What went down in English production for Shanghai Major
Disclaimer: This is NOT an official statement, just my opinion and observations in English production for Shanghai Major.
My Job Scope
I was approached by KeyTV a week ago to come to the event as a translator. Their staff were entirely Chinese and I was to be the conduit to relay messages from the director to the English talent.
After the first BO3 broadcast, we realized that the time taken to translate messages from the director and to take cues from him was causing big delays and rocky transitions. Everyone was talking over me (I was the lowest tier in the hierarchy) during the broadcast. So from the 2nd bo3 onwards I had a much wider job scope:
- Run between analyst room and broadcast room to confirm names and sequence of analysts.
- Supervise editing of all CG (names of casters, analysts, next match team images, etc)
- Communicate with analysts and casters to do sound checks
- Take lead over ENTIRE production crew and cue transitions, switcher, highlights recorder (This involves monitoring and listening to the talent so I know when to change scenes)
If you have experience in production this is actually the role of a "director".
The equipment provided had a ton of issues and the initial date scheduled for rehearsal had to be cancelled. The first bo3 was actually broadcasted WITHOUT any prior rehearsals.
Production Key Issues
We can't predict tech faults, but I think it might have something to do with the equipment as well (not an expert on eq). When I needed to cut CG and change scenes at the SAME time, the switching board would have a slight freeze. Stream kept getting cuts because the 2 stream output PCs came down with blue screens often.
Of course, there was human error. When you go without sleep for many consecutive days and there's no change in shifts for breaks, fatigue sets in. Switcher might press the wrong button, wrong scene. The guy selecting the CG had ZERO English proficiency and he often selected the wrong name labels...
Chinese feed and Internet
We were not getting feed of player cams, and were told to cut to Chinese feed (apparently they have better equipment???) whenever they showed player cams. One issue was they only put on player cams for 1-3s which was too short a time for me to properly cut to. Hence, viewers might have seen 1s glimpses of players... Honestly LAN events are more fun to watch partially because of the player cams. The Chinese didn't seem to understand that player cams were good content.
China's Internet is not great. That's all I need to say about the Internet cuts.
Based on my own communication and observation of the Chinese work culture, they are more concerned with saving "face" than to admitting that they are wrong. Mostly delays happen because people are busy arguing about whose fault it is and not working together to figure out solutions. Communication was poor, relations were bad, and work attitude was BAD. (This is a general overview, obviously there are exceptions.
Nothing more to add about this matter except that he was a enjoyable host to work with. I know nothing about internal conflicts.
KeyTV was fired this morning (day 3). There was a huge scene where the director shouted and tore up papers and tried to grab stuff. He also insisted that I was hired by him and that I should leave with him immediately. With his "dying breath" he was still arguing that the broadcast being screwed wasn't his fault...
Anyway I am staying to help Valve and everyone else out for this event. Dota2 and the tournament is too important for me. Discussions on Reddit should be about great DOTA being played, not about production. It's sad that attention has shifted but hopefully things will start going uphill with a new production team coming in soon. Now let's prepare to watch some good games and forgive any production mistakes as we make a transition to a new team. ;)