Fortress Tools Up with Marshall POV Cameras
Fortress Melbourne employs Marshall miniature POV cameras for immersive eSports action.
Fortress Melbourne is a gaming and eSports mecca. The 2700+ sqm venue is not only a recreational gaming and entertainment centre, but hosts major live esports tournaments and international playoffs that are streamed online to global audiences.
The Alienware Arena is the bespoke Fortress venue for eSport tournaments. It’s the biggest and best-equipped permanent arena of its type south of the equator and boasts a high level of AV and broadcast production.
A tournament sees the Alienware Arena in full party mode. The in-room audience fills the 220-capacity grandstand and the fully-stocked bar. All eyes are on the (up to 10) on-stage PC pods where the athletes compete. The production booth is abuzz. Two or three ‘casters’ provide the livestream Twitch commentary. A lighting operator controls the complement of conventional and moving lights. They’ll be joined by a replay operator and audio operator, a video switcher and, depending on the tournament, a show director/producer. Unique to eSports is the participation of ‘observers’, who move about in the virtual environment providing alternative game vision from their perspective. The eSports athletes are operating on state-of-the-art Alienware hardware and headsets, their every facial reaction captured by Marshall miniature point of view cameras.
“Unlike traditional sports, audiences have an expectation they’ll see the player at the same time as they see their action,” explains Fortress Production Coordinator, Chris Stewart. “They’re looking for the player PIP [picture in picture] while they’re watching the game from that player’s perspective.
“Marshall cameras are ideally suited to the task. They’re small — they don’t take up any real estate and have no impact on the player’s gameplay experience. They send us a near zero latency signal to our switcher, so we can display the action live on our huge 9m x 3m LED screen without any jarring latency.”
The CV506 cameras send synchronous SDI and HDMI HD video, they have excellent low-light performance and offer a variety of lenses and mounts to get the ideal shot.
“There’s no perfect place for the Marshall POV camera,” according to Chris Stewart. “Some players have their noses up against the screen, others sit back. The Marshall cameras are flexible enough in their mounting to get the shot we need.”
The Marshall cameras proved their flexibility when given the task of capturing vision for a Catan tournament. Celebrating Fortress’s motto of being ‘for all gamers’, the state-level board game championship was a surprise hit with participants and audiences alike. Using one of the Marshall CV506 cameras to provide the bird’s eye view of the board was an obvious application but Chris Stewart and his team decided to throw a little more artillery at the broadcast feed.
“We took four of our Marshall cameras and set them up to capture the players’ faces,” explains Chris Stewart. “The trades and conversations are really important to the game and the Marshall cameras allowed us to grab that content without the players feeling like they were ‘on camera’ — it helped take viewers right into the machinations of the board game.”
The Catan tournament may not have melted the internet, nonetheless it surprised and delighted audiences, including senior Australian Twitch staff, who were enthusiastic consumers of the feed. Doubtlessly there will be more board game tournaments and Chris Stewart is already thinking about how else the Marshall cameras can be best employed: “A lot like poker broadcasts, we’re looking at using our Marshall cameras to ‘look’ up through a glass table, or use one of Marshall’s mini PTZ mounts to get further control and POV options.” Game on!
Corsair Solutions (Marshall): (03) 9005 9861 or corsairsolutions.com.au