The RoboGames event is done! Now the hard work begins.
3 amazing days. What a great show. 20 Countries, 51 Events, 214 Teams, 671 Entries, 706 Robots, and 730 Engineers.
You can find the results here if you want the spoilers: http://robogames.net/2015.php
When we started this project the goal was to bring video of the event to everyone who couldn't be there in person. Some people would have grabbed the kickstarter money, and put up an unattended wide-angle webcam pointed into the arena and called it a day. On a scale of 1 to 10, that's a clear 1/10.
We wanted to give you the best possible video. This was RoboGames 11, and we were going to turn it up to 11.
So here's where your money went:
- EIGHT brand new 4k UHD video cameras - That's four times the resolution of HighDef. Which doesn't just mean a better picture, it also means in post production we can zoom in on stuff without any loss of quality.
- A portable studio - so all the rock stars who are the engineers behind the robots could be properly interviewed.
- Pro sound equipment - Lavs, booms, digital recorders, and enough XLR cable to circle the planet
- Professional Staff - We had an amazing team of videographers using those 8 cameras, as well as boom mike holders, runners, and file duplication stations (with 5x redundancy of all files)
- Two great hosts - In addition to Grant Imahara, we got the fabulous Dr. Kiki Sanford. What a team!
- Brand new polycarbonate crystal clear arena walls, to make sure every shot was clear and the audience could see it all too!
Wow. That's a lot. But it still only brings us up to about a seven or eight.
So we added the most important thing we could - Robert Woodhead as Technical director, who has shot more robot combat footage than anyone on the planet. With Robert's experience and guidance, we didn't make the kinds of mistakes that would have lessened this project. His perfection and coolness under pressure kept all the files safe, all the camera-people up and running, and a show without any delays due to the video side of the house. Now we could truly go to eleven.
So now that the shows done, what's next? We now have 3.5 TERRABYTES of footage. About 160 hours of video. Sadly, just like in regular TV or the movies, you don't get to see the show the day after filming is done. We now enter "post production."
The show focuses on the 220 pound robots, but we also shot every 60 pound and every 120 pound fight. We also shot hours upon hours of footage of art bots, LEGO bots, sumo bots, humanoids, bartending robots, and bots that don't even have categories.
Four of the eight cameras were mounted at each corner of the arena. So for every fight, we have an awesome amount of coverage. For the heavyweight fights, 2 extra cameras were on the drivers' platform covering the drivers as they fought, between matches getting extra bot footage, as well as pre- and post-fight interviews by the hosts. (The other two cameras were always out getting non-combat footage.)
If you think putting up a 120,000 pound combat arena, filling the pits with hundreds of robots and the stands with thousands of fans is hard, well it is. But not as hard as the next part.
All those files have to be logged. All the video has to be synced. All the external audio then has to be synced to the video. Only then can we even start editing. Which angle is best? How much should we zoom in on that flame thrower? When do we cut to the driver during the action?
160 hours of footage, kiddos.
Then we color correct and sweeten the sound. Then we add the pre-fight inerviews and post-fight interviews. Then we add the pre-fight, interlude, and post-fight graphics (just like the big guys, we got us some fancy-schmancy CGI opening, closing, and tale-of-the-tape graphics.)
And then we've finally got a rough cut of the 44 fights of the 220 pound combat footage.
Then we go through all the non combat footage and filler footage to put that in. Again, going through the above process, so we can show you just how many great robots there are besides the heavyweight ComBots.
Then we have to master and press both regular DVD's and BluRay DVD's (and someday, we can put out UHD discs...)
Yes, we could have hired some goof with a single webcam and shipped grainy DVD's to you in a week, but that's not the way we work here. As mentioned in the original kickstarter, the final videos will be out in about 2 months. That's just how long it will take to go through all the files and come out with best possible video you could ask for.
It's a long wait, I know. So here's something to placate you in the meantime. This is a VERY rough cut of a single fight. The final cut will be much better, but we wanted to get a you something to wet your appetite.