Blackmagic at the Manila Major
PHILIPPINES: A live production solution built around systems from Blackmagic Design was implemented at the recent Manila Major, one of the largest eSports tournaments in the world. The championships last for six days and were staged at the Mall of Asia Arena by PGL eSports, with thousands of spectators in attendance to see which of the 16 teams would win the $3,000,000 prize, while many more were watching online.
With simultaneous live feeds from 28 cameras and several dozen computers, the production needs for the event were huge, so the team from PGL split the video production between four separate hubs. An Atem 2 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switcher was deployed in each for the four production hubs, catering for the localised production, including the delivery of in game content and player and commentator reactions.
‘Capturing those special plays that differentiate a great player from a casual one, and complementing this with the live audience reactions is so important,’ explained Vlad Petrescu, PGL’s head of broadcast. ‘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 pressurised live environment.’
A Smart Videohub 40x40 and a centralised switcher were then used to bring the feeds together, while a Blackmagic MultiView 16 and Teranex Express monitored and standardised the signal management. ‘Blackmagic’s MultiView 16 is a crucial element in delivering onstage coverage of the players; we couldn’t monitor 10 player cameras and ingest all of the various live graphics feeds via the Atem alone,’ added Mr Petrescu. ‘Having separate hardware multiviewers made monitoring all of that action a lot less painful.’
PGL also combined the signal with its own production graphics, utilising DeckLink capture cards to display players’ stats and scores and the Teranex Express processors formatted the camera, computer and CGI inputs, sending them to a central video router. ‘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,’ recalled Mr Petrescu.
The programme mix was the streamed to four large 16m x 9m LED screens around the arena, in addition to those watching around the world on Twitch.tv, as well as through traditional broadcasters such as Manila’s TV5 and ViaSat in Poland.