From what I’ve heard from people actually there, in person worlds was great, and it’s great to be back to having an in person world championship. But, from my perspective as somebody watching via the livestream, the quality of the stream, at least in the divisions (dome was fine), made this worlds by far the worst one I’ve ever seen. I kind of felt like I shouldn’t post this because it was just being too negative, but I feel it really needs to be said, because my experience actually trying to make use of the stream was terrible, and I really hope that these issues can be addressed at future world championships.
I could barely make out details. I was asked to scout for some teams in my region and I had no idea what the license plates said, and I could barely see distinguishing features of the robots. The random cameras I bought for $100 on Amazon were higher quality than these.
The viewing angles:
Back when I competed, each division had a live camera operator, and the livestream operator would switch to those views periodically throughout the match to keep it dynamic and interesting. I get that live camera ops are expensive, so it’s fine that in Louisville it was changed to the single static camera shot. The angles then were good, I could clearly see the match. But this year some of the camera angles didn’t show part of the field, or had teams blocking the majority of one side of the field. There were some very exciting battles for goal possession I completely missed because the camera angle made it impossible to see anything. And then for things like award ceremonies, I’m sure family watching from home would have liked to see the people actually receiving their awards, and at least in the divisions I saw, it was mostly just views of the back of the emcee.
The difficulty seeing the field could have been overcome if the audio quality had been better so I could at least hear the emcees announcing. But on my (admittedly kind of bad) laptop speakers, even at full volume, I had a hard time hearing anything the emcees were saying. Please check the audio levels of your feeds and make sure they’re loud enough.
In an ideal scenario, the stream shows the field a bit before the match starts so I can figure out where the team I’m watching for is as auto starts, and then I can easily follow the match. The camera stays on the field for a couple seconds after the match so the audience can get a good idea what the end state looks like, then it transitions to a previous match score or whatever. At worlds it was more like display the wrong field for all of auto and the first five seconds of driver, then switch to the right field, then the second the buzzer rings, switch to a different feed before I have time to process the final match score. It was bad. At our events we’re in the process of documenting the exact process and timing of camera switching, and I feel worlds could have benefited from consistency in camera operation. Additionally, from the pictures I’ve seen of the control areas in divisions, the operators didn’t even have the usual preview program sources displays, and were I assume just directly changing the program feed. These problems seem like they should be fixable.
This is a nitpick, but in several divisions, the overlay was the wrong size for the screen, so the weird artifact bars from chroma keying out the green background of the overlay were making lines through the video. Also, the chroma key artifacting around the overlays was some of the worst I’ve seen at any event.
VEX TV Multiview:
The ability to view multiple divisions at once was really useful, and it was sorely missed this year. The fact that the “similar streams” nav bar to the right of the stream wouldn’t collapse meant even if I had two streams side by side, I couldn’t have them take up half the screen, since so much space was taken up by that.
I get that glitches happen, but the quantity and duration of livestream outages was awful. I think about 10 matches were missed the second day as like half the streams went down simultaneously.
This is perhaps the worst thing. I was considering not posting this thread, because it felt a bit pointlessly negative, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The research division day 2 VOD is just… completely missing. A team from my region made it to the dome, and some of their elims matches were fantastic. We wanted to go through and clip them, but the VOD is just gone. I really hope that all record of those matches isn’t lost because of some glitch with the livestream platform.
Worlds is for the competitors there in person, but also for the people watching at home. Ultimately I was only watching to cheer on some of the teams from my region and help them scout a little, but if I had a family member competing at a world championship robotics competition, I’m sure I would have preferred to get a better view of such a major moment in their life.