Do Not Peek Entertainment’s SirScoots on the company vision, cutting-edge technology and approach to content creation that has seen them summon a 15 ft Necromancer without even needing a green screen.
Do Not Peek Entertainment is a gaming and esports production company led by two industry veterans Scott “SirScoots” Smith and Jason Baker. The pair have been involved in esports since the turn of the century working on live gaming productions for MLG, the Overwatch League and the Turner E-League.
SirScoots is an esports veteran, and was awarded the lifetime achievement award in 2019 for his services to the industry. Why? Well for the zoomers who may have missed it, SirScoots played a pivotal role not just in the dawn of esports with the MLG, but also in the years that followed.
After leaving MLG, SirScoots moved into management, acting as COO of Evil Geniuses and was as a host and content creator on the iconic LiveOnThree esports show alongside Marcus “DjWheat” Graham and Rod “Slasher” Breslau.
We had the privilege of sitting down with SirScoots to talk about Do Not Peek Entertainment’s vision, cutting-edge technology and approach to content creation.
Do Not Peek Entertainment: The Breakdown and VALORANTING
Do Not Peek Entertainment launched in 2019 with the mantra Content is King. Over the last two years the company has started to build up a following with their two flagship shows The Breakdown and VALORANTING.
The Breakdown offers an oftentimes highly-animated no holds-barred discussion of the biggest stories in the esports space hosted by SirScoots and OWL’s UberShouts.
“The Breakdown is an industry coverage show, so we tackle and highlight the big stories that will affect the industry and not so much what X streamer said about someone else,” said SirScoots.
“It’s really easy to grab that kind of drama because it happens daily, but I’d rather talk about five things deeply and get ranty and mad than talk about 20 topics really quickly.”
The Breakdown for some bizarre reason still remains a hidden gem of the esports scene, which SirScoots admits is a question of discoverability and the side-effect of deliberately trying to stick to the rules to avoid being “whores on Reddit”.
That said, The Breakdown is a great way to keep tabs on the biggest stories in esports while witnessing two grown men driven slowly insane by the idiocy involved in the latest esports snafu. The show has also started to introduce guests, with Optic Gaming’s Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez appearing earlier this month.
Do Not Peek’s other show is VALORANTING, a weekly new show for Riot Games’ FPS title that features some of the biggest names in VALORANT broadcasting talent. All of which chip in on match results, predictions and of course drama.
“VALORANTing has hit a bit of a growth, every week we get a little bit of growth,” explained SirScoots. “I think we’ve finally found our three hosts after spending a year experimenting. With Mitchman, Uber and Vansilli we have our core now.”
“When we started Do Not Peek we went with what was familiar to us and that was talk shows. VALORANTING is done all remotely while the Breakdown serves as a tech demo for the company.”
Do Not Peek Entertainment’s cutting-edge technology
Why is The Breakdown show a tech demo you might ask? Well DNPeek Entertainment through a new partnership with BitFire Studios has got their hands on some very valuable tech.
To say DNPeek is well equipped would be an understatement. DNPeek is making use of XR tech and an LED wall component to pull off a revolutionary technique that allows 3D environments to be projected upon surrounding walls in real time. The technique is still extremely new, and most notably was used to create Disney’s hit television series The Mandalorian.
The Breakdown show takes place in an abandoned warehouse. It’s a brilliant set, without a green screen in sight and the only thing that’s real is SirScoots and his desk.
“The really cool difference is when I turn around I see my set,” said SirScoots excitedly. “If you’re doing green screen you have to fake it, you’ve got to pretend like you’re looking at that creature in the distance. Whereas on The Breakdown with the XR tech we have I turn and I see the stacked TVs, I see the cat walking around, the dumpster on fire and then here comes the crane!”
The pros and cons of green screen and why XR tech can be a gamechanger
Green screens have their benefits which is why we’ve seen esports tournament organisers such as ESL and PGL use them so frequently. They are cost-effective, easy to transport and do not require a substantial amount of space to operate.
However, green screens do have their limitations that go beyond simply being unable to wear green. To get a good green screen key you have to throw a substantial amount of light at the subject to ensure the green has zero shadows, zero reflection and to avoid the green spill. Yep, that’s why your favourite hosts sometimes look perma-blind while on camera.
To pull a great green screen off is tricky, and when done poorly #productionvalue in Twitch chat in unavoidable.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of green screen is its lack of immersion. Not only can the on-camera talent not see the background (because it is added in post) but the light from the green screen is not additive.
With an XR Wall on the other hand – like the one Do Not Peek Entertainment have – their choice of background will affect how their subjects are lit and the ambience of the scene. While green screen is simply a canvas for a cool background to be added in after, the XR Wall means the talent can see exactly what the viewers see in real-time.
“If you put something on the XR wall behind me whether its bright sunlight, a dark cloudy night or a raging fire, and it will hit me because its real light with a natural spill. It’s just so much more real,” added SirScoots.
Using XR tech to summon a 15 ft Necromancer
For a D&D session, DNPeek put the XR tech through its paces by placing their four players in an unreal dungeon, with a necromancer boss stalking them. A 15-foot tall boss that was controlled in real-time by nothing but an IPad, and gave Marcus “DJWheat” Graham what SirScoots referred to as a “oh f**k moment” when he saw him charging towards him for the first time.
SirScoots is clearly very proud of the setup Do Not Peek have access to through their new partnership with Bitfire Studios, and rightly so. The setup runs on Unreal Engine, opening up all manner of opportunities to incorporate game assets into the broadcast, and Do Not Peek are already in conversations with game developers to do just that.
A handful of notable esports titles that run on Unreal Engine include Rocket League, Fortnite, Street Fighter 5 and Dragonball FighterZ.
Do Not Peek as a host and tournament organizer for emerging titles
For fans of The Breakdown and VALORANTING they’ll be happy to hear Do Not Peek do not plan to stop making shows, they’re just ready to expand into other things. One of which is being a service provider for tournament organizers, game developers and teams, which was one of the initial goals of the company.
“We’re not just here to make talk shows. The cool thing about the esports space is if you are a tournament organizer and want to throw events, you kinda CAN,” said SirScoots. “You just need a bit of approval.”
SirScoots said while he had no wish to compete with ESL and organize large-scale CS:GO events, he was keen for Do Not Peek Entertainment to help emerging titles.
“A lot of these other games which are just starting out and emerging that we can organize tournaments or cups. For example the new Riot Games titles such as Team Fight Tactics and Wild Rift, we’re like we could definitely do something there, and we’ve already started to work on some concepts,” said SirScoots.
“That’s the wonderful thing about esports is you can own your own content series, you don’t have to work for anybody else.”
“We’re esports guys and gals at our core. So getting back to where we’re organizing esports cup and competitions would be fun,” added SirScoots.
A plan to pursue more RPG content in 2022
Another avenue Do Not Peek plan to pursue more is roleplaying content. Back in October the company hosted a D&D adventure in support of Gamers Outreach called Beware of the Catacombs of the Damned.
The D&D show included appearances from Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico and Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, and was an excellent demo of the power of the Unreal Engine, making use of the AR and XR technologies at Do Not Peek’s fingertips. They have also experimented with Star Wars and Cyberpunk campaigns.
Esports and gaming has been dabbling in AR technology for more than 5 years, and has uses that are both practical and dramatic. Whether that’s showing the picks and bans on stage at Dota 2’s The International or having a dragon swoop down through the stadium like at the 2017 League of Legends World Championship.
Given Do Not Peek’s access to the XR tech and LED wall, I was curious to know where SirScoots saw them using the tech in upcoming esports broadcasts.
SirScoots highlighted the potential of the XR technology DNPeek have in-house to help esports broadcasts to make high quality remote transmissions.
“We’re in a building wired for remote transmissions. For example ESL could be in China doing an event and we could host the weatherman segments right from our studio. You wouldn’t have to take the wall or any gear, we’d handle all of it. Being able to remote in and out of segments provides shoulder content. That kind of additive stuff to esports events we think is really cool,” said SirScoots.
While SirScoots could not lift the lid on what esports projects Do Not Peek will be involved in for 2022 and beyond, it is undeniable they are bringing something new to the table.
“We’re not done when it comes to content,” said SirScoots. “We’re just getting started.”