Heads Up Daily: It’s (Mostly) Fun and Games Bringing Captions to eSports Show

by: Sarah McPartland

When the average person hears “HUD,” they think of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal agency responsible for addressing America’s housing needs and enforcing fair housing laws. Isn’t that what we all think of when we hear “HUD?”

Well, maybe not all. In VITAC Offline, “HUD” stands for something entirely different. It stands for tight turnarounds and extensive research and constant e-mail correspondence during prep. It requires you clearing your mind of any knowledge gained in your years in broadcast media and focusing solely on gamer tags, team rosters, big upsets, and impressive victories. It stands for the most nerve-racking part of your workday.

Heads Up Daily hosts“HUD” is short for “Heads Up Daily,” a Canadian talk show about the goings-on of the gaming community, hosted by Brody Moore and Marissa Roberto. The program is a full 60-minutes roll-up assignment with a two-and-a-half-hour turnaround. Each day features new on-air guests, as well as many Skype interviews with gamers, developers, and coaches from around the world walking us through their rise as a big name in the eSports community.

Although the show format stays relatively consistent, the content is ever-changing, focusing on new games and creating new segments to keep their viewers engaged and on their toes. On Monday, “The Drop” could rattle off countless new games being released that week, and by Friday, Marissa will be dishing out appreciation on “Lady Love,” a segment featuring shout-outs to women in the gaming world making an impact on the community as a whole. Every show is a snowflake, and no show run sheet is the same.

With the popularity and momentum that eSports have gained in the last couple of years, video games are taking this country’s next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students by storm.

Fans at eSports ChampionshipDo you recall a time when your parents would tell you to stop playing video games because you were killing any chance you had at getting into college? Those days are in the rearview mirror. The future is digital. Next time your mother calls down into the basement to tell you that you need to get your act together and find a summer job, present to her your findings that players on “Ninjas in Pyjamas” made around $230,000 last year. That kind of money could pay for any school in the United States and probably still have money left over to put a down payment on a Tesla.

Since beginning prep on “HUD” back in January, the department chatter is now buzzing with random factoids about various games and knowledge acquired through daily prep. I, myself, a few weeks ago, found that my credit information had been compromised. I only knew the charges were fraudulent because they were used to play games that I recognized from my research while prepping “HUD.” In that moment, I was thankful for the work we do because I wouldn’t have realized it until they took me for every nickel and dime. Like I’ve said countless times before, I’m learning something new every day.

With that said, “HUD” can make even the most well-versed gaming captioner break a sweat. We make a daily habit of tracking our collective production numbers, striving to increase our production output to provide a wide variety of clients with broadcast-quality captioning in a timely manner. When something like “HUD” gets thrown into the mix, all bets are off. Luckily, VITAC has an amazing group of captioners who work tirelessly to create top-quality captioning for the Canadian gaming community.

Every day gets a little easier and the research less daunting. We’re getting into our rhythm on how to prep this show and, soon enough, it will be like any other program prep. But for right now, it’s still difficult. As an offline captioner with very little prior gaming knowledge, it gives me heartburn some days. But as long as we take it one day at a time, one rank at a time, we’ll advance from Bronze-level “plebeians” to “Challengers” in no time at all. I mean, after all I’ve learned thus far, I wouldn’t mind a game jersey with my name on it to wear while I prep. It would really make me feel like I’m part of the eSports community, you know? QYOU, get on that.

But until I receive my sponsorship letter, I have one objective. In the words of host Brody Moore –“Get good.”