Saturday, July 14, 2012

Livestreaming Worlds Part III

If you can read upwards from the bottom and/or scroll down you'll hopefully figure out the ordering here. We are watching Worlds live on the internet at 1:30am and currently waiting for the final game: USA vs Great Britain in the Open division. Watching on NexGen's high quality, well-packaged broadcast. But what can they do better?

First, the stream is very good. The camera work is solid. The replays are there. The graphics are quality. The feed-switching is very good -- all the things that make a broadcast invisibly awesome are finally in place thanks to NexGen (and maybe Tushar, dear friend?)

So now we come to the section I can opine on: the announcers.

First, game announcing is not easy, that has to be evident by now. If you're a fool go up there one day and try it. You'll be hated, first, and you will probably be terrible at it. It takes a mix of public speaking, phrase-finding, name-pronouncing and impeccable timing to make it right and all of that is hard to do.

Also you probably shouldn't be playing at the same tournament you're commentating on. Although it can be a plus, I found out the hard way in Prague when I went straight from playing in a 5th place game (we won) to the broadcast booth for the finals of Open and Women.

There's two things every announcer needs to do, at least two things. I learned this the hard way of course. An announcer needs to do homework and an announcer absolutely has to get names right.

Names names names. That player going for that disc isn't "Canada" or "Red hat, Japan". That player has a name. And you should know it.

When Revolver won Worlds I knew maybe 2/3rds of the players, just from being in the scene so long. Same with their opponent, Sockeye. But the names and faces I butchered I was deservedly butchered for.

It's not easy -- 25 person rosters. Several games you have to cover. Players look alike. Numbers are hard to read when you're in stands far away from the field. That year the women's final was UNO from Japan versus Fury from San Francisco. I was handed a sheet with names and numbers of both teams about 20 minutes before the game started. I couldn't properly pronounce half of the Japanese names so I relied on a Japanese speaking cohort for that. On the Fury side they wore white uniforms with gold lettering. I never, ever saw a number and only could identify players I didn't know by sight when watching a monitor with the replays.

Lesson here: no excuses. An announcer can't blame the uniforms or the unfamiliarity of a foreign team. Hard fact.

Listening to Lou Burruss and Chase Sparling-Beckley they figured out this lesson, Lou especially. His Japanese name-pronunciations are butter smooth and he's always on the case both quickly and accurately IDing players. Grade for Lou here is an A.

Bryan Jones and Mario O'Brien in the Canada-Australia mixed final were very disappointing in this regard. I like both of those guys as announcers. But they've been in Japan for a week now? They don't have the excuse of having to compete with a team. I believe they are there solely as broadcasters. Not only that but they get the cherriest of cherry teams with names to pronounce and identities in two duchies of the Queen of England. And they can really only get to 70-75% accuracy? Not great.

But also not entirely their fault. One of the next steps for NexGen? Spotters and statisticians. Maybe they have them in Japan right now? Maybe not.

Open final is starting up so Part IV next and last.

No comments:

Post a Comment