[FRC Blog] More Consistent Webcasting and a Few Event 'Carefuls'

Posted on the FRC Blog, 2/27/17: http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2017-consistent-webcast-event-carefuls

More Consistent Webcasting and a Few Event 'Carefuls’

Written by Frank Merrick, 2017 FEB 27.

More Consistent Webcasting

Working with our friends and FIRST alumni at Twitch, this season FIRST is piloting a program to bring a more standardized webcast set up to some official events. We aim to produce and broadcast a high quality, consistent video experience across multiple locations, and if this pilot is successful, we would like to expand the coverage next season.

The broadcasts will be accessible through FIRST Channels on Twitch.tv. These channels will include twitch.tv/firstinspires, twitch.tv/firstinspires1, twitch.tv/firstinspires2, twitch.tv/firstinspires3, and twitch.tv/firstinspires4. The primary channel, twitch.tv/firstinspires, will likely rotate through events when multiple events are being broadcast at the same time.

This year, the events that will be covered under this pilot are:

  • Lake Superior Regional (Week 1, Channel 1 and 2)
  • Central Valley Regional (Week 2, Channel 3 and 4)
  • Arkansas Rock Regional (Week 2, Channel 1 and 2)
  • San Francisco Regional (Week 3, Channel 3 and 4)
  • Greater Pittsburgh Regional (Week 3, Channel 1 and 2)
  • Sacramento Regional (Week 4, Channel 3 and 4)
  • Iowa Regional (Week 4, Channel 1 and 2)
  • Silicon Valley Regional (Week 5, Channel 3 and 4)
  • Buckeye Regional (Week 5, Channel 1 and 2)
  • Las Vegas Regional (Week 6, Channel 3 and 4)
  • MN 10,000 Lakes Regional (Week 6, Channel 1 and 2)

Depending on internet availability at each venue, we will attempt to have a multi camera view in addition to the “program” view. The program view is generally what is shown on the audience screen at the event, while the multi-camera view would show each camera in a quadrant on their own. You will note that the events list two channels for their broadcasts. If network capacity is sufficient, the program view will be on the lower numbered channel, and the multi-camera view will be on the higher numbered channel. If network capacity is insufficient, both channels will show the same program view, but the chat in the higher numbered channel will include more snark.*

Event ‘Carefuls’

From what we’re hearing, a number of teams and individuals are planning to really embrace our steampunk theme this year, which is great! A couple of ‘carefuls’, though.

First, remember our requirements for safety glasses in the manual, rule S01. As the rule says, “All event attendees must wear ANSI-approved, UL Listed, CE EN166 rated, AS/NZS, or CSA rated non-shaded safety glasses while in the ARENA. Lightly tinted lenses are permitted provided eyes are clearly visible to others, but reflective lenses are prohibited.” Steampunk goggles may be a fun costume item, but unless they meet these requirements, you can’t wear them in place of your safety glasses. Welding goggles also do not meet the requirements, unless you can find ‘lightly tinted’ welding goggles, which I don’t think so.

Also, some of you may be tempted to bring fanciful weapons as part of your costume to events. Please rethink this, even if the weaponry is obviously non-functional. With over 140 events this season, many of which are in schools, you may be at a venue in which weapons of any kind (even obviously fake ones) are not allowed. Also, this is the kind of thing that can make people uncomfortable. We don’t currently have a rule against this, I’m just asking you to reconsider it. No one will get into trouble for not bringing a weapon, I can tell you that for sure.

Hope everyone is getting excited for our first official events this week!


*I’m joking about this.

Can’t express how glad I am that FIRST is finally putting effort into providing consistent and high quality competition webcasts.

Really excited about the expanded twitch coverage. I do hope that FRC gets listed as its own game though, as opposed to being listed under “Creative”.

I, for one, am not excited about the expanding use of twitch. Our school places a proxy on all devices that blocks Twitch no matter what wifi network you are connected to. This really bums me out and tends to ruin quite a few things (premiere night being the most recent example).

Kudos to FIRST! Really glad this is finally arriving and hope the experiment is a success!

While it is unfortunate that Twitch is blocked by most high schools, YouTube does not make it easy to webcast events due to copyright strikes against songs being played on the stream. I know that MAR and some other events go around this by separating out the event AV and the MC/GA microphones, but that requires extra equipment and expertise.

I wish that Twitch wasn’t blocked at more HS, but it’s a “gaming site” unfortunately.

However, I am very glad that FIRST has taken a liking to a decent streaming service instead of some educational sites or YouTube. And there is a Robotics category on Twitch if I’m not mistaken. Should they feel adventurous, FIRST could set a custom category via an API call though.

For now, the #FIRSTRobotics community might work well enough.

Just a note for teams buying these goggles (they come in many names but look all identical, often sold as “steampunk goggles”). Our team has bought these and painted them for a couple of years. As Frank said you can’t use them for eye pro, but I will add that they are extremely uncomfortable to wear on your forehead. Do not plan on wearing them there all day. Put them on a hat or something if you want to use them.

Livestream.com isn’t blocked by any high schools that I know of (Indiana and North Carolina districts use it), why not standardize that? You also get the added benefit of not having any trolls in the comments. I’m not upset that theyre trying to standardize, I just don’t understand the apparrent Twitch worship the FIRST community has.

Blocked here. Twitch isint though.

Twitch is actively supporting FIRST and the FIRST community.

That would explain it :yikes:

Well, nevermind Livestream.com. Apparrently the proxy has developed SSL handshake issues with the site. If someone knows how to fix this, please pm me.

I’m calling a 100% chance that FIRST is sending out the Marshall 502 cameras they had at champs, if they aren’t using that camera I must have been blind. They are nice and small so it should be a very marginal change for the audience at the event. Hopefully FIRST does this right and doesn’t just send the cameras with no standard for positioning or settings. Bigger question is are they sending full AV cases or just the cameras, cables, and an ATEM? The cost is definitely worth it for the viewers at home and for making FIRST more accessible to the public. I’m excited to see how they stack up against the dedicated streams from districts.

It would be really great, especially since they locked down the creative categories. Maybe someone can put it out on their game suggestion form.

edit: also IA regional on front page HYPE

While we’re on the topic of webcasts, are we going to get a full-field view of the field (similar to what FIRST was rocking during St. Louis) during Canadian events this year? That was one thing which was sorely missed from last year’s streams.

The free version of Livestream.com only supports “potato-quality” SD video last I checked.

Do people prefer this over the single overhead (“All-22”) camera view? I very much prefer seeing all 6 robots at the same time in a single shot.

Well all 22 is good but the full field from the stands is better. Completely overhead kind of loses some depth, whereas, the full field from the stands usually keeps everything good.

Just to build on that. Twitch is actively supporting programs like FUN and RSN by having us as partners. I am sure that Ty & RSN can agree with me that this support is absolutely amazing. Partnership allows us to have subscribers and take tips which in turn allows us to continue building our respective networks and creates a well engaged community. Livestream and YouTube are not reaching out to any sort of this level.

The full field displayed in full with the up to three other views on the screen worked well last year. Something like how we webcast last year, and how FIRST did the championship was pretty good. There is often space that isn’t needed in the full field that can be used for other camera angles.

My current idea for this year is the full field from the stands and then a red and blue Launchpad camera from the scoring table side for the other views so you can see behind the airships.