How NewTek NDI IP Was Used to Cover eSports Minecraft Tournament
The evolution of video games and the growing interest in video game leagues has added another avenue where NewTek's NDI IP technology can make a presence. At last year's Insomnia 60, Digital Tree Media needed to support an interactive gaming center for those attending to play while also being broadcast and streamed live. Using NewTek's IP-Series production system the producers were able to improve their workflow limiting cable as well as be able to take media from any and all sources within the network. This made problem-solving easier than the traditional cable tracing that normally would come with an endeavor like this adding ease of mind for the production team. Seeing how this new integration was such an ease last year's Insomnia gaming festival, next year promises to be just as easy, if not more so.

The idea was that festival-goers could drop into the stand and play Minecraft with other players in a competitive, team-based environment, while esports commentators would provide running play-by-play and analysis. Influential YouTubers would also show up for meet-and-greets, and be hustled into the studio for on-camera interviews.

All this on-screen and on-camera activities then had to be mixed into a centralized program and streamed live; sending the programme to large displays throughout the stand and, via the Twitch social gaming video platform, to Digital Tree’s CubeCraft community. All in all that encompassed a 44-player video production, 4 PTZ camera sources, four backup gaming systems, and audio for the event that was due to last four days.

Digital Tree decided to use the NewTek IP-Series production system partly because it meant that producers could access any enabled source located on the LAN without requiring a direct hardware input. Switching itself was centralized on the IP-Series’ two VMC1 Video Mix Engines. Using both Video Mix Engines, the entire show could be controlled by one operator per 45-minute segment. Digital Tree also added a VMC1 4S control surface, NewTek’s four-stripe control panel connected over-the-network as the operator interface, capable of mixing sources from both.

However, since Newtek’s NDI protocol efficiently optimizes video bandwidth on standard Ethernet networks, in the end they managed to used two 1Gb connections to link into the IP Series, and one 1Gb connection for each of the desktop systems.

The last thing that had to be sorted out, and sorted out quite urgently, was a way to grab the full-screen output of the Minecraft desktops, showing each player’s POV during gameplay. This was achieved using the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) utility, which is used in the gaming industry by thousands of players to capture their games for streaming. Its community members wrote a plugin for OBS to be able to send video game output over the network via NDI, making it available like any other source to the IP Series.

This was invaluable. “Because of the support of NDI within the development community, our potentially show-stopping hurdle took only 20 minutes to fix,” comments Digital Tree CEO, John Coles....[continue reading]

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