you do it very well.

    By TPRJones - November 25th, 2014 2:00 pm
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