FutureSport 2018: Bringing the highest standard of live production into the eSports arena
At the heart of the biggest eSports tournaments, EVS understands that producers cannot output a programme that’s anything less than the highest quality. The company works closely with major production companies to define new workflows that will take eSports programming to the next level.
Based on real world use cases, EVS account manager DACH Jens Fischer presented the 10-minute Sponsor Case Study at FutureSport, telling the audience how to increase eSports storytelling for fans while helping to reduce production costa.
“I take care of the global eSports market at EVS,” said Fischer. “So what is eSports? When you have at least two people playing a computer game at a competitive level, that’s eSports.
“There are many sport simulation games now, and we see the federations stepping into this market quite quickly. eSports is a global market: if you want to get into it you should know all the global brands and how they are all connected together. It’s quite common for example that a UK project is produced by a company from Taiwan, or an Australian project is produced by a UK company,” said Fischer.
Looking at the specific challenges posed by this production marketplace Fischer said, “we are always at the forefront of technology. In eSports we always talk about 1080p 60 – that 60 is the minimum you have to produce. Otherwise you will earn a shit-storm on social media!
“Most of our customers are already producing on 4K as well. You have to deal with multi-layered key fill alpha masks; it’s quite complex to produce the correct layers and correct masks for different games. And you have to adapt the technical set up for all the different games, again and again.
“You also have to deal with non-broadcast connections and standards; just think about 60 Hz coming out of a gaming PC and 59.94. That’s still an issue for us,” he said.
“You have to have super-fast and super-complex social media integration. Our partners have to provide content for 25 or 30 different platforms at the same time, in real time. We build solutions to get content out of the venue to social media in less than a minute.
“It’s quite common now that our partners produce six or seven nationalised programmes directly in
the venue – and of course in that situation it’s important to keep op-ex in balance. We’re also seeing more complex branding situations now, with all the big brands such as Vodafone, Mercedes Benz and Gillette, coming into the market.
“Imagine you have 80 different football players on the pitch and you, as a director, have to select the most important story. You understand how complex it can be.
“But our mission at EVS is to enhance the storytelling,” said Fischer. “That’s why we have developed, together with our friends from ESL, the first in-game replay solution. Where should I look, to understand the story behind that strategy or behind that shot?
“Of course we want to streamline the productions. When I started work in eSports it was common to have more than 20 people in the gallery. They used freeware or cheapware solutions, which was fine, but it was not efficient because one operator did only one job. Now we have between eight and twelve people, and we have a much higher output in the venue.
“We also help our customers to find new ways of sponsorship, inside the venue. Think about micropayments: all the kids are primed to pay a dollar or two on Twitch streams or YouTube gaming these days.
“And of course we design global workflows. We can restore content in real time from one game in one country to another, providing the content to an expert in the venue so they can talk about it on air,” said Fischer.