An important part of any live broadcast is providing useful, on-screen graphics to provide the audience with real time information. When you watch the news or a sporting event on TV, there are always live graphics supplementing the action. These can be as simple as name cards introducing the on-air talent, or it can be as complex as specific data relating to a particular player on the field. We've been exploring this concept for esports broadcasts, much has the rest of the esports production industry.
For our events, specifically Mario Kart League, we've turned to NewBlueFX (one of our partners listed on the website) for their incredible software tool, Captivate (formerly Titler Live). Captivate is a powerful software solution for designing and presenting live graphics for broadcasts.
Check out this case study we did with NewBlueFX:
For our Mario Kart League, we regularly use Captivate to create graphics for:
Lower Thirds (small ribbons at the bottom of the screen with our caster names)
Full Screen gfx displaying player lobby assignments
Full Screen gfx displaying results and points
To achieve smooth graphics workflows, we connect Captivate to an Excel spreadsheet where all of the data for the broadcast is kept. This includes player listings for lobbies and points. Excel has powerful data manipulation tools allowing us to let Excel handle all of the calculations and format the spreadsheet automatically so Captivate can read it and extract data for real-time presentation.
For our lobby assignments graphic, we have 1 layout (the base graphic with no text) that contains the background image and variable text boxes that get automatically populated with data from the Excel spreadsheet.
To take the live graphics feed out of Captivate, we can use a few methods. When Captivate is running on the same computer that OBS is running on, we use NDI (a network video technology from NewTek). Captivate natively supports NDI, and with a free plugin for OBS, we can send the feed directly from one program to another. In a situation where we are running a separate computer for graphics from the streaming solution (whether being software or hardware), we output the graphics feed using a Blackmagic Design Ultrastudio HD Mini, which outputs the graphics feed over SDI.
We look forward to expanding our graphics capabilities in the future as we learn to adapt to Captivate. Having real-time, professional graphics provides a massive bump to production value - helping to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.