Esports Hub Launches Staffordshire University into a New League

By Ellen Camloh

It’s not an uncommon mission statement for anyone in higher education. But what’s not so common is that the jobs Mr. Leese is referring to are in an industry that didn’t even exist just a few years ago.

So when it came time for the University to build a new facility to prepare students for their future careers, he and his colleagues had to put aside equipment that had worked for decades in the past.

Instead, they focused all their attention on future-looking technology—technology that didn’t even exist, just a few years ago.

Ahead of the Game

Take one look at the course curriculum for the newest addition to Staffordshire University’s business school, and you’ll see it’s not like any other management programme in academia.

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Year One compulsory modules:

  • Competitive Gaming Culture
  • Resourcing Esports Events
  • Esports Ecosystems
  • Single Player Esports Event
  • Esports Events Experience
  • Esports Broadcasting

That’s because the University’s brand-new course—started only in September of 2018—is anything but typical.

In fact, it’s the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, focusing strictly on the business of an emerging industry that in 2019 expects to see record revenues, thanks in large part to the influx of companies and investors getting into the market.

With a growing sector and high-profile brands rushing into a new space, Staffordshire University looked into the future of its graduates, and saw an opportunity for them to be on the leading edge of a USD $1.1bn (£844 million) industry.

And the Bachelor of Arts in Esports (Honours) was born.

Acquired Skills

Staffordshire University, located in Stoke-on-Trent, England, is no noob when it comes to teaching technology.

For one thing, the campus’s roots date back more than a hundred years, to the site of a school of science and technology that opened in 1914.

Other experience points: the University’s computer science programmes include certifications in Cyber Security, studies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and partnerships with Cisco, Amazon, and Microsoft.

What’s more, it offers no fewer than four bachelors’ degree programmes in video games. It has previously been ranked best business school in the world for its use of Twitter. And it pioneered the world’s first Games PR and Community Management degree.

It was just a natural levelling-up for Staffordshire University to become the first in the UK to offer a degree programme dedicated to the business of esports management.

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Attract Mode

In 2017, at the time of the course’s conception, the Business School’s Associate Dean for Recruitment, Rachel Gowers, observed that industry was driving the creation of new jobs, saying that “companies are looking for people who are both entrepreneurial and tech savvy.”

That’s because jobs in esports aren’t limited to the players sitting in front of the game consoles. For companies to make money in esports, just like any other sport, it takes more than just athletes—it takes a whole ecosystem of specialisations.

These jobs can be anything from highly visible roles like on-camera shout casters and hosts, coaches and analysts, to behind-the scenes pros including event managers, partnership and sponsorship reps, production crews, team or organisation managers, finance specialists, and PR execs.

With its combination of business and technology expertise, the University was well-positioned to pioneer a programme that could both advance the career development of the next generation of students, and have a direct impact on the industry’s presence and growth in the UK.

The resulting course draws from academic best practices in business curriculum, giving students instruction in marketing, HR, finance and event management—but it’s entirely modernised and contextualised, to make it far more relevant for students pursuing careers in this ever-evolving industry.

Additionally, one of the school’s Lecturers, Stuart Kosters, said that to give students the best chance of getting a job, course developers had actually worked closely with industry employers, for whom hands-on experience was vital in their recruitment.

What better selling point to drive the hands-on experience home to prospective students than to create an Esports Hub—a state-of-the-art facility where they could bring their own esports competitions and productions to life?

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Challenge Accepted

The course developers turned to the technical specialists in the Media & Communications staff to specify and deploy the equipment and infrastructure for the new facility. The tech staff were already responsible for running, supporting and maintaining the gear used in the school’s other production studios.

“The newsroom that we have here is a four-camera studio in a typical ‘newsy’ setup with green screen and lighting,” says Chris Leese.

Students in the school’s television studies or sports journalism programmes, for example, produce live news shows and special broadcasts, and report from the football grounds, all using mostly conventional broadcast equipment. But Chris knew it wouldn’t be the same for esports.

The Esports Hub would require 4K streaming, as well as vision mixing large numbers of simultaneous, high-res computer sources over the network (think a dozen gamers competing in the same game) together with 4K camera sources, graphics and audio.

What’s more, Chris says, “because this was a new venture for us, it had to be something that was going to be flexible, something we could expand on if we had to make changes at any point.”

It was clear right away that investing in traditional broadcast equipment was not going to be sufficient.

“We had to look into future capabilities, or we’d be fitting out a studio that was going to be outdated almost immediately,” says Chris. “We had to go IP.”

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Student-Friendly, Staff-Friendly Technology

Designing a brand new, 4K-ready, all-IP space from scratch for the first esports business degree in the country seems like a fairly daunting task, considering it had never been done before.

But what made it even more challenging—and exciting, says Chris—is that he and his technology staff colleague, Matt Lewis, hadn’t actually built a production studio before.

“The TV studio had already been installed before we started our current roles,” says Chris, “and before that, we didn’t have any broadcast engineering experience or a background in outfitting a studio. We’ve just developed that knowledge and understanding over time.”

But the staff has a rule of thumb it uses whenever they’re deciding on any new equipment that comes in.

“Be it portable cameras, an audio controller, or anything else that’s going to ultimately get installed, the first requirement is that it’s got to be what we call ‘student friendly.’”

That ‘rule’ has helped them make equipment choices that allow students to grasp production concepts and create their projects a lot more quickly.

“We’re not training students to be broadcast engineers, so we don’t need to delve into in-depth lessons about how signals are routed or how equipment is cabled,” Chris says. “It’s got to be something that they can easily pick up. And that was one of the biggest selling points for going to NewTek.”

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Gaining NDI Experience Points

The technical staff designed a workflow around NDI®, NewTek’s encoding technology for delivering frame-accurate video over IP, and circumvented conventional video routers altogether.

Using everyday, standard 1Gb IT connectivity, the new facility can run 13 high-frame-rate, high-res gaming workstations over the network simultaneously, with NDI Scan Converter software making each gamer’s PC available as video sources.

This allows productions to be configured for two teams of 6 players, plus a connected “spectator mode” workstation to determine which in-game feeds will be used. Game consoles such as Nintendo Switch or PlayStation can be added to the network via NewTek Spark Pro, converting HDMI video devices to NDI sources.

Vision mixing for all gaming PCs and consoles (plus graphics and audio) is centralised in the 44-input NewTek VMC1, which, with its companion 2-stripe Control Panel, is “student friendly” enough to be operated without ongoing staff support.

In addition to the networked inputs from the computerized sources, the facility has 3 studio cameras as well as a ceiling-mounted PTZ camera, all with 4K signals converted to SDI using converters, and then brought into the VMC1 via a pair of NewTek NC1 I/O modules so that they’re available for mixing and monitoring over IP as well. (Only the VMC1 has a 10Gb network connection.)

A dedicated switch isolates the esports hub from the University’s administrative network, keeping additional traffic from bogging it down. All in all, says Chris, the project involved far more IT connectivity and networking than he and his teammates had implemented before.

“Doing this project really pushed our knowledge forward massively in terms of broadcast technologies and also networking,” he says. “We didn’t have years of extensive knowledge beforehand, but the technology available made us fairly comfortable with going into it and doing it ourselves.”

With traditional workflows, most facilities of a similar scope would require consulting with broadcast engineers and specialists, he says.

“It just speaks volumes about how easy it is to use NDI.”

New Game

September 2018 marked the opening of the programme, which, predictably, filled to capacity when it launched.

“Within months of the students using the hub,” Chris says, “we were already expanding on and developing different elements to incorporate into it.”

For example, the school hosted a recent broadcast event, showing the esports varsity (or eVarsity) team playing against another local university.

The students wanted to take the feed from the broadcast studio on one part of the campus to a social venue on complete other side of the campus, about half a mile away—and at the same time, pull a camera feed from that location back in to the studio and use it as part of the broadcast.

“With traditional setups we wouldn’t have been able to do that. We just wouldn’t have had the cabling in place to send over the signal, and streaming it would have added a massive delay,” he says. “So NDI has already allowed us to expand and achieve new capabilities that we’d never have done with a broadcast studio.”

He mentions another event coming up that will be completely driven by the students, who are now scheduling their own independent events. Because it will take place over the weekend, they won’t have any technical support from staff.

But they’re already self-sufficient, says Chris. “They’ve got equipment they like to use, they’ve got the training, they’ve asked us any questions that they might to know. Now they can effectively do the whole production on their own.”

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Online video platform for MXGP-TV

Going OTT is another step towards a business environment where more and more content creators get into a direct relationship with content consumers. It shortcuts the distribution and aggregation platforms.

“Since video combines the emotional impact of story with the efficacy of digital advertising, it is a perfect way for businesses to authentically engage with today’s consumers” Oren Boiman, CEO of Magisto

Selecting the appropriate partner is essential to succeed in this transition. The service shall be resilient and user-centric. It shall be as well evolutive, in such that new features and capabilities can be added over time.

Background

In 2008, YouthStream, the motocross World Championship producer, wanted to extend its reach beyond traditional broadcast by live streaming the various MXGP and MX2 races. Since then, the service has been developed in a true partnership, offering an ever evolving experience to fans around the world.

Challenge

DesalleSat_MXGP_3_ESP_2018Although disruption usually takes longer than expected, one should rather start early than fight for catching-up. The motocross World Championship has been distributed worldwide for decades. With the advent of internet distribution, YouthStream desired to develop a privileged relationship with fans around the world, by offering live and on-demand streaming.

By then, streaming technology was pretty immature, and it was of paramount importance to work along a trusted partner that had some experience in the emerging industry.

It was essential to control costs while ensuring service quality and evolution.

In addition the service had to be built upon pay-per-view (or subscription) model, generating new revenue stream for YouthStream.

“Back in 2008, it was pretty a pretty bold move to move our content on the internet. Remember that by then the technologies at hand were pretty immature, could it be from a platform perspective or from the user terminals (not really talking about devices as the iPhone was in the stores for less than one year). It was essential for us to partner with a firm having both experience and capability to grow the service with flexibility and agility. Over the years (10 already), Freecaster has proven to be the right choice. We actually work with them in a true partnership rather than a sour client-customer relationship.” Charlotte Menard, Director TV Department, MXGP.

Solution

Pootjes_MXGP_4_TN_2018Freecaster (BCE’s partner) was by then already active in extreme sports, having brought a.o. mountain biking and BMX live to the internet.

Beyond the references, Freecaster state-of-mind, showing flexibility, agility and efficiency was essential in selecting the appropriate partner.

Online video continuously develops: encoding and distribution technologies evolve with the evolution towards more quality and efficiency; consumer devices increase in variety and performance. In its offering, Freecaster handle this evolution throughout all stages: transcoding, video player, payment management and website.

Evolution

MX2start_MXGP_4_TN_2018Over the past ten years, the service has been significantly evolving. MXGP-TV is now benefiting from Freecaster partnerships with major CDN’s ensuring a smooth delivery worldwide, from integration with ad-servers, from a modern statistics module and more recently on anti-piracy service.

Freecaster OVP

The solution relies on Freecaster’s OTT platform. It leverages:

  • Efficiency of the Freecaster servicing capabilities;
  • Flexibility, speed and robustness of the Freecaster OTT platform delivering live web-streaming services;
  • Openness of Freecaster’s media player for enhanced digital experience of the solution end-users.

“You’re never set with online video: the technology keeps on evolving. Our service has to lead the pack across all dimensions: platform robustness and capabilities, video quality, customer experience etc… The Freecaster team always strives to find solutions to our issues: developments are done swiftly when required, integration with third party services are completed when more convenient. Being pragmatic is essential to succeed. And when this pragmatism is based on trust, we have a winning team.” Charlotte Menard, Director TV Department, MXGP.

Meet Freecaster and BCE at IBC2018 on stand 7.C37 in hall 7.

Cinematographer William Wages Talks Lens Choices in the Digital Camera Era

For William Wages, ASC, filmmaking is first and foremost about storytelling. His role, as a premier cinematographer, is to capture the best performances with the least intrusion.

“It’s less about the technology, and more about the story,” he relates in the latest video by Fujifilm, “Conversation with William Wages, ASC.”

The winner of three ASC Awards, including ASC Career in Television honors in 2012, and two Emmy nominations, Wages is known for his sumptuous landscape and intimate photography in features such as Maya Angelou’s “Down in the Delta,” Roland Joffe’s “The Forgiven,” and Steven Spielberg’s TV mini-series “Into the West,” as well as his development of filmmaking tools that create more efficiency and transparency on set.

His primary lens choice is the FUJINON 19-90mm Cabrio zoom lens. Weighing only 5.6 lbs/2.54kg, Wages describes how he was first attracted to the lens’ size and weight and secondly, its optical quality calling it a “surprise.” Wages conducted a blind test between the 19-90mm and other lenses and said it “holds up against anything on the market.”

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“The most important thing to me is for a lens to be completely transparent,” Wages explains, “meaning it doesn’t impart color. It doesn’t impart anything artificial. I want it to be as clean a palate as possible so that I can change those things with lighting, filtration or color.”

ASC1

He notes the ability to change focal length without changing lenses as another point in the Cabrio’s favor: “Since the 19-90 came out and I’ve started using it, I’ve not used any other zoom. It’s changed the way I shoot because of the ease of operation, the ease of not having to change lenses all the time. I just reach down and change a focal length. That’s made things go a lot faster, not only in feature films, but also in commercials and in TV series.”

Not having to endure lens change breaks while filming “The Forgiven” was something the film’s stars told Wages they appreciated.

“When the actors are doing an intense scene, being able to reach down and zoom in 5mm to reframe and do another take can keep them in the performance,” says Wages. “Therefore, when you cut it together, you see it. There’s no fluctuation from shot to shot or angle to angle, and that’s significant because ultimately, it’s about the actors. It’s about the story. That’s the reason I want to make movies. I want to tell stories, and this is a great lens for doing that.”

With subtitles available in Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese, the 3:10 version of Fujifilm’s “Conversation with William Wages” was created for not only cinematographers but producers and directors throughout the world.

Antenne Réunion upgraded its TV Traffic Solutions to suit its OTT and catch-up services

Flashback

Antenne Reunion selected BCE’s TV Channel management software to answer their needs for a solution that could manage broadcast content while securing core-business systems.

It was paramount for the company to optimize the data and information exchange with all the channel divisions (content planning, broadcast, Internet, adverts, back office), to avoid multiple and useless entries and to increase productivity.

BCE’s TV Traffic Solutions interface seamlessly with the existing tools like the Broadstream broadcast or the MediaPilot media advertising and booking system, while keeping consistent operations.

The next step for Antenne Reunion was to find a solution which could fit BCE’s smart solutions and integrate perfectly OTT, VoD and Catch-up content.

BCE’s TV Traffic solutions are layered in three products: Athena© manage the content library and the related rights (linear and non-linear). Cronos© creates the long and short-term planning, delivering chronological TV program grids, including detailed titles, materials, costs and rights information and Adonis© creates and manages the daily planning and generates playlists for any kind of automation.

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Major software update

During the implemantation, BCE had to focus on new functionalities specific to the customer’s workflow such as the possibility of characterizing “flow” type orders and acquisitions from TF1 and M6 as well as tracking the orders per vendor and period.

“The main strength of our solutions is the added-value services granted by our developer team, Our developers are able to think out of the box and come with tailored-made upgrades which fit perfectly the customer needs” explains Alex Seca, Broadcast IT Manager at BCE.

With the development of OTT, VoD and Catch-up, BCE upgraded its software suite to fit Antenne Reunion needs for non-linear rights management. More than a software evolution, BCE also provided a new infrastructure (Streamover) to ensure the transcoding of the customer content in order to distribute the content in multiple formats for IPTV and web platforms.

While Streamover send the transcoded content to Parabole Réunion and Zeop, two box TV operators in the Reunion Island, and to Antenne Réunion website (www.antennereunion.fr); Cronos and Adonis manage the planning of the releases for the different Catch-up platforms and Athena ensures the seamless rights management of the overall content.

The upgrade of the TV Traffic Solutions and the integration of Streamover was done remotely, BCE developers and IT teams were of course available to support the customer in its daily operations with accurate solutions to ensure the continuity of Antenne Réunion operations.

“We are very satisfied with our BCE work towards our needs. The team was able to make the necessary changes in order to get a full “Replay” content management solution which is perfectly integrated to the existing software suite. All our Replay digital development is based on BCE’s solutions,” concludes Fabrice CHINJOIE, Directeur innovation technologique et digital at Antenne Réunion.

Antenne Reunion today focuses on Catch-up but BCE already empowered its TV Traffic Solutions with VoD features, allowing the company to anticipate the next steps with reliable solutions.

Changing the Rules of the F1 Game

By Matthew Zajicek, LiveTouch Product Manager at Grass Valley

Our solutions were at the heart of the new system, delivering new capabilities that allowed the production team to produce more creative and engaging content.

Formula One needed a fast and highly responsive system capable of handling high resolution signals with minimal latency. Formula One also wanted to give the production team a way to create richer content. However, given the ultra-fast turnaround environment, it was critical that no additional complexity or processes were added to the existing way of working. Additionally, a smooth transition path to 4K UHD (and HDR at a future date) was vital.

The biggest challenge was to deliver a system that could handle multiple processes in addition to replay — from delivering content to archive through to remote editing access. It also had to cope with the vast amount of content from over 60 cameras — located around the track, on board the cars and in the pit lane as well as the helicopter used for aerial shots.

Deployed from the first race in Melbourne, the new system had to be set up and torn down very rapidly, ready for transport to, and set up at, the next race location. With local operators brought in to cover every race, it was also crucial that they could get up to speed as quickly as possible.

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Grass Valley was chosen for our collaborative approach; we listened to the requirements that Formula One had and worked with them throughout the season to deliver the best results. We were able to understand their workflow and respond with a system that delivered the capability that Formula One wanted. We could also offer the flexibility to scale and add functionality as needed.

Unlike the previous workflow, the new system includes LiveTouch, which enables all replay operators to immediately access all the 60 plus cameras from every controller — without having to wait to access any media. This functionality delivers faster access to more angles and allows more flexibility and creativity than ever before

During a typical race weekend, Formula One operates heavy file-based workflows. Every clip created by the operators is transcoded and delivered to archive and other platforms, meaning a huge volume of data passes through the workflow during a race.

LiveTouch’s integrated editing functionality allows the production team to do timeline editing from any LiveTouch replay station, eliminating the need to move content between applications and delivering ultra-fast project sharing between replay and edit.

As a result, not only more, but better content can be created in the same timeframe, providing a highly compelling experience to viewers at home.

LiveTouch has the added advantage of being easy to learn and use, with familiar controls and an intuitive panel touchscreen. Local operators were given training on the first morning of the race weekend, ready to hit the ground running once the broadcast began.

Thanks to the LiveTouch workflow, the Formula One production team can tell a more in-depth story about race incidents to viewers, delivering much richer content and faster, more in-depth replays.

Link to the article

Legendary Weekend Comedy Show Archives 40+ Years of Media on Cloudian

A well-known weekly, weekend comedy show was experiencing these challenges firsthand.

Having outgrown the capabilities of their tape archive, they urgently needed a faster, more reliable, highly scalable archive solution to provide their post-production staff speedy access to 40+ years of content — over 800 episodes, millions of digital assets, and petabytes of data. And they required a less labor-intensive process that would eliminate tape handling and migrations.

Cloudian

The Challenge of Achieving Flexible and Searchable Archive

The show’s previous archive solution employed tape libraries along with an offsite warehouse for long-term storage. Archiving was controlled via a media asset manager which maintained the asset database.

To ensure integrity, it was periodically necessary to read and re-write the tapes to newer tape media. In addition to the headache of merely transferring the tape data from tape to tape, were the regular format transitions that occurred when tape readers progressed from one generation to another.

As the post production supervisor put it, “over the course of my career, I’ve seen every part of the chain get changed. Ensuring access through all of those transitions has itself been a full-time job.”

Beyond the interoperability challenges, tape was unreliable. The tape libraries, tape readers and tapes themselves could all fail at inopportune moments.

The manager recalled, “many times I’ve had my hand in the library trying to fix a jam while the robot is whizzing around in there. When we’re on a deadline, we do what it takes, but sometimes it’s perilous.”

Tapes also present logistical challenges. Tapes had to be moved among sites, and when it was necessary to retrieve them, even the traffic could be a factor in meeting a deadline.

Another limitation of tape is the ability to find assets. The search capabilities were only as good as the underlying media asset manager. When searching for specific clips, the producers were limited to the MAM capabilities and the indexing decisions that had been made years ago.

“It seemed crazy that in the era of Google we would be limited by primitive search of our most valuable resource, but we were. Finding media could take hours if not days,” the manager added.

The Answer: Object Storage

From these challenges, the studio’s engineering department compiled three top objectives for their new active archive. After well researched deliberation and testing, the program’s engineering department concluded that Cloudian’s object storage solution was the singular means to achieve these objectives. With

Cloudian, they can:

Break the chain of dependencies with a solution that ensures long term, risk free access to media.

  • Freedom from drivers: There are no proprietary hardware or drivers – it’s all HTTP.
  • Portability: Objects can be moved from one storage environment to another. Move between vendors or to the cloud. Cloudian even has functionality built in that can make this automatic, if you choose.
  • Hardware independence: Object storage is built on industry-standard servers, so hardware can be refreshed at minimal expense.
  • MAM independence: Object storage leverages tags that are stored with the media. Locate media via standard search tools, independent of the MAM database. A database can always be rebuilt, if needed, using those tags.

Achieve rapid search which is scalable and can evolve as search tools and requirements progress.

  • Object storage integrates rich metadata to tag (or “label”) assets. Tag assets with complete descriptions and find media using a Google-like search, wherever the asset is.
  • Plus, the scheme for organizing and finding assets can evolve over time.

“In previous environments, such as tape, we were stuck with whatever organizing scheme we started with. Now we can change things and even go back and re-tag media if needed.” recalled the manager.

Plan for the exponential growth that comes with increased format resolution. 4K and 8K will inevitably be followed by other new formats, so it’s essential to plan for the known and unknown.

  • With simple scalability, object storage simplifies the ever-present task of adding capacity. The technology is built on “nodes” (like storage bricks) that can be added as needed, allowing you to start small to keep costs down, and add new capacity at any time, without even a service call.

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A New Storage Environment

Currently, the show employs an all-flash SAN for primary storage and Cloudian object storage as the active archive. A second Cloudian cluster at an offsite location holds the disaster recovery copy. Replication is managed by Cloudian’s built-in data management features.

“This is where we’ve been trying to go since I ingested that first tape and watched storage space disappear,” the manager said. “My job is to make sure our assets are stored, safe, and accessible. We’re finally there with an answer that will hold up over time. We’ve had our last ever data migration, and that feels good.”

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Twin Pines reconstructs 16th-century Seville for “The Plague”

A team of 35 VFX artists created over 500 shots over a period of ten months for this story set in 16th-century Seville.

The biggest challenge was digitally recreating the city of Seville of the period with the same historical seriousness as a history documentary. To this end, throughout the production process it worked alongside a whole series of historical advisors, documentary makers and an art director for VFX. The exhaustive development of visual layers and the creation of 3D elements by computer relied heavily on maps, etchings and paintings from the period.

“The job of reconstructing the city was formidable given that there is practically nothing existing today of 16th-century Seville”, explained Juanma Nogales, VFX supervisor at Twin Pines. “It required a painstaking process combining historical seriousness with aesthetic taste. And that’s where the collaboration between all the different teams came in: art (Pepe Domínguez), make-up (Yolanda Piña), photography (Pau Esteve), VFX (Juan Ventura, Juanma Nogales), postproduction (José Moyano, Iván Benjumea)… Unless everybody is on the same page, working in the same direction, such an ambitious production as The Plague would not have been possible. And the results are there for everyone to see.”

Twin Pines started working on the project a long time before shooting actually begun. First of all, there was an initial phase of contextualisation, which was then followed by execution, and this took up to ten months of work.

“One of the biggest technical problems we came across was that, unlike other productions we had done before, we didn’t work in fields but in different sets in which the cameras moved freely in 360 degrees. Using immersive techniques, we had to insert the computer-generated elements”, recalled Nogales.

One of the most complex parts to replicate was the port of Seville, which was the most important in the world at that time. Twin Pines solved the problem by recording several images of the Guadalquivir river around the area of the Isleta in Coria del Río, which was then digitally mastered to achieve an end result faithful to history. The team at Twin Pines also had to model the ships and galleons in the port in 3D, which were then integrated into the different scenes.

At the beginning of the first episode, the main character appears on horseback looking down on Seville from a distance. The only real thing in this scene was the horse. In fact, the character was on a hill overlooking a motorway and, using a green screen, 16th-century Seville was reconstructed using computer-generated 3D elements.

Also worth underscoring is Twin Pines’ work reproducing the crowds of people. For instance, in one of the episodes, a space holding around 15,000 people was filled with just 100 extras, with the help of a greenscreen and a lot of individuals recreated digitally after scanning the extras and their clothing in 3D.

At the same time, a large part of the buildings and monuments that feature in the series are not actually from Seville. What the team did was to use similar buildings as references, many of which were photographed and rebuilt in 3D, like the cathedral, the city walls, the poor quarters, the city gates and St George’s Castle. Nowadays these buildings or areas are completely different or the still existing monuments are now surrounded by a different landscape.

In addition, the visual effects in The Plague included a major work of digital extension of the sets, the reconstruction of natural spaces, the integration of backdrops, and a long etcetera. The whole process generated a volume of data for VFX of around 50 terabytes and over 19,500 hours of rendering. Nuke Studio software by Foundry played an instrumental role in the project by enabling VFX, editing and finishing with one single application.

Juanma Nogales is taking part in a talk on FMX on Wednesday 25 April at 17:00, precisely to talk about the use of Nuke Studio in The Plague, as part of the most important symposium on digital visual arts in Europe, held annually in Stuttgart (Germany).

Created by Alberto Rodríguez and Rafael Cobos, the first season of The Plague, consisting of six 50-minute episodes, can be seen on Movistar+. Following the fantastic results since it was first screened, the company has already confirmed a second season for 2019.

With a budget of 10 million euros, around 200 actors, over 2,000 extras and 400 technical experts were involved in this superproduction. The Plague was the first TV series included in the official section of an A-list international film festival, as was the case in the San Sebastián Festival. With a January 12 premiere, the show became the best premiere of a series in Movistar+ in 2018. The Spanish telco recently launched a drama channel across Latin America called Movistar Series, with 12 original series to debut throughout 2018, including The Plague.