Live production media is very much an iceberg scenario — what you actually see on your computer screen, or television is only the very tip of the hundreds, if not thousands of moving pieces and processes that it took to get a polished forward-facing product to the people tuning in. That’s what makes the Rogue Invitational production from this past weekend so impressive when you consider the scope of work needed to pull it off.
There were at least 40 camera feeds incoming to the main feed to be distributed out for the livestream throughout the weekend, including 35 completely independent athlete feeds, 4 feeds for the commentators, as well as feeds coming in from guests like “Coach B” Mike Burgener.
- Commentators were separated on different feeds which allowed them the flexibility to account for social distancing requirements while still having them in the same location for ease of workflow.
- Athlete feeds were standardized to an extent, including specific equipment layouts and camera angles, which from viewing experience made it much less jarring and easier to follow when the action switched between cameras.
- Athlete feed locations included Canada, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, and Australia, making the technical feat that much more impressive.
The visual storytelling was on point with classic live production elements as well as some new variations, that, independent of one another may not seem like a huge deal, but collectively made a drastic improvement on the quality of the product given the natural limitations of the format.
- A live scoring ticker at the top of the screen, otherwise known as a “hat,” for people inside “the biz,” included a universal synced clock for all athletes competing to standardize the timing element despite the multiple locations.
- A movement ticker that sat right above the live scoring denoted which movement in a particular event the main pack of athletes was tackling, which was particularly helpful in the chipper-style workout of event 5.
This also included new elements that — when considering some of the difficulties of hosting a live stream competition from multiple locations — were paramount to their visual storytelling and made the viewing experience much more approachable
- Animated athlete identifiers that were tied to their individual feeds were introduced and included the athlete’s name as well as their home country. With so many feeds potentially onscreen at once, it made identifying athletes in the middle of the madness of a workout much easier and predictable.
- A live progress tracker similar to the “boat race,” style tracker utilized during the marathon and half-marathon rows at the CrossFit Games was included on-screen alongside the individual feed of the event leader.
- The tracker also highlighted the lane of the leader, allowing viewers to track progress linearly similar to how they do during live competition when the floor layout is designed to flow
All of these elements help educate, train and create a more invested, intelligent fan in both the live-action scenarios that unfolded in front of them and the future events where historical knowledge and experience will keep bringing fans and viewers back for more.
One big thing: Perhaps almost as important as the “what,” is the “how,” when looking at the impact the Rogue Invitational’s technical prowess could have on the sport going forward. The competition in its entirety was done remotely — meaning that the control room, commentators and guests were completely separated geographically from the action while still maintaining quality. This lowers production cost and could provide a more accessible live media coverage option for events in the future.
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