KISS Super League race coverage


(Daren) #1

OK, the KISS Super League has had a few weeks to bed in now. It has had some teething problems in terms of sound sync, riders apparently having no idea what to do in a Zwift race, or just not bothering (Cofidis, I’m looking at you).

Overall it has been pretty good fun to watch, but the actual race coverage needs work.

In fact, I think in some way it has got worse. This week and last week for example, there were multiple times when the stream cut away from the action. Why? I think Nathan and Greg Leo are great, don’t get me wrong, but I came to watch a race. Not some talking heads.

This week was marginally better than last week because at least the racing got added (eventually) as a small PIP window. However, when watching in a window or on a phone, this leaves the racing itself hard to make out.

Leave the racing full screen and put the pundit in the PIP window. Or better still, just give us the audio.

Zwift Community Live do it better:

Given that’s an established format that works well, I don’t understand how Zwift’s official KSL production could screw this up.

Also, whoever is directing the stream needs to keep on top of the action. Last night we watched someone get swarmed very close to the finish. And the coverage lingered on that, meaning we missed the actual finish at the head of the race. This is inexcusable. We missed the start too, albeit by a matter of seconds.

At the least, there should be multiple Zwift accounts logged in and following different riders along with static cameras at fixed positions. It should be trivial to cut between feeds instantly, rather than relying on one person scrolling or clicking through the “Riders nearby” list. Cue it up off-stream, then cut to the appropriate camera.

It seems to me that’s something that should be pretty straightforward and obvious, despite me having no background in live sporting production. I know, armchair experts. :wink: But come on, you’ve $120m of new money to spend! :smiley:

Maybe there are technical limitations. But really, I’ve seen loads of Twitch streams do this stuff really well so I don’t think there are.

The Method (WoW guild) Twitch stream is an example.

As you can see from the video, the real action is on the main screen. The player is in an overlay in the corner (pretty much standard with streamers). The commentators/pundits are a voiceover, and that’s more than enough. The cuts between POVs are seamless (e.g. Gingi to Deepshades to Narcolies). Yes, it does cut back to the studio (they’re actually all in the same place), but that’s during downtime following a wipe; not in the middle of the fight.

Also, I’d say get shot of the standard UI. Build something designed for race coverage. We don’t need the ever-churning “Riders nearby” list I feel. We do need to get an idea of who’s in the group, and the gaps between groups, but those lists could be maybe less dynamic or presented in a different format. I’d still want to know when someone’s lighting it up at 15wkg for example!

Even better, provide a spectator client. i.e. not the full game, but a client we can use to “join” an event purely as a spectator, with a bunch of lovely tools to enable us to cover the action.

For example, let me put Bibby on F1, Kim Little on F2, Swift on F3 etc. so I can switch between people I am interested in trivially. That would also help the broadcast stream coverage of course.

I’m still really enjoying the Super League, but the coverage could be so much better, and that would make it all even more enjoyable.

That said: early days, I understand that.


(_) #2

I agree completely. I stopped watching.

It’s an MMO video game. When offering online race content it must be done at the highest level possible to advertise the game. The hardware is available, the different views are available, it can be done.

Why re-write the rules on cycling broadcasting? The giant heads and over enthusiastic commentary aren’t doing you any favors. It’s a Zwift race. Wait for the enthusiasm to come from the community until you start screaming on the broadcast. Until that happens, tone it down and be relaxed. When there’s real money on the line start to step it up.


(Daren) #3

This reminds me of another thing - throw some beefy ultra high fidelity 4K video rendering out. The game should look the absolute best it can be on the streams.


(_) #4

Give me 10k for hardware and Matt Stephens alone for the whole event and we will rock (or in the least improve) the next KISS event online. :wink:


(Roman Kuhn) #5

I like the idea of a spectator client or a portal where I can watch races in TV style. This could be done for selected events and I think would be great fun to watch. I am not an expert but I think it can’t be to hard to build it since everything is alread there (camera angles, etc.) just put some nice graphics there an an algorithm that switches between the action…
This would also be a great advertisement for Zwift!


(Daren) #6

Eric over at ZwiftInsider has written a smashing article (first of a series) covering various aspects of Zwift’s race coverage:


(Daren) #7

UI suggestion: Zwift could overlay a graphic along these lines that shows the major groups out on the road:

Of course, there’s no race leader as such, but it could also be used to pick out anyone noteworthy, or a riders in various teams.


(Daren) #8

Here’s a professional quality mockup :wink:

The timeline shows who’s in the front group, and the number of riders in chase groups. After several seconds, the graphic would update to show (some/all of) the riders in the subsequent groups.

Maybe the names are coloured to show who’s lighting it up.

Maybe the blobs could be like heatmaps of the average WKG in the group.

Or even what individual riders are doing…

image


(Mike Rowe) #9

I would love to see some live shots of the actual riders mixed in with the broadcast too, especially when they are hitting 15 w/kg. I’m sure that is a bit more difficult to pull off, but certainly possible.


(Gerrie) #10

They did that with the CVR series last year. We were all streaming. (I did not like that it was compulsory and that it added points). I am sure some of the Zwift dream team will not mind to stream there race.

I think if Zwift would open the API there will be a lot of Zwifters that will program things like screen overlays.

Before the big data clamp down there was a app to see riders in groups like you picture above.


(Vincent) #11

Thanks for all the feedback! Sending this thread over. :ride_on:


(Fez) #12

The Zwift Community Live production with Nathan and Greg yesterday was really good from multiple windows to following the racers. I think they said that soon they would have multiple computers set up for even more points of view.


(Aaron Zwanzig) #13

My audio feed was REALLY quiet. To the point that after turning up the volume to max i could mostly only hear static. Was that a thing for everyone, or is there something in my system i should investigate?


(Mike Rowe) #14

mine too!


(Mike ) #15

After riding this morning and playing around with the cameras it feels like the coverage isn’t making the most of the ‘artistic’ cameras. (Numbers 6,7,8). We don’t need to be sat on the shoulder of riders for the whole event. Zwift could also look at more static cameras, seeing as they can literally place them anywhere. In the real world there would be a static camera for the finish which i think would be less confusing than the piggy back view for the sprints. Those views are great for post race analysis, such as the onboard/handlebar shots.


(Mike ) #16

Some feedback on the race itself, is there any reason the races are getting shorter. The first race was 40km and 50 mins for the winner. Race 3 was down to 30km and 36 mins. The fourth race is scheduled to be 27km. It feels a bit like we’re now being short-changed with the length of the races. I appreciate courses are different but that’s quite a big discrepancy and if races are only going to be 30 minutes I’m not sure that’s long enough to make it worthwhile for people to tune in.


(Johnathan) #17

I don’t see Cofidis in this graphic? I would like to know how their TTT out the back is going.


(Johnathan) #18

The quiet audio was nice at work!


(Daren) #19

Would be great to start all the streams on time too. I was watching on YouTube and missed the start.

Only “tuned in” on Facebook afterwards.


(Vincent) #20

Moving thread to Racing :ride_on: