Friday, October 27, 2017

Live Streaming Matches? Thoughts and Possibilities

Happy October!

There's so much going on this season, my goodness.  There's also so much I want to talk about.  Between all of the regular filming, and the meeting and training of new & upcoming local wrestlers, and preparations for the big November 18 live filming event, and... I'll just stop now before I run off course before I've even begun.  But these things are all related to the idea of this post.

As some of you know, last year we had started doing periodic live streaming webcasts for our Doom Menagerie youtube channel (for interviews and chat, link here: Doom Menagerie youtube).  The discovery of youtube's basic Live Streaming feature led us to having some live streaming talk shows, often involving guests who were either on set in person or tele-commuting in from other parts of the world.

As a result of doing that, we acquired a reasonably good quality webcam and microphone.  However, over the course of the year, we never really did much with these items, aside from the simple, relatively infrequent, and often-impromptu talk shows.

Until recently.

Enter the Live Streaming Match Possibility.

A recent custom request for a live streaming competitive match brought this possibility into reality.

I'd pondered the idea of live streaming matches before, but I'd never quite had the impetus to really put serious go-power into it.  We once tried a crude live stream of a match, just because.  But it was ad hoc, we hadn't meant it as a serious thing, and the stream only showed a stationary behind-the-scenes view of a regular filming session (so, I, as "real" camera operator, was blocking a lot of what the webcam saw).  So the concept went onto the back burner.

But an actual request for a live stream match changed things.

For this, we took care to set up the webcam at the best angle for viewing the action.  We did not have a separate camera operator on the mats.  Everything was set up specifically for the webcam live viewing experience.  It was a live show.  No stops, no need for editing or piecing together, all in the moment.

And it worked out really well!

I'd definitely love to do this again.  (note, the match was also recorded for the client on a separate camera, which was also stationary and provided a similar view, though with a slightly different angle)

More Live Streaming Matches?

I'd really be down for doing more live streaming matches.  VeVe and Hanz are also keen on the idea as well.  In fact, they were kind enough to do a vlog entry about it yesterday (linked below).

We've even been discussing live streaming possibilities for our upcoming November 18 Live Filming Event, which is full of competitive F/F matches (here "Live" means with live audience of viewers present in the studio).  Of course, there are things to be considered there:

1. What does the webcam see?

We'll definitely be recording the matches with a moving, on-mat camera operator (myself), who will be running the usual video camera.  Assuming the webcam remains stationary, for least disturbance, it will see the camera operator as well as the action, and webcam views of the action might possibly become obstructed at times.

Nonetheless, the webcam would be positioned for best view of the mats, but I still think stationary is the best way for that thing, for now.

2. Run webcam between cuts.

The webcam would essentially get the experience that the in-studio audience would be getting.  So, when the regular recording camera cuts off as competitors are shifting around, moving from interview position to fight position, getting ready, etc, the webcam would still be running.

Hanz mentioned that he liked that behind-the-scenes aspect.  The "fly on the wall" experience, as he said.  But, really, it is a virtual in-studio audience experience.  Except you can't see what is outside of the camera's frame, unless someone turns the thing for you.

3. Interactivity?

Wouldn't it be neat if webcam viewing audiences could interact during the course of the event?  Or would it?  They could comment on the action during breaks, ask questions to each other, or possibly to the webcam system operator?  I'm not imagining comments during the action, really, lest something be missed.  But, say, during the breaks between rounds: "Did you see that last submission?  What was that move called?"  "I can't believe she actually pulled that off." "Has anyone seen her do that move before? Did that come out of nowhere?"

4. Live, in real time

It's like going to a show together, even when you live somewhere far away.  Is this a cool aspect?  Do people like that aspect of "live" in real time?  It's exciting, but can also be a little nerve-wrecking.  There's no way of knowing for sure what will happen.

5. Platform?

It remains to be seen what the best platform for broadcasting this sort of endeavor may be.  We also don't want to have issues with losing the stream, technical difficulties.  I'm not extremely high-tech, and we are often operating over wireless networks, so it's no high-end stream production like they may do with a UFC broadcast!

Hanz seems full of thoughts and ideas of the tech end, so I am inclined to defer to him in this area.

6. And more?

What more?  Does this sort of thing interest people?  It is certainly easy to do on a small scale, especially for a single viewer or small web audience. It's easy to coordinate a small audience or single viewer, to make sure everyone arrives on time.

Anyway, ok, just putting this out there.  Again, this would not replace the regular filming, but rather would be a potentially fun supplement.  I'm curious as to whether anyone feels strongly about this or has thoughts on the matter.

As always, you can e-mail us here:

Or find us on Twitter:

And now, as promised, here is the mini vlog of little thoughts from VeVe and Hanz on the subject: