F.A.Q Esports Broadcasting
I’ll use this page to answer as many quickfire questions about esports broadcasting or add those questions and answers provided by other members of the community.
What is a hot mic?
A hot mic is the terminology used when the microphone is on or open. In other words, it is live to the audience.
Ideally this should only occur when the show is live, however sometimes the audio producer will mistakenly leave the mic open when it shouldn’t be, during an advert break or period of downtime for the show. When this happens, the mic is “hot” and anyone close to it or using it should not say anything. Sadly its almost impossible for talent to tell if the mic is hot or not, so always err on the side of caution and assume the mic is always hot. Remove the headset or put the handheld in a safe spot out of the way of voices!
What is a throw?
A throw is the technical term for the point at which a segment changes and the current talent hands over to someone else at a different location. Generally speaking, throws are handled by the presenter or host, but can also be used by any of the talent to “throw back” to someone which could include an interviewer or a commentator.
Generally speaking you shouldn’t use the term “throw” on the show as its a broadcasting term.
example. “Lets go back to the game and rejoin our commentators Jim and Janet”
How important is the right clothing on live shows?
In terms of design, it’s purely personal of course, but there are some colours and patterns which should be avoided as they either don’t work with modern cameras or cause issues in visibility.
Generally speaking, avoid black tops if possible. This is especially important where lighting is tricky (a darkened hall or room for example) or poor. If you have a black top in these conditions you could easily look like a floating head on the screen!
Try and avoid close stripes (they send cameras funny) and complex close quarter patterns.
That said, as a talent member you should always check your clothing with a qualified cameraman just to ensure it works on the show, so be prepared and bring extra.
White will nearly always work, but remember if you are using a white backdrop, then don’t use white tops! If you are using a white shirt with ties and jackets, it’s usually fine, though do be aware that pure white tops without a jacket or tie, often make it very hard for the TV cameras to set the correct white balance.
Dark Jackets are generally ok if offset against a lighter top, but don’t try the “Dark jacket, dark shirt” look in a hard to light hall!
Finally, you should also avoid any branded clothing with logos. This can sometimes clash with sponsors or be inappropriate for viewers or even infringe copyright.
What is a teleprompter?
Sometimes shortened to just “prompter”, this handy device allows the talent to read while looking directly in to the camera. However, those watching cannot see the words scrolling up the screen. Usually it is required to have someone scroll through as you are talking to keep up.
Prompters are very common in all forms of TV including live, though in a live environment usually only the complex segments, intros and outros (throws) are on the prompter with plenty of ad-lib in between.
The prompter allows for a smoother show experience and less mistakes, especially in a complicated show, though they take time to master because it feels so awkward to read and talk out loud rather than just say whats in your head!
What is the difference between a host, presenter and an MC?
Esports is a little different to most TV, where the name of the person on the show is often referred to as the presenter, though it does change depending on country too (often called moderators in Germany for example!).
Generally speaking they are all the same thing, however I’d say in some circumstances they are actually different, especially the MC (Master of Ceremonies). The MC typically is more like the person who makes player introductions to stages or announces winners. This person could also be what is known as “voice of god” if they aren’t physically present on stage. An MC is usually on a stage too.
A host is generally on stage, but could be at a desk as the person running an analysis segment. Likewise, calling this person a presenter is also fine.
What is an IEM? (not the tournament!)
In Ear Monitor (IEM) is exactly what it says: It monitors audio and puts it in your ear. Commonly, IEM’s are those tiny earbuds you see used on music players, however in broadcasting they are usually custom made or at least very high end, especially for those hosting in large stadiums.
IEM’s are usually one of two varieties, passive or electronic. Passive is literally an earpiece that pipes the audio in to your ear (sometimes by air methods from a pack) with no electronics. In a very noisy room these don’t work very well.
Electronic IEM’s are usually much better, have their own electronics within the earbud and some have active noise cancelling, particularly useful if you are hosting a large stadium.
IEM’s are essential for hosts in particular so they can hear instructions from the control room, usually a producer or director and sometimes both!