Ross Video: Elevating the esports broadcast production game

Live event and video production company Ross Video delved into the topic of esports broadcasting for Esport Insider’s sister brand, The Esports Journal, in its latest edition. The firm goes in-depth on the intricacies of esports production and the importance of having the right kit available during broadcasts.


Image credit: Ross Video

“Gold has the look.” “OK, bring it in, 3-2-1, cut Gold.”

Veteran sports producers and production teams have heard back-and-forths like this in control rooms and trucks throughout their careers. Certain actions almost become second nature, and crews that have worked together on the NFL, EPL, NBA, and similar sports will be able to produce amazing shows full of compelling stories, all through the smart use of replay, graphics and camera work.

They have it easy.

In esports, the challenges extend well beyond using 20-something cameras to pick up the action and tell stories. Sure, we can get action and reaction from teams as they win or lose on the stage, but the real action is happening in-game. Sometimes it’s hard for seasoned gamers to catch the key moments, and we rely on great work from casters on comms to give us the details of the strategies and plays that make the difference.

Telling these stories is a huge challenge. Added to that, the majority of esports production teams are made up of a combination of a few old TV guys and then a host of gamers. When someone yells, “Give me Coldzera’s molly defence at Banana, cross rolled into Fer’s 4k at B” across the gallery at a crucial moment, even a replay team with 20 years of experience running top-end football or hockey won’t have a clue what shots to hit.

This is why an esports production gallery really needs to have the gamers deeply involved in the production itself. The tricky issue then becomes how to get gamers to understand the production side so that these two cultures can meet in the middle. The big question the esports community has been struggling with over the last few years is, “How can we produce a compelling show that works for fans and for casual viewers alike?” Fortunately, answers are now emerging.

Technology companies (like Ross Video) have all the kit necessary to enable esports content producers to create great shows, if you have the budget and the right skillset. However, we want to do more – providing tools that empower gamers to do things that would impress even the most experienced of high-end TV production crews, without needing the years of experience and sweat equity that goes with it.

That’s what we’ve done with DashBoard.

For a piece of software that comes at zero cost, it’s a game-changer for so many productions. DashBoard is essentially a complete SDK with a GUI builder that allows anyone to create customised interfaces for controlling a host of kit from Ross Video (and other manufacturers) from a single location in a super simplified and personalised way.

Image credit: Ross Video

Our customers have taken this software and gone to town with it. One great example directly related to esports is the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas.

This is a dashboard panel that Riley, then graphics operator at HyperX, used to manage incredibly complex big screen shows in the venue, while simultaneously firing inserts for the broadcast stream. You can see at a glance how easy it is to use.

Riley’s story is a great one. He had very little work experience, let alone live production experience, when he was hired at HyperX. Within no time, thanks to DashBoard and the Ross workflow, he was operating graphics for huge productions, even some that aired on cable networks in the US.

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The potential for this is limited only by your team’s imagination. As an example, we have several major sports venues and TV productions around the world that manage their shows with a team of one! That’s one person, sitting in front of a DashBoard panel operating the in-venue show and contributing to what’s going on the produced feed.

What we really want to see at Ross is smart and creative people using this technology to produce compelling shows (both in venues and on streams) and elevate the production value of esports content, bring it up to and beyond what we see in traditional sports.

This article first appeared in Edition 7 of The Esports Journal.

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