The work that went into the production of the Valve’s Dota 2 International has been revealed by virtual production companies Myreze and Pixotope.
Pixotope provided virtual production services to the competition, which saw the world’s 18 top-ranking teams to battle it out on screen at Bucharest’s 50,000 capacity Arena Națională for a world record-breaking prize pool of over $40m (£29.54m) over ten days.
It was the most-watched Dota 2 event ever, with the grand final watched live or replayed by 100 million unique viewers across all platforms (excluding China, its largest single market). This was the third-most viewed esports event ever, and a 37% increase on its last peak in 2019.
Myreze turned to Pixotope to help leverage the power of Unreal Engine in what was a live and complex broadcast environment.
The ten-day live production saw 22 matches, creating 125 hours of live content and more than 2000 hours of content overall. It featured a main AR stage and 4 analyst green screen studios (for English and Russian language) in Bucharest, one remote studio in Brazil (Portuguese) and another in Peru (Spanish). An LED screen with a virtual set was also in play for the tournament’s largest audience, China.
Eye-catchingly, the set also had the functionality to show off the players’ chosen game characters as 3D AR elements, seemingly present in the same environment. The lineup of heroes was mirrored on the main physical stage in Bucharest in front of the players, and was simultaneously visible to viewers watching from home.
This was assisted by 19 live and back-up Pixotope engines and bolstered by their on-site and remote support. Pixotope’s data visualization tools were also used to support data integration.
In total, 15 tracked cameras were used in the analyst sets and main stage, with a proprietary data recording solution used by the Myreze team replaying video and tracking data in real time.
Frank Vedvik, creative director at Myreze, said: “One of the trickier aspects of virtual production is that rehearsing with unfinished graphics is hard and time-sensitive. Missing a rehearsal due to technical issues when on a tight schedule, is often catastrophic.
“Utilizing Pixotope’s robust compositing pipeline together with our data recording racks, we were, for the first time, able to replay a rehearsal over and over again, as if we were live, iterating on the creative delivery without keeping the rest of the production hostage. This was crucial for our ability to deliver polished content on a production of this size.”
Marcus Brodersen, Pixotope CEO, added: “With esports developing into a global entertainment phenomenon, we are thrilled that Pixotope® was able to support virtual production of the world’s largest esports event.
“The collaboration between Myreze and DOTA 2 heralds a new era of innovative virtual experiences that truly enhance fan viewership and participation, and we look forward to seeing how they take esports broadcasting to new levels in the future.”