Asked to provide content to target the Arabic speaking gaming market, the Dubai based gaming and esports agency PLG implements a Virtual Studio Solution with Blackmagic Design.
The leading gaming and esports agency in the Middle East and North Africa. PLG (which stands for Power League Gaming) works with global consumer brands across fashion, food and retail that are looking to target youth audiences through branded content to evolve community engagement. As Virtual Production becomes more common and continues to reveal how workflows can be optimized with all the new technology made available, PLG wanted to build a virtual studio adapted to its needs now and in the future, and Blackmagic Design had the solution they wanted.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in content creation, with brands turning to us to target the Arabic speaking gaming market in particular through game launches and activations, talk shows and sponsored competitions,” explains Arnor Jonsson, product and production director, PLG. “Content for these channels has to be fresh and engaging, so we required an agile solution that could support our growing client roster and their production needs.”
The studio’s audio, video and graphics solution, which was delivered with the support of systems integrator UBMS, which also provided product training and workflow consultancy, is designed around the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 camera and ATEM Constellation 8K live production switcher. PLG’s 10,000 square meter facility houses a flexible virtual studio with multiple green screen and presenter stages, which allows an incredibly quick turnaround between productions.
Environments created with Unreal Engine
Action in the studio is captured on multiple URSA Broadcast G2s, each equipped with a Blackmagic URSA Studio Viewfinder, and the live signals are fed over SDI into virtual environments created with Unreal Engine. “It’s imperative that live and virtual content are stitched together seamlessly in these content packages; both the brands and the gamers watching expect the highest production values,” Jonsson continues.
“For a recent competition we designed a dynamic environment based on the game that players were battling in and placed our presenters and the commentary desk into the heart of the event, all in real time,” he adds. “Footage from the studio had to be crisp, with plenty of detail to maintain the authenticity of the presenting team’s segments within the game.”
The ATEM Constellation 8K with ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel form the hub of the production gallery, allowing the PLG team to handle sources in multiple formats, as well as delivering multilayered live mixes which incorporate gameplay, statistics, studio content and remote feeds from players across the region. The team also relies upon the switcher’s multiple M/Es to reduce latency while the inbuilt chroma keyer is used to further blend the studio elements into the virtual environment.
Virtual studio allows for an incredible work rate
“In order to create exciting shows that give audiences the full gameplay experience we rely on features such as SuperSource, which helps us bring lots of elements onto the screen simultaneously,” Jonsson explains. “Blackmagic’s DeckLink I/O cards are also a huge element in our content design, providing the foundation for overlays and bespoke brand components for our clients.”
Since its launch, the studio has been in almost constant use, with Jonsson revealing that its flexibility in both the live and virtual components has facilitated an incredible work rate.
“The solution’s modular nature has dramatically simplified how we transition from one production to the next, making it easy to reset studio acquisition for the next show, and then we can quickly upload the graphics and backdrops needed,” he concludes. “Major brands already know that the future for their marketing lies in online and gaming platform content, and our facility gives us a huge advantage, not only in terms of speed but also in broadcast grade production values.”
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