Studio Invate - Case Studio


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online

Studio INVATE is a video company based in Bangkok, with an inventive reputation. Its public persona is everyday commercial work, such as producing highly creative videos, live broadcasts and commercials, for companies ranging from large industrial brands and retail businesses to educational institutions. But in between the studio and on-location work for clients, the company’s crew of 14 employees and a few dozen freelancers enjoy live-streaming video game tournaments.

In Southeast Asia, the growing gaming popularity is fueling Asia’s 44% contribution to the total global population of esports enthusiasts. According to Esports Media Hub, Thailand has over three million active esports participants, representing almost 5% of the country’s population.

Therefore, it’s a perfect market for Studio INVATE, where gaming is a passion for nearly the whole staff. “We play all genres of games and each of us has several years of experience in the game industry in Thailand and Southeast Asia,” notes Pachara Ruangrasameejantorn (Benz), the company’s co-founder.

Esports like any other sport

Studio INVATE’s public mission is to be a force behind transforming the esports industry in Thailand and this involves producing broadcasts so compelling that “audiences will watch game tournaments with the same level of excitement seen in sports tournaments.”

This doesn’t go unnoticed by the tournament producers of big-name gaming events. In recent months INVATE has produced Blizzard’s Hearthstone Major tournament in July at Pattaya Beach; the six-day GPL Summer, a professional League of Legends league tournament; and Garena RoV Major League, a Republic of Varrock tourney with a $150,000 prize pool.

Overall, the studio produces live stream broadcasts for 15 major esports tournaments every year, each with up to 40 gamers competing and up to 50,000 spectators viewing the live stream. The rest of the company’s weekends are filled too, with an additional 30 medium-sized and smaller esports events.

Studio INVATE has grown to become the largest production company specializing in esports in Thailand and they still have big growth plans.

Gaining Size and Power

INVATE have the desire to expand but face the limitations of SDI-only production in a computer-based world. As a result, Benz and his team knew they had to go with IP video production.

The team already use NewTek TriCaster 8000 integrated production system along with the NewTek 3Play 4800 replay solution for their live production services, but the requirements in esports production were changing quickly.

JM Lim, technical training specialist for NewTek Elite reseller-distributor Blonde Robot said “When you talk about esports, and covering these competitions in terms of game play, you could have 10 individual players or even 20.”
In other words, it’s not a field or court group sport where a separate camera isn’t required for each individual player at all times. In esports competitions, since anything can happen at any time, each player has coverage. “You need more camera angles involved in the production” says Lim, who worked with Studio INVATE on installation and training.

Blonde Robot director Eamon Drew adds “Switching live between real-world players and the actual game on a computer screen, without having to use scan converters – and without coming out HDMI, converting into SDI, and then going into the TriCaster” or any other switcher is a challenge. “With esports, the content is on a computer and playing out at 1080p 60f. Using NewTek’s NDI technology, the video coming over the network is already in the right format.”

Looking at the size of the typical tournament events INVATE produces, they calculated that they would need to switch among at least 24 hybrid IP/SDI feeds. For instance, “Twelve come from SDI sources such as the players’ POV cameras, the announcers’ fixed cameras, and the roaming action cameras. The rest are from computer sources, like the gaming screens of the players plus graphics and effects, which we make high-end, similar to live sports,” says Studio INVATE’s Benz.

NewTek Mark II

In order to hit that 20+ input requirement, with most sources coming in over IP, Benz and his team selected a NewTek IP Series including a Video Mix Engine VMC1 (which can switch up to 44 external inputs, from both SDI and IP sources) and a 4-stripe Control Panel.

In the first instance, INVATE expanded the VMC1 unit’s built-in SDI capacity with a NewTek NC1 SDI input units to achieve a total of 12 SDI inputs.

They then added a NewTek TimeWarp replay controller, so they could have an operator performing live replays during the tournaments and in post-game.

And once the complete system was installed, they customized the NewTek IP Series to maximize its advanced, built-in capabilities, and augmented it with the super abilities they needed for maximum creativity.

Developing Strength with SDK

“The people at Studio INVATE are really passionate,” says Blonde Robot’s JM Lim. “As soon as NewTek came out with NDI, they read up on everything the technology could do. Up until now, it has been unusual to see the creatives in a production house become developers, but they’ve become so familiar with NDI that they can develop any integration they need to happen.”

Benz gives two examples – graphics and tally, both over the network using NDI. “We use CasparCG. It’s open source so we’ve been able to make use of the full graphics engine and customize the CG application. NDI allows us to send both Key and Fill into IP Series easily without worrying about connecting more BNC cables, so we pull graphics into our IP workflow during game production.”

In addition, NewTek’s standard Tally over NDI can support up to 44 cameras and with the SDK INVATE can modify specific functionalities for their own use to integrate with the features of their existing Blackmagic cameras.

Building for Speed

The next stage was to upgrade the network. “Studio INVATE invested in a 10Gb network switch and wired everything for 10Gb,” says Lim. “They were obviously prepared to send everything around over IP.”

“We wanted to have a network that was fast enough to always be comfortable, with so many IP sources coming into the IP Series” Benz adds. “Having a lot of bandwidth lowers the possibility of any kinds of error on the LAN, which is important because we want to use IP video. We are sending gaming screens and graphics all around the network, we’re doing lots of fast and big productions, and we want the flexibility to configure anything during the show.”

Lightweight in Flight

However, when the company takes its show on the road to major events, some esports venues don’t have a high-speed network. It’s common for Studio INVATE to work with around 1Gb networks at large events. That’s when NDI’s efficient encoding and performance keeps the video moving, sending multiple ultra-low latency video streams simultaneously.

According to Benz, “NDI uses minimal CPU power from the gaming PCs that we’re passing to the IP Series, so we can flexibly send the picture, send the screen, send the camera through NDI. If we have a low bandwidth LAN, we can take the low-profile, low frame rate, and it still comes through with a high-quality picture.”

Creative Power

Creativity is critical to Studio INVATE and they extend every visual capability of the IP Series to its creative limits. Mix/Effects are one example. This is a palette of layerable visuals on which multiple switcher sources can be individually positioned, arranged and treated with special effects, resulting in its own composition or as its own unique source. IP Series has eight of them, each supporting four sources plus four key layers and Studio INVATE uses all eight.

Benz explains, “We have to. Because esports is now so popular in Asia, the competitions are like a mix of sports and entertainment. The live events have high energy music, with the light and sounds.”

INVATE heighten the visuals further with their customized implementation of the NDI SDK, using the CasparCG application to drive graphics, animations and titles. Each tournament requires its own unique look, meaning no two productions are the same.

Esports Momentum

Studio INVATE has mastered production problem-solving in live esports coverage through creativity and inventiveness, allowing it to stand apart in the expanding esports market in Southeast Asia.

Mr. Lak Taechawanchai, director for elite dealer and integrator, Imagine Technology Co., Ltd. in Bangkok who represented NewTek systems during Studio INVATE’s purchase concludes, “Studio INVATE use every function of their TriCaster 8000, and they are pushing to use every function of the IP Series as well. We were amazed to see them mix and match all possible options that we might not have explored before. This is what they would like to do with the NDI technology - use it all, to its full potential.”


Tags: iss129 | invate | newtek | tricaster 8000 | 3play | 4800 replay | blonde robot | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • NewTek at IBC 2015

    NewTek at IBC 2015

  • NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

    NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

  • NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

    NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

  • Newtek at BVE 2012

    Newtek at BVE 2012

  • BOXER showcase AJA, Newtek, Grass Valley, Qumulo, V-Nova and Telestream at BVE 2019

    BOXER showcase AJA, Newtek, Grass Valley, Qumulo, V-Nova and Telestream at BVE 2019

  • 3D Storm presents LiveXpert and NewTek products at IBC 2018

    3D Storm presents LiveXpert and NewTek products at IBC 2018

  • NDI and Newtek Products from 3D Storm at IBC 2017

    NDI and Newtek Products from 3D Storm at IBC 2017

  • NewTek at IBC 2016

    NewTek at IBC 2016

  • NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

    LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

  • Workflow Solutions from Pronology at NAB 2017

    Workflow Solutions from Pronology at NAB 2017

  • 3D Storm at IBC 2015

    3D Storm at IBC 2015


Related Shows
  • NewTek at BVE 2016

    NewTek at BVE 2016


Articles
The way forward in a changing world
Alan Wheable The broadcast and media industries are evolving in all areas to adapt to the challenges of competition from OTT, changing user viewing habits, technological advances in image resolution, dynamic range and colour rendition as well as embracing new video over IP infrastructures.
Tags: iss136 | omnitek | aims | ip | smpte | 2110 | 4k qc | ultra xr | nmos | ultra tq | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
BSC Expo 2019 Report
Paul MacKenzie BSC Expo returned to the Battersea Evolution on Friday February 1st and Saturday 2nd. It is a busy and friendly event though this year in need of some temperature control: exhibitors around the entrance area were uncomfortably aware of the wintry conditions outside and the main hall was in need of cooling.
Tags: iss136 | bsc | cinematography | canon | c700 | c200 | cartoni | holdan | blackmagic | peli | panasonic | sennheiser | sony | fs5 | teradek | viten | flowtech | Paul MacKenzie
Contributing Author Paul MacKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Flexible Connectivity Hits Europe
Yvonne Monterroso The low-latency Dejero CellSat network was launched in Europe in January of 2019, which is excellent news for European broadcasters who can now benefit from the same flexibility CellSat provides North American Dejero customers, such as World Racing Group (WRG).
Tags: iss136 | dejero | wrg | cellsat | ku sat | is-35e | cellular | Yvonne Monterroso
Contributing Author Yvonne Monterroso Click to read or download PDF
Keeping Your Post Prodction on Track with Subclips and Search Bins
Alex Macleod

For my 2nd Kit Plus article I thought I’d try and build on the theme of my first, and that’s one of making sure things are organised at all levels of your post production projects.

Last time I talked about trying as best as you can to stick to the ‘two week rule’, making sure that the names & locations of every asset you import, and every bin & sequence that you create in your project - will make sense to you regardless of how long it is you spend away from it.

Tags: iss136 | mediacity training | subclip | premiere pro | gvs | bve | bve2019 | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF
Sennheiser Memory Mic User Review
Dr Anthony Willman The Sennheiser Memory mic, adding to the new generation of semi-professional equipment that is helping the need for high quality audio in parallel markets that until now, did not have the budgets to achieve ‘great’ results.
Tags: iss136 | sennheiser | memory mic | doctor | audio recorder | Dr Anthony Willman
Contributing Author Dr Anthony Willman Click to read or download PDF