Petition for Better Championship Video

Stream Quality - Comcast
This year started off good with the kickoff hosted by Comcast; This raised my hopes that Comcast would continue to host streams, but this didn’t hold true. I noticed that at Championship FLL and FTC streams were hosted on Livestream, which is the right way to do it. All FRC streams were on a NASA page that had terrible quality and some streaming issues. When services like Livestream allow for easy high quality video sharing, I see no reason for videos to be streaming any other way.
Secondly, some of the camera work was not ideal. Certain fields used a three camera layout that when viewed at low quality, it was impossible to see anything.
Stream quality also varies greatly from Regional to Regional. Some have excellent streams, whereas other don’t have one.

With the help of Comcast, FIRST should create guidelines and utilities for regionals and the championship on how to stream video and how to properly film a match. Such resources would let every regional have a good quality stream with good camera work.

Content Availability - Google/YouTube
Most regionals and the championship don’t provide a recorded copy of each match. Events that do have video are usually from teams with a camcorder sitting in the stands. These videos then don’t always make their way onto TBA to be found easily. No one has the time to watch every event live or to dig through the internet to find the video of a match.
Secondly, not just matches should be recorded. Teams that can’t go to Championship should be able to experience as much of the event as possible.

Last year my team got the Chairman’s award at the Arkansas Regional and the MC read an awesome speech about our team. It made us all really happy and justified all the work we had put in. Something like this shouldn’t just disappear. A video of this moment should still be available.

FIRST should work with their sponsors like YouTube to provide utilities for splitting and uploading match videos. TBA provides a good way to see match videos, but it would be better if FIRST could host all of the videos on their channel to make videos easier to find.

More Content - Community
The championship isn’t just about the robotics matches. There is multiple other events that also happen: Dean’s list presentation, Invention Faire, and pits. It would be awesome if video tours were provided for things like the Fair and pits to bring even more the experience to everyone.

We can’t expect FIRST to do everything, but there is thousands of students walking around that know how to use a camera. FIRST should provide a place for the community to share such videos in a unified place.

I know that these ideas may seem like a lot of work for FIRST, but it would serve the very important purpose of helping spread FIRST. Only a small percentage of teams go to Champs, but every team should be able to experience what it is like.

Final thoughts
My thoughts do not the represent the opinion of my team. I hope that this thread will bring FIRST’s attention to problems with current video quality and content, and that it will provide a platform for people to share their ideas on how to make it better.

Twitch > Youtube >>> Livestream

I’m working for Twitch starting in May and it’s my goal to at least get a conversation going about a potential partnership for the future. No promises but we’ll see what happens.

The livestream has been incredibly disappointing this year. Incredibly low resolution, poor bitrate, can’t sustain a stream for more than a few minutes.

The on-field production is also severely lacking. Over-field views poorly thought out. Camera switching not useful to at-home viewers.

I could go on, but this needs to change.

Everything > Twitch at peak hours

I recorded a wack ton of the livestream, I have to edit, render and upload a fair bit still, but I have ALL Einstein a fair number of quals and playoffs on Galileo, finals on Hopper and a few others.

Shameless self promotion: Videos will be uploaded soon on the channel: Skyehawk
(Videos will of course NOT be monetized by me)
(I’ve had relatively good luck with my uploads not getting flagged, hopefully that holds for the 50ish matches I have)

Link to channel:

FIRST started using Livestream this year in a beta program. There is work being done behind the scenes to improve webcasts.

These are good points you brought up. I’m not entirely pleased with the low audio level of the CMP webcast either, but it is progressing in a good direction.

Twitch can be terrible sometimes too, but they’re much more likely to provide something better than what we have currently.

I cant seem to find your channel. Could you give me a link? Thanks!

The only Livestream feeds I saw this year were run unofficially by various teams at different events, and the Championship feeds were certainly not Livestream.

Do you have a source for this “behind the scenes” work?

It was brought up at the FTA training in January. I’ll see if I can dig anything up since details were mainly (don’t take this verbatim) “we’re doing this to try it out with hopes that we can standardize webcasting”.

Thanks, would be good to know more about this and learn how some of us in the community might be able to leverage our connections and be a part of the solution.

This year, I did not personally see anything that led me to believe that any standardization of webcasts was occurring.

It was only a few events to see how well it worked, not a roll-out beta for all events to try out.

Here is a link, I am working on getting videos up ASAP.

As someone experienced with streaming FRC events with YouTube and Twitch, there are a few important problems with both services…

YouTube - Audio Copyright Flagging. Basically any FRC event streamed to YouTube has to have the audio completely muted. We attempted using it to stream a District last year and had our videos flagged every few minutes even though the feed only picked up audio from the announcers mic (it picked up the music from ambient sound and even though you could barely hear it, YouTube picked it up).

Twitch - Non-Gaming Content Flagging. On twitch, viewers can flag a stream as “non-gaming content”, after enough flags, the account is banned for 24 hours automatically with no recourse for the streamer (at least not in a timely enough manner to be useful).

This season we ended up using to stream the last part of our district, it’s basically a twitch clone with fewer restrictions, the only downside being the stream has to be refreshed every 4 hours or so (length limits).

This is why an official arrangement would help - for example, Major League Hacking, the organization that runs 100+ collegiate hackathons around the world every year, has an official deal to stream closing ceremonies and other content with Twtich, and they’ve been featured on the homepage numerous times.

If FIRST is already engaging in an official capacity with Livestream, that’s a good step, but I saw no evidence of it at Championship this year. Twitch would be well poised to handle this kind of traffic and they’ve already shown an interest in promoting STEM events like Hackathons.

Seems legit :slight_smile:

This game is actually extremely fun.

Both Florida events were webcasted on YT with no problems playing the music. And I know quite a few Regionals were streamed on Twitch and never got flagged. If I remember correctly, FIRST was the game it was listed under too; so Twitch already recognizes it as “gaming content”.

Plus, FRC Top 25 and FRC GameSense both run on Twitch w/o a problem.

NE FIRST broadcasted all their events on Twitch.

There is clearly a need for better video, but you really need to understand how much work it takes to run a complex video system at any competition.

Volunteers are the reason PNW media is so great. We own the show because we have kids that are interested in the game and are innovative in how they want to present the game. Our most basic setup can survive with 3 people minimum. We are at our best with 15 people running the entire livestream, posting to social media, and making a highlight reel (my baby :slight_smile: ). The students/adults need to be trained every event we go to, but we survive by having a few dedicated volunteers at every event to keep our quality standards.

From what I learned this weekend, PNW is still by far the most volunteer driven, but other areas like MAR and IN seem to be catching up. Next year I hope to see the bar raised even more for community A/V teams by all areas (if we all still stick with FIRST after this boring year /s). NE contacts our there A/V (or something like that. I didn’t get the whole story.) Video quality is good, but audio was really bad at times, so an easy fix next year. FIRST needs to realize how hard it becomes for teams to get the community excited about their competition season when there aren’t any good video sources for people to watch. 1678 has provided great full field views in the past, but they really can’t compete with district events that being much higher quality productions.

Indiana should have an interesting jump in quality when I come over there with my knowledge from working on the PNW A/V crew so many times as one of the serial volunteers (check the sig).

I’m sorry if this makes no sense. I’m super dead from champs.

Something something my own opinions.

Re: Twitch “non-gaming” problems, as a Magic: the Gathering player (which is one of the ~15-20 consistently highest watched games at least on weekends), I think you could argue that FRC is as much a game as cardboard Magic, even without a specific exemption.