Sports site Deadspin reveals the incredible machine power behind its amazing GIFs

deadspin reveals the secret behind their super awesome sports gifs tim burke computer setup via gizmodo 2

Animated GIFs make the Internet a better place. We’ve done our best to provide you with ways to make your own and even recommend the best apps to use because we know that having GIFs handy is a smart move, not just for providing better-than-text comments to various Web content, but also showing appreciation for your favorite movies and TV shows. For sports news site Deadspin, GIFs are a staple fans can’t get enough of, and now we know exactly how the site makes them.

The New York Times recently profiled Tim Burke, the Video/Assignment Editor over at Deadspin, where he’s known as the King of the GIFs. But what makes him more than great at what he does is his determination to provide the best (and often unexpected) moments in current sports. That, and his ability to multitask and watch more than a dozen games at once, which he does through a self-built computer station colleagues fondly refer to as the “Burke-puter.” 

The Burke-puter is a modular collection of computers, monitors, video input devices (among other gadgets) build a modular system of computers, monitors, gadgets, and video input devices that allow him to monitor, capture, and repurpose live moments as quickly as possible.

Tim Burke's whole computer setup, via Gizmodo
Tim Burke’s whole computer setup, via Gizmodo

At first glance, you’re already overwhelmed by the vast amounts of moving footage. Eight monitors take up most of the space, which are programmed to split into even more mini-screens, through which he can record from 28 sources simultaneously. According to the profile, more than two weeks ago, Burke watched a dozen NFL games, two Major League Baseball games, four Premier League soccer matches, among other sporting events, and it took him from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. the next day.

Although video may be considered the most effective medium to showcase sports replays, they are usually entangled in strict copyright rules – Burke reportedly uses video only when there is no other choice, and even then, Deadspin regularly receives letters from the NFL to take video content down. That’s why screenshots and animated GIFs are becoming the more favored option to enjoy sports from a different perspective.

“This all started, strangely enough, as an art project. I founded 30fps in 2008 as a site to highlight live TV screencaps I grabbed using a single USB-based EyeTV 250+ tuner mated to a 2006 Intel Core Duo Macbook,” Burke shared on Gizmodo – Deadspin’s sister site – back in March.

If you’re interested in what’s included in his monstrous machine setup (which, give or take, cost him around $5000), Burke listed the following:

  • Custom i7 server running OS 10.6.8 (router/firewall)
  • Xbox360 (monitors ESPN, NBA, & MLB)
  • PS3 (monitors MLB & NHL)
  • Three Roku boxes (MLB, NBA, NHL)
  • Three HD cable boxes
  • Four DirecTV receivers
  • Kenwood 5.1 surround receiver
  • Six EyeTV 200 Firewire-based tuners
  • Two Miglia TVMax USB-based tuners
  • Four Hauppauge HD-PVR USB-based tuners
  • Old random AMD server running Ubuntu 12.04 (archive video encoder)
  • Three HDHomeRun tuners
  • TrendNet 24-port Gigabit Ethernet switch
  • Various iDevices (online video feeders)

Bear in mind that this list was furnished more than half a year ago, so he may have made vast improvements here and there. Regardless of that, his whole GIF-making routine is still jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring. 


Images via Tim Burke

Social Media

With its latest tool, Facebook is out for blood (donations, that is)

Facebook users in the U.S. will soon start seeing notifications when area blood centers are in need of donations. The newly expanded Facebook Blood Donation tool mixes alerts with details on where to donate, along with how to invite…
Social Media

Need a new Identity? Here's how to change your name on Facebook

There comes a time when everyone must change their online name for one reason or another. Check out our quick guide on how to change your name on Facebook in under five minutes without all the expected fuss or digital hoops to jump through.
Social Media

Will this deepfake of a power-hungry Zuckerberg make Facebook rethink fake news?

Just how committed is Facebook to earlier statements on leaving deepfake videos intact but demoted? A fake video of Mark Zuckerberg proclaiming power over your data has lasted for four days on the platform.
Social Media

Here's how to link your Instagram, Facebook accounts for social syncing

Instagram and Facebook go hand in hand. Here's how you can make the most of the superior integration offered by the two social media behemoths, which should help your pics gain more exposure in the long run.
Social Media

These are the best ways to make your own animated GIF to share

Love sharing GIFs with your friends and peers, but wish you could make your own? Here's how to do so in Photoshop, or using a few other methods that don't require you to shell out a premium fee with each calendar year.
Social Media

Facebook will pay to spy on you, but you can make more money elsewhere

Facebook's new Study app will track how you use your phone and provide that data to the social media giant. The company will even pay you for it — but likely not very much, especially compared to the market rate for your personal…
Social Media

Zuckerberg may have known more about Facebook’s privacy scandal than we thought

In the midst of an ongoing investigation into Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, a new report suggests that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have known about the company's much-criticized approach to privacy.

Bored with your Snapchat username? Here's how to change it

We've all been there. You're setting up a new account and just type in whatever pops into your head as a username. Then, later on, you realize that was a mistake. Here's how to change your Snapchat username.

Get together with your buddies, talk, and play games with Snapchat's group chat

You can get your friends together for a good time, even if they are hundreds of miles away, by starting up a group chat on Snapchat. Here's how to make a group chat on Snapchat and get the party started.

Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at E3 that the infotainment screens will support YouTube video streaming very soon. This most likely lines up with the latest software update that is expected later this year.
Social Media

Instagram is back up after being offline. Here’s the latest on the outage

Instagram finally came back online Thursday afternoon after an outage that lasted just over an hour. The Instagram outage was one of several that hit at the same time, including a several-hour failure at the PlayStation Network.
Social Media

Facebook’s comment-ranking system aimed at taming the dumpster fire

Even by the standards of the internet, Facebook comments are famously awful. Now Facebook is introducing a new comment ranking system to attempt to tackle this problem by promoting quality comments and hiding low quality ones.

Adobe concocts an A.I. that can detect — and reverse — manipulated photos

The company behind the software that's often used to manipulate photographs may help make it easy to spot a fake photo. Researchers at Adobe recently created an artificially intelligent program that can recognize fake photos of faces.
Social Media

Kim Kardashian can get a deepfake taken off YouTube. It’s much harder for you

YouTube took down an incredibly realistic — and fake — video purporting to show Kim Kardashian West discussing a shadowy organization called “Spectre” and mocking her fans for violating copyright.