Life In 19x19

Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream
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Author:  Codexus [ Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream

First a big thank you to the commentators and all the people who made the broadcast possible. There were lots of viewers at times and that's a great way to promote go.

Now unfortunately I think the way the commentary was organized was less than ideal. The problem being that the commentary starts too late into the game and, because of that, is constantly lagging behind the actual game by way too much. This creates a divide between the game and the commentary.

Here's how my experience watching a game went:

  • The game starts. It's the perfect time to introduce the players and hype up the game but many people in chat were just wondering why there was no commentary.
  • I try to follow as much as I can with the help of Leela. (Too bad no expert is there to enlighten me on the fuseki)
  • The game heats up, there starts to be some interesting fights. and as I'm waiting impatiently for the next move...
  • Suddenly the commentators appear! Full screen face cam and I cannot see the game anymore, I have to hurry up and connect to KGS to see the moves
  • The commentators start commenting the game from move 1 while I'm interested in what is happening on the board.
  • The game gets mostly decided while the commentators are discussing early game variations that were not played
  • The commentators realize they are 50 minutes behind the actual game and rush to catch up with no time to explain the game deciding fight
  • Now they conclude that the game is nearly over and decide to leave early.

This is not how you keep you audience engaged. It's the commentators' job to make the audience care about the game and you cannot do that if the commentary is completely out of sync with game. This is especially true for the many people who were new to go and watched the stream out of curiosity. It's a wasted opportunity.

I know it's not easy, and I really appreciate the efforts but I think there is work to be done to improve the commentary. I've watched lots of Japanese go broadcasts and they have really perfected the formula, so it's possible.

Author:  xhu98 [ Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream

Hey! Stephen Hu here, I don't usually comment on this forum but was pointed to this thread earlier. First of all, thanks for your feedback and suggestions - we are really glad that you have tuned into our commentaries, and we hope that you've enjoyed it. Certainly it's not been easy with only a few core people in the broadcasting team, and we've had to work very hard to ensure that streams are technically possible, and that our staff are adequately paid. That being said, we appreciate your time to tune in.

While we try our best to not start the commentary too late, there are quite a few reasons for the delay (or in a broader sense, the way our streams are organized):
  • Technical factors: there are always things that could go wrong with the broadcasting setup. Unfortunately, we do not have the same material as TV stations do, so it is possible that faulty webcams, audio glitches or other emergencies could interrupt the commentary. The list goes on and on here, and some issues are not shown on camera, but we have to nevertheless deal with them to ensure quality of the broadcast.
  • Schedule: The Kido Cup, as quoted from your example, has quite a fast time setting, and games can finish within 3 hours (which make them harder to catch up to, compared to slow-format games such as Grand Slam or Pro Qualifications). We have to also allot enough time for breaks, both for the host, commentators and producers.
  • The actual game: You never know when the players will blitz through the fuseki, midgame or yose :) Recall that the story of the tournament is written by the players, after all. Sometimes we get to enjoy a game that perfectly matches our pace, so that we cover it from start to finish; sometimes we come into the game 70 moves behind, and players play even faster although we are already taking a faster pace than usual - that's when I feel as if we are running behind a car, but the car's simply quicker than us.
  • Covering the tournament: A tournament is not just about the moves on the gobans, but also the atmosphere, the stories, and other things going on. To begin, we will usually introduce the context of the tournament, as well as the player head-to-head records and some interesting tidbits. For bonus content, we even have a book of impressions for the Kido Cup, which is quite cool to show to our audience as well. In some other events, we get to invite special guests, which provide rare opportunities to get to know them.
  • Commentary styles: We try to schedule a variety of commentators, so the audience gets a taste of different styles. Some commentators will be more interested in Leela analysis, and others will try to follow the natural flow of the game, or even the in-game psychology (which I also find super fascinating). Of course, I hope that you found someone who's enjoyable to watch!
  • Audience: Remember that >90% (if not more) of our audience are newcomers, who've never seen the game before. The front page features are the backbone of our project, and we have to care about the people who jump into our stream, who just expect to get some simple understandings about the game. Our audience is very diverse and we are aware that it's difficult to make the content 100% palatable for everyone.
  • Common practice: It is not unheard of in other places to intentionally delay the commentary - this includes other channels, such as AGA's pro game commentaries with Myungwan Kim 9p. The thing is, if you expect to follow the game in real time, in most of the cases you simply have no material to talk about, and just waiting for things to happen will produce "awkward dead air" - which we don't want! Sometimes you have to wait for the game to develop at least 25-30 moves to have any topic at all (this of course depends on the game, each game is a different story).
  • Multiple games: It's certainly possible that one game is just way too exciting and rapid to be switched away from, but normally in a tournament you will have multiple boards of interest. For example, there were two front runners going into Game 6 of Kido Cup, and the right thing to do is to cover both of their games. Again, our goal is to cover what everyone wants to see in limited time - in the case of Game 6, both games actually went to a 0.5-point finish, so maybe something fun to check out!

These are just some of the factors involved - we are fully aware that we will fall behind in commentary, and due to such complications in a stream, we have to try and balance it out. We are of course happy to answer any questions you have about the commentary; right now we just have no time or money to produce any round recaps, which in my opinion would be great for the coverage, but simply requires too much effort. Actually both producers and myself are still university students with part-time jobs.

Again, thanks for the feedback - I'm happy to address any other comments or suggestions :D

Author:  Codexus [ Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream

Thanks a lot for taking the time to write such an in-depth reply! There is certainly a lot of factors to balance, I wrote my impression as a viewer, I hope it can be useful but I know criticism is easy: the reality of actually producing such content is a whole different thing.

Anyway I'm looking forward to the next streamed tournament, thanks for all the hard work to make those possible! :tmbup:

Author:  xhu98 [ Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream

You are very welcome! Yes, there are certainly a LOT of things not shown on stream - I hope this clarifies things a bit.

Well, the next streamed tournament on EGF Twitch is about 6 weeks away ;)

Author:  Bonobo [ Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream

Hello Stephen,
nice to see you here, in THE English-speaking Go forum :)

Idea: Maybe, some time, if you have the time, create a “Making Of”, and also introduce the staff also, explain what exactly their work is, etc.? I think this might be interesting 1) for your viewers and 2) for anybody intending to stream …?

This fan here definitely would want to watch that.

Author:  dfan [ Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Opinion on the Kido Cup twitch live stream

I just came here to say that I am currently watching the Yike Cup streams, and they're really outstanding. Watching strong players think about the game together is really illuminating and very enjoyable. It must be a huge effort for Stephen to travel all over putting these together, and I really appreciate it. I have a big backlog of the tournament commentary streams and I look forward to continuing to go through them.

For better or worse, I think that the best way to consume these streams may be offline. Then you don't get impatient waiting for them to catch up to the actual game in your KGS window, you can fast-forward past the chit-chat if you like, etc. Of course the point of a stream is the live audience, though, so I understand a lot of Codexus's points.

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