New player has entered the lobby. Good to see you on the scene again, MS.
On Wednesday, Netflix announced that Microsoft won the top prize in ad tech and will serve as the streamer’s global advertising technology and sales partner as the company builds a much-anticipated ad-supported tier, which could debut as early as the end of this year.
I come from a soccer family, you know, traditional sports. Everyone in my family is obsessed by the game. I tried to get into it. I even kinda get it, but I don’t share their obsession for the game. Sure, you’ll see me in a Belgian jersey when World or EU championships is on, and I have a preferred regional team. Hell, I even had a season ticket several years. But still: not even close to what for instance my father, uncle, sister and brother-in-law feel for that game.
The last 5 years I’ve been active in the entertainment industry. I got the chance to see how stories are written, productions are set up and magic is done. In a way there is a lot of the same thing going on: emotional, spectacle, awe, … But it was still a very different universe.
I’m a gamer, so naturally I’ve been keeping my eye on it for several years now, but given my background in entertainment I’m getting more and more excited about what’s going on there. To the point where I’m stalking colleagues and family about it who have no interest in gaming whatsoever. Because more traditional sports need to start paying attention if they want to know what the future looks like. Esports is challenging traditional sports coverage.
Let’s take the LEC, the EU main League Of Legends league by Riot. Not only is it a good example, it is a prime example. They took their cue from more traditional sports: they have a perfectly equipped studio and crew, expert team of analysts and casters and a perfect broadcasting setup. But then they go an extra few miles.
This is a song by the LEC. In it you see casters. As in the people who add commentary during a game. Do you see soccer casters do that? Oh, you did, once, huh? Well, they’ve been doing it for a while now, it’s not their first rodeo. Moreover: This was in anticipation of just. One. Game. True, it was probably THE game of the season, because a member of team Fnatic went to their biggest rival G2 and they were meeting up for the first time since then, but still… For one game. And besides being an awesome song soundwise, the lyrics have more layers than the biggest onion you’ve ever sliced and the production value of the video is… well, see for yourself, it’s good.
But it’s not just that. As a fan, there is just so much to engage with. All the teams, players, coaches, casters, hosts, analysts and staff have their own, very active, social media channels and are actually playing the game themselves in a lot of cases. The league’s discord is constantly buzzing and they even launched a game hidden in a virtual studio tour ( a mobile-only game, I might add). While you’re watching the games, you have a chance to find drops with exclusive in-game items. There’s a podcast, VOD, … I could go on. And the crew has a narrative of it’s own, making it very addictive to watch every minute. Mainly because they are that good at what they do and love doing it.
Now imagine the generation that is growing up with this as a standard form of sports entertainment and being asked by their parents to join them in experiencing the World Cup Soccer. What do you think they expect and what will they get?
It’s no wonder soccer teams all over the world are setting up their esports teams. Schalke 04’s team just made it to the play-offs. In League Of Legends, not FIFA 2021, btw. Because it scales. Whether you’re an LoL esporter or prefer FIFA, you just need hardware. You don’t need a soccer field and a basketball court. You do need a good crew per sport, but concerning infrastructure it’s a lot easier to handle.
2020 is coming to an end and over here in Belgium (but I guess everywhere) we’ll be celebrating Christmas and New Year in our little “bubble”. In short, this means us 4 won’t be spending the 25th over at my parent’s place together with my sister, her family and my grandma, and neither will we be going to a house for 20 people we rented with a bunch of friends ( I swear, we were so early in booking this time that we got a great house with a jacuzzi and… sigh). SO… an upgraded digital christmas party it is. Let’s get to work.
Let’s start with the easy part: getting connected.
We’ll be using Microsoft Teams since we have it at work, so we won’t be bothered by the 40min limit Zoom has. There are loads of alternatives of course, I’m guessing you won’t need help there. And neither will you need help on bringing the meeting to the big screen. Again: options ranging from Chromecast to just plugging in a HDMI cable (which is what we’ll be doing).
I wanted those watching us to have the best experience too. So I was figuring out how to use my Sony A7 iii and Rode VideoMic Pro+ in this setup. Turns out it’s actually quite easy: you just push the Mic in the Line in and you’re basically done since you can then select it in Teams. If, however, you don’t have a mic 3.5mm jack on your computer (like my Macbook Pro), you can get a USB solution that isn’t that expensive.
The video part is trickier.
Although Sony did put out a solution that worked out fine for me. It basically makes your camera available as a webcam in all solutions you can think of. But it didn’t work for me everywhere. And in that case you can still get it to work by using OBS. You might want to download the other Edge desktop software if the webcam isn’t working there either. That will allow you to use the Remote application as a capture window within OBS and start a Virtual Camera once you have that set up. That virtual camera should then be available, again in your meeting software of choice.
Oh, and for those wondering whether you can’t leave the Mic on the camera: no, the audio isn’t being put through.
But most importantly…
Have a warm Christmas and a good beginning in 2021. I know it’s common to say we best forget 2020, but I for one hope we learned a lot. I sure did. Oh, and show me how you upgraded your digital christmas party. I’m sure there are way crazier setups out there.
But let’s make 2021 memorable for other reasons, shall we?
However, the announcement has been met with widespread criticism from fans of the LEC. Just a few days ago the LEC had a pride focused broadcast, with talent wearing LGBTQ+ merchandise and colors, and the LEC logo being changed into pride colors. Now the league has signed a deal with NEOM, which will be based in Saudi Arabia, a county infamous for its draconian LGBTQ+ rights and laws.