Saving Rev3 – Frustrations (Day 14)

May 23rd, 2012 | by Famicoman |

Fourteen days ago, I started the SaveRev3 project (read why here). If anything, it has been off to a good start. Tons of shows are up in one capacity or another, and it doesn’t seem like it will be long before the entire selection of archived shows is online.

Having said that, let’s talk a bit about Revision3. I’d like to describe their setup without using the word “clusterfuck” but that would be pretty difficult. If you are unfamiliar with it, Revision3 keeps a list of “Archived Shows” which houses shows that they don’t produce anymore. This includes shows that went on to do their own thing after Revsion3 such as Epic Fu, notMTV, and The Game Show.

 

Project Page

 

If you browse through this list, you might wonder why it feels like some shows are missing outright, and that is because they are. Plain and sweet, Revision3 for one reason or another has decided to take some shows down, and remove all mentions of them… or so they think. So we know there are shows missing, but how can we get at them? Take any of these missing shows: thebroken, SubSystm, Mysteries of Science Explained, Geekdrome, etc. and do a little googling. You can usually find a dated forum post for the most recent episode, even if it was years ago. From here, use the Wayback Machine for Revision3’s site and migrate to the show’s page (when they had it).

If the Wayback Machine was nice enough to crawl that page, you can get a show synopsis, episode descriptions, download links, and an rss feed. Now, if you click the download link, you will get a 404. Most people probably stop the game here. However, look at any old episode URL and compare it to a new one.

http://videos.revision3.com/thebroken/0004/thebroken–0004–ep4–large.h264.mov

Notice anything? Revision3 has simply changed the url format out over the years (The files are actually just hosted on Bitgravity). Just plug in their current one and you can get at the files.

These episodes have been sitting on the servers, unlinked, for years. They probably just want you to believe the episodes are gone, but for whatever wonderful reason they didn’t actually remove the files.

Using this method, we now have complete runs for every show removed from Revision3.

Let’s talk a bit about shows still on the site. The organization doesn’t get much worse. If you look at any early episodes for a season, the formats for them are a toss up. The Revision3 Gazette doesn’t even have download links for the first two episodes, forcing you to capture ancient flv files from Youtube. A lot of other shows will have the first episode as a small h264, and then quality will catch up on the following episodes. What happened to the first episode? I don’t think it was shot at low resolution. Then there are shows like Indigital where the first episode has a large XviD, but only a small h264. Did nobody want to bother encoding to another format?

The torment continues. One episode of iFanboy Mini returns a 404 for the large h264, even though the episode is linked, it just doesn’t seem to exist. Did someone delete it or name it incorrectly? Did it even exist to begin with? Other shows like Infected are just odd. First few episodes are MP3 only, then they get up to small h264, then back down to MP3 only for a couple of episodes, then small h264 again.

Foodmob Bites had the numbering scheme messed up four years ago, and nobody fixed it. The episode numbers jump up when they feel like it, and the rss feed has been a mess for just as long. Lil’ Internet Superstar doesn’t appear to have an episode 3. Some shows like popSiren Bite are missing episodes in the listing, and they can only be found by searching the site based on description contents, if you can find that.

Up until recently, downloading episodes was a complete pain. You could snag the last 30 or so episodes from the show’s RSS feed, but besides that, you’d have to download them one at a time. There aren’t many series torrents out there, and although some people made some bulk download bash scripts, they’re few and far between.

I enlisted some help, and what I got in return was a fantastic one-line command that will wget all the episodes for whatever show in whatever format almost effortlessly. Now, it does have some problems: every once in awhile a series of episodes won’t download, and it doesn’t take into account that some shows have their early episodes in a lower quality format, but filling those holes is much easier than downloading one episode at a time by hand.

Something else to point out though, is that the Bitgravity cdn will throttle you. On one of my servers, downloads start out at 10M/s, and later drop to 500K/s before building up and leveling around 1.5M/s and then jumping around randomly.

I’d like to give some shout outs to those who have helped out so far in this brief period of time, in chronological order. Moonlit has made sure I keep some sense of my sanity and has done some information gathering on Revision3 Beta. Shinmaryuu has done a mention or two over Twitter. Corrosion has helped put up XviD files of thebroken. RichardR has been downloading/uploading multiple shows. Pat has donated his internet connection. Digip has offered to mail DVDs (though I’ve reckoned downloading would just be faster).

 

#SaveRev3
 

As of right now, I am downloading and uploading from three different connections. I plan on maintaining a dedicated computer with a 2TB external keeping watch over all the files locally and pulling down more.

As always, feel free to join up and spread the word. If you don’t know how to help, come chat with us and we’ll get you on your way.

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