Global esports media network BLAST TV has selected EVS’ VIA and Media Infrastructure solutions as the backbone of its new esports production flypack.
The mobile solution is designed so that BLAST TV can produce its own live gaming events in-house. With the Covid-19 lockdown impacting mass gatherings, the flexibility of the EVS live production workflow is enabling the esports giant to put on online-only events instead.
The first of these events was the BLAST Premier Fall Series that ran from 26 October to 4 November and featured the world’s elite-level Counter Strike teams. Live coverage was distributed via various OTT and linear TV channels including Twitch and YouTube, as well as broadcasters such as TV 2 Denmark and TV 2 Norway. It was followed by the next stage being the BLAST Premier Fall Showdown, which was held last week. The Blast Premier Final competition then takes place in December.
Powering coverage of all BLAST TV Premier tournaments’ live-action is EVS’ XT-VIA and XS-VIA production servers, designed to meet the most demanding live broadcast requirements. The XT-VIA servers will deliver the power required for BLAST TV to record and produce live replays and highlights from the players and observers, while the XS-VIA servers provide ingest and delayed playout of the TX feeds for betting requirements. The turnkey XT-VIA solution includes 36 Full HD 1080p channels recording all the player feeds and in-game action. EVS’ next-generation IP media sharing network is at the heart of the system, enabling faster, more efficient live media sharing and storytelling by all client users.
Overseeing this infrastructure is EVS Media Infrastructure’s broadcast control and monitoring system Cerebrum. Deployed by BLAST TV’s crew to configure and manage all SDI workflows within its production environment, the EVS system manages all devices in the flypack, including the router, multi-viewer, vision mixer and audio desk. Cerebrum also handles UMD and Tally for the entire system, including the XT-VIAs built-in multi-viewers. And it provides customisable panels that can be designed to BLAST TV’s specific needs with production configurations that allow to easily save and reload various types of events.
EVS’ all new IP-based replay and highlights system LSM-VIA will also extract maximum potential from the next generation XT-VIA servers to create super slow-motion in-game replays and support studio analysis. By providing direct access to all the content on the network, LSM-VIA will streamline BLAST TV’s workflows so that its crew can focus solely on delivering live storytelling with the highest production standards.
Delivering fast-paced esports content to live audiences is no easy feat, which is why the BLAST TV team opted to use EVS’ live production asset management (PAM) solution, featuring dynamic applications for live media content browsing, control, edit and playout. The team has also chosen EVS’ web browsing tool, which extends its capabilities to access, browse and select content regardless of location, as well as publish multiple in-game clips to their social media engaged fans. Part of the workflow’s speed is also due to certified integration with Adobe Premier Pro, allowing BLAST TV editors to instantly access clip elements made available by EVS’ Live PAM suite.
The backend resources of the EVS live PAM solution are hosted on EVS’ virtualisation platform, providing flexibility and agility in operating a scalable infrastructure and offering cost-savings on power and much needed rack space. The EVS solution also offers extended file exchange, backup and transcoding, which is more than convenient when publishing clips and highlights to Twitch and social media, and simplifies the transfer of content inside demanding esports environments.
“Our priority is delivering world-leading esports entertainment to our audience, in both pandemic and non-pandemic times, so partnering with a cutting-edge technology provider like EVS makes perfect sense,” said Andrew Haworth, director of operations & production at BLAST TV. “EVS’ approach to this project has been incredible, understanding our unique challenges and then working through detailed technical workflows to allow us to produce however we want and beyond.”
“BLAST TV was faced with a unique combination of challenges. These required it to adapt to new ways of producing large-scale live esports events while still providing the high level of quality and engagement its fans expect,” said Nicolas Bourdon, chief marketing officer at EVS. “Our high-end live production solutions along with our new range of control and monitoring tools raise BLAST’s operations to the next level with greater speed, control and flexibility.”