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How Blizzard Uses NDI and SRT for Cloud-based Esports Production

Learn more about NDI and SRT at Streaming Media East 2022.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Corey Smith: From the onset of COVID, everybody had to flip the script on trying to figure out how to keep their live production happening. A lot of what we did was try to figure out, what are the right high-quality protocols that we should be gravitating towards? There's all kinds of decision points that have to be made throughout the course of the show. And how do we connect all the components of that show together in a cohesive manner?

So we used a lot of NDI in our cloud-based production workflow to basically tie everything together because we could get high-quality, high-bitrate transport amongst all of the kind of core components in our AWS workflow, between graphics and replay, the actual main switchers, our master control environment, the ability to take and shim singular graphics into that, whether it was virtualized Viz Trio in the cloud.

And we basically surrounded it with this NDI workflow that allowed us to do scan-convert from player PCs, sitting in the cloud. We call 'em observer cameras, but essentially they're the virtual camera that flies through the map that kind of tracks the action during the course of an esports match. We were using a lot of Parsec to log into these machines. So we weren't have having to deal with local internet issues, but NDI was the main feed into a lot of our production switchers for this particular purpose. We use SRT for more or less the lightweight contribution that we brought casters and other desk talent into our live production workflow environment, converting it to NDI as it came through as it hit the switcher.

So we looked at it as, NDI is great when you're on a local area network provisioned environment, like you would be in a physical studio somewhere, but also SRT gave us the ability to do low-latency light lift in high quality for people in their houses and bedrooms and apartments all over the place when the ISPs that they have at their house is really geared towards a consumption model and not necessarily a contribution model, so that you may have 200 megs down, but you only have 15 up.

So how do you get that contribution out? We couldn't have done that with NDI anyway, at least with NDI 4. NDI 6 opens up the boundaries for us to actually do WAN routing, and potentially compete again with some of the Sienna-type software that's out there today that allows us to go from cloud to cloud or from ground-based productions to cloud to do some of that contribution in workflow management.

But we see NDI and SRT as two different protocols for two different use cases entirely. So it's hard to come up with analogy for that when NDI is your core infrastructure and SRT is on the outside, allowing you to do high-quality contribution.

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