NDI and Birddog hit the mark for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launch 

To herald the European launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in 2019, video game company Activision enlisted Gamereactor to produce and deliver a special e-sports event whose workflow was based around NDI video connectivity technology and BirdDog’s encoder/decoders. 


It was inevitable that expectations would be high surrounding the 15th instalment in the Call of Duty series when Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was scheduled for 2019. But those expectations extended far beyond the game itself and meant, for example, that the online launch event had to be seamlessly well-produced and professional. 

To deliver this event, Call of Duty developer Activision engaged the services of Gamereactor, a Scandinavian online media network covering video games in multiple languages. The primary challenge facing the Gamereactor team was to deliver ten Playstation 4 console feeds into a live production computer enabled with vMix live video streaming software, as well as a live camera from the stage that was to be used for interviews throughout the event. 


For the production and live-stream, the Gamereactor team opted to base its workflow around NDI technology and a total of 11 BirdDog Mini encoder/decoders, which were designed around BirdDog’s custom NDI silicon chip. Dóri Halldórsson, who at the time of the project was a Video Editor & Content Creator for Gamereactor, explained the thought process behind the decision. 

“We had the option of going old school and buying a bunch of SDI converters, converting all those HDMI signals to SDI, and then getting up a more powerful computer to handle it. But clearly the best option was to embrace the future and go with NDI, which is what we did. And this approach saved a lot of headaches.” 
The Gamereactor team used one BirdDog Mini on each of the consoles and one on the camera, which then fed into an Ethernet router, allowing a single Ethernet cable to send info to a vMix machine with all NDI sources. 


The workflow proved to be highly successful, as did the game it helped to launch. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was so popular it became the best-selling digital launch in Activision’s history to that point, surpassing 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII. And, once again, NDI and Birddog were behind the curtains to make it happen in real-time.

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