Blackmagic Design technology powers live production at Manila Major eSports championships
Live production at this year’s Manila Major, one of the most significant gaming championships in eSports, was delivered using a live solution built around Blackmagic Design products. Each of the four production hubs featured an ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switcher for localised production, while a centralised switcher and Smart Videohub 40×40 were used to bring the action together. Signal management was monitored and standardised using the Blackmagic MultiView 16 and Teranex Express.
The six-day tournament, which saw 16 elite eSports teams battling for a $3,000,000 prize pot, was produced by PGLeSports and takes place at the Mall of Asia Arena, with thousands of spectators at the venue and many more watching sports channels or online.
The scale of production at the event is huge, with 28 cameras and dozens of computer screens in action at any one time, so the PGL team developed a solution that split the video production into several hubs, including delivering in game content, or capturing player and commentator reactions, with content from each hub being produced through an ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K.
Vlad Petrescu, head of broadcast for PGL explains that the ATEM’s creative features are integral to the way in which the team helps fans follow the multiple storylines unfolding through the various battles on screen. “As well as traditional picture in picture effects, we also created a ‘Tri Lane Cam’, with two screen wipes alongside the main camera shot, so fans could follow the three paths in the game simultaneously.”
Signals were also combined with PGL’s own graphic production, which used DeckLink capture cards for player statistics and scoring overlays. All camera, computer and CGI inputs were standardised using Teranex Express processors to PGL’s default 720p5994 format, before being taken into a central video router.
Signal monitoring was managed with a package of Blackmagic hardware including SmartView HD preview monitors, Blackmagic Audio Monitor and three MultiView 16. “Blackmagic’s MultiView 16 is a crucial element in delivering onstage coverage of the players; we couldn’t monitor ten player cameras and ingest all of the various live graphics feeds via the ATEM alone. Having separate hardware multiviewers made monitoring all of that action a lot less painful,” explains Vlad.
The final live program mix was screened throughout the arena on four 16x9m large scale LED screens and streamed out to a global audience through Twitch.tv and mainstream broadcasters including TV5 in Manila and VIASAT in Poland.
“Capturing those special plays that differentiate a great player from a casual one, and complementing this with the live audience reactions is so important,” concludes Vlad. “Achieving this in eSports is far more complex than in traditional sports broadcasting. Blackmagic’s hardware has allowed us to develop a very robust solution for live production, but in a way that is really easy to operate in a highly pressurized live environment.”