Live Score uses Video SDK for I/O integrations in scoreboard software
Based in the city of Rohrdorf in Bavaria, Germany, Live Score creates professional scoreboard graphics software for more than 10 sports. We had a conversation with Christian Dangl about how our Video SDK was used to improve his product and development process.
I just love the way Medialooks works. It really helped so much with the whole development of the software.
What is Live Score?
Live Score is a character generator for scoreboards. I originally developed the product because I am a baseball player myself, and I took over the IT part of the baseball club that I was playing for. And one of the things I was responsible for, in addition to the website and IT infrastructure, was also the live streaming. The problem we had with the live stream was that there was no score graphics. That was the reason why I tried to figure out what software would help me to display that score. There were a couple of applications that somehow didn't really work. Eventually, I thought, okay, I can do it on my own in a better way.
So that was the reason why I stepped up and started to develop the software that met my own needs. As years passed, more features and more sports have been integrated.
What was missing in the software that existed back then?
There were some generic scoreboards out there. But they were not specialized enough. In fact, they were not specialized at all. There was no real user experience. It’s also about the amount of data provided: if people cannot come to a game, they should at least see counts for strikes, balls, and not just the plain score.
Who are your customers today?
My customers range from your neighbor who runs a local football team to professional clubs that have a fixed installation of the streaming setup and do this on a regular basis. There are companies that do broadcasts for leagues, who have Live Score in their toolbox. But also professional leagues, such as the American Hockey League and MiLB.TV, where they have games on a daily basis.
What sports are supported today by Live Score?
They are baseball, American football, soccer, basketball, cricket, handball, hockey, rugby, MMA and tennis. Live Score also has a generic solution for other types of competitions – such as quiz shows.
How does it integrate with the video production workflow?
You usually have a streaming application or any workflow where you use and consume the graphics generated by Live Score. There is now an integration for vMix, Wirecast, OBS, Livestream, Streamstar, TopDirector and more. We use NewTek NDI® as one of the key approaches, which is amazing. There are device output renderings for Blackmagic Design hardware, raw data outputs, XML texts.
What do customers value the most about Live Score?
When I'm asked, I always say it's about the ecosystem. It's about the full experience. There are character generators out there that focus on a wide range of use cases, but not a lot that really try to get the best out of this specific use case.
For instance, Live Score integrates with pro radar guns that provide input data for the pitch speed in baseball or serve speed in tennis, and it’s fully automated. Or, there’s an OCR integration that allows Live Score to read the venue’s scoreboard via a separate camera.
How are you using the SDK?
The first thing I used it for was NDI rendering. I already started developing my own integration when I found Medialooks and thought it would be better to use it and then have the opportunity to also use it for other types of outputs such as for DeckLink rendering, which I added later. This makes total sense for me as a developer.
I'm at the moment using it also for audio rendering: I can easily play audio through an external audio interface, which is quite useful for stadiums. There are buzzer sounds in Live Score for basketball, for example, which are being played using the PA of the stadium.
Did you consider any alternatives when you started using the SDK?
To be honest, not really. If you’ve been developing for many years and you see some code, you sometimes immediately know if it would make sense or not. And it just felt good.
What can you say about the learning curve of the product?
The first days were a bit hard as I needed to figure out how to deal with the concepts used in the SDK: setting properties, using the right string values. But once that was done, I was totally happy. It worked, and it wasn't that hard after a couple of days. And after the first integration, which was NDI, adding others was quick and easy.
What was the business value of the SDK for you?
It's absolutely worth it. So the features that I'm doing with it, I could do on my own. NewTek has their SDK for NDI, just like all of the I/O manufacturers. But having all of that in almost no time with your SDK is absolutely worth it: my customers get the features they need, and I get extra time to take care of other things.
Have you had any experience with our support team?
Yes, a couple of times. I even had Zoom calls with them, and they really helped me figure out what the problem was. So, no big deal. Every problem I had was solved in the end.
How would you describe our product to a friend or another developer?
Your product takes care about all these super fancy video things that you need nowadays: creating, sending, modifying frames, and playing around with resolutions. Do you really want to develop all of that on your own or just use a couple of lines of code?