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EA Produces eSports in the Cloud with Grass Valley’s AMPP Audio Mixer

Grass Valley
(Image credit: Grass Valley)

 SACRAMENTO, Calif.—EA’s esports division, Competitive Gaming Entertainment (CGE), selected Grass Valley’s SaaS platform, AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform), for cloud-based production of EA SPORTS FIFA 21 Global Series and Apex Legends Global Series live competitive events earlier this year. 

We leveraged the AMPP Audio Mixer—along with several other tools within the GV AMPP ecosystem—to enable truly global, remote productions, crucially allowing our distributed teams to deliver live esports action to fans worldwide. 

For our recent FIFA Global Series events that ran from last December to this past May, we had competitors in Europe and beyond. EA’s crew was based in North America with our talent based in North America and the UK, with additional support staff in continental Europe. 

AUDIO IN THE CLOUD

The beauty of working with cloud-hosted tools like Grass Valley’s GV AMPP is that your people can contribute to the show from wherever they are and we can bring in specialized talent to the production. We had two A1’s (audio engineers) for our FIFA Global Series events, one here in northern California and one in New York. Connecting to AMPP from distributed locations was seamless and straightforward for our operators—it didn’t matter that they were thousands of miles away.

Due to the restrictions and limitations caused by COVID-19, the M&E industry has had to adapt and innovate by adopting cloud-based workflows. We chose Grass Valley’s AMPP because we needed true broadcast-quality production for our eSports events. We had found it challenging to accomplish this using other available means because we couldn’t quite get the reliability and the quality that we needed. 

We had been punching shows using AMPP’s video tools first, including cloud-based switchers, and based on the success of these Grass Valley solutions, we were excited to try its cloud-enabled audio mixing. Until we deployed Grass Valley’s AMPP Audio Mixer, we used a mix of solutions for our audio workflows. With AMPP Audio Mixer, our audio professionals enjoyed a true cloud-first professional mixer. 

WORKING INTUITIVELY

Technical directors don’t require much of a learning curve for Grass Valley equipment. Even though the AMPP ecosystem is based in the cloud, it’s still the same to the operator, and the familiar menus and controls mean operators can hit the ground running.

The audio mixer has an intuitive feel as the GUI has all the same controls in the same places as a traditional hardware audio console. It has everything you’d expect to see, in the places you’d expect to see them. Our audio guys didn’t need training on AMPP Audio Mixer because they could take one look at the interface, and everything looks as anticipated—just on-screen instead of a physical panel.

Later on in our FIFA Global Series, Grass Valley also added the MIDI control application to allow our audio engineers to control the audio mixer using a physical hardware surface instead of the software GUI. With that our operators could move away from mouse and screen down to any MIDI-enabled hardware device. This flexibility means that our crew could use the AMPP Audio Mixer on equipment that they might already have sitting in their office or home. Working on a panel with motorized faders also means that any adjustments on the GUI would simultaneously move the fader on your physical panel, perfectly in sync. 

AMPP Audio Mixer helped us enhance our audio workflows throughout our FIFA and Apex Legends events—and allowed us to deliver truly exceptional live gaming action to our global fanbase.

For more information, call ​​514-333-1772 or visit www.grassvalley.com

 

Geoff Butler worked as a freelance director/producer for Pac-12 Network, NBC Sports and others before joining Electronic Arts (EA). He can be reached at dadrunning@gmail.com.