Grass Valley powers cloud production for Electronic Arts’ gaming and online esports events

Grass Valley powers cloud production for Electronic Arts’ gaming and online esports events
Image courtesy of Electronic Arts

The end-to-end cloud workflow enabled the EA team to work as remotely as necessary, seamlessly managing live production of its gaming events.

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Global end-to-end technology, broadcast and media ecosystem player Grass Valley will be providing full distributed and remote production support for Electronic Arts (EA) FIFA 21 and Apex Legends gaming events.

The end-to-end cloud workflow allows EA to deliver broadcast quality storytelling to EA’s global fanbase – with a production team working from their respective homes – regardless of where the live tournament is taking place.

The workflow utilises Grass Valley’s GV Korona switcher control panel connected over the public internet to a K-Frame production centre engine running on GV AMPP.

GV AMPP is part of the company’s GV Media Universe, a suite of connected solutions, services and marketplaces that make cloud-based media workflows possible. The Grass Valley system was used on an ongoing basis for the 2020-2021 FIFA World Cup qualifying tournaments.

Following a trial with Grass Valley for an Apex Legends live tournament last December, EA first went live with AMPP later that month to support its FIFA 21 Global Series European Qualifier 1event

More than 20 camera feeds from Europe and additional live contribution feeds for the talent came into the AWS data centre in Northern Virginia. EA’s Technical Director (TD) Geoff Butler punched the show using GV K-Frame on AMPP from his base in Sacramento, California.

The production went off without a hitch, in part due to AMPP’s low-latency and intelligent timing management capability, with no perceivable difference to punching the show in a physical studio.

Seamless live workflows on the cloud

Joe Lynch, EA CGE’s Head of Broadcast, commented, “We learned a live production in the cloud brings together several unrelated systems, creating a lot of complexity — if one part of the workflow fails, the entire system falls down.

“These were unique, unprecedented circumstances to solve for during COVID-19 in order to continue esports competitions. Grass Valley’s GV AMPP was a helpful solution, bringing all of our needs together within one harmonised ecosystem. AMPP gives us a professional broadcast quality platform – in the cloud – with the production values and the reliability that we need to give our fans the best experience. For our operators, using K-Frame in the cloud was seamless, with no perceivable difference to working in a studio environment.”

With GV AMPP, everyone from the TD to the talent works remotely as necessary, with no compromise on their ability to deliver high-end gaming content. The EA team can manage live production of its gaming events more efficiently, rapidly pivoting geographically to meet esports fans’ needs across Europe, Asia and the Americas. AMPP was chosen for its low latency, high frame rate results and viewing experience for gaming fans around the globe.

The need for flexible workflows to support a wide range of live event configurations and deliver the same rich experience and stunning images across any screen is no longer in doubt. It is exciting to see early adopters like EA boldly moving to the cloud to leverage its power and agility,” said Grass Valley’s CEO and president, Tim Shoulders.

“The project with EA is also a fantastic example of how today’s workflows need to pivot rapidly – whether that’s to work around a global pandemic or to keep pace with diverse audience demands. We are extremely proud that AMPP plays a central role in EA’s production capability, helping the team innovate to deliver the creative content for which they are known.”

Grass Valley’s K-Frame switcher now seamlessly integrates with the AMPP platform with a simple software upgrade. While the physical switcher panel remains, the frame runs on either a COTS server or a public cloud service. With K-Frame on AMPP, operators can set up a show on a regular K-Frame, then punch it using an AMPP-connected frame accessing all the familiar functions they are used to. For EA, the familiar operator-specific UI is central to ensuring productions run smoothly and consistently.

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