Having seen an attempt or two at live camerawork for competitive Sector’s Edge games and been doing it myself for all the Salvage Cups, I thought it’d be worthwhile to share the kind of setup and mindset I have when spectating SE games. I’m often also casting which makes giving it my fullest attention difficult (often meaning I spend the majority of time in fly cam since it’s easier), but regardless - I think the following is a pretty good guide for someone looking to be an observer for the game.
Worthwhile noting that some hotkeys are based on having a Numpad - if your keyboard doesn’t have one, you may need to emulate it.
Below are the exceptions to the default setup the game sets for you when entering spectator mode.
- Smooth camera ON (key: V)
- Toggle chat OFF (key: Shift+F2)
- Show paths OFF (key: J)
- Help OFF (key: H)
- Xray ON* (key: X)
- Clamp Y ON* (key: C)
* Unlike the others, these you’ll have reason to toggle on/off during the match
Waypoints are the single biggest piece of preparation to do pre-event, but after you do them once, it’s rare you need to change them and they are persisted locally on your machine.
For those unaware, the waypoint system allows you to use your in-game camera to create static or motion cameras on a path. You set waypoints using the camera for keys 1-9, and upon pressing the hotkey for that path, it then takes you to the starting point of the path and moves smoothly between points using your currently set speed.
Note: While creating new cameras/paths is easy and stable, editing paths is not, so if a mistake is made, I’d advise just saving the path and then going through the creation process of that path again.
To create a static camera, use the fly cam to position and look where you want the camera to be, press the
shift+[1-9] hotkey you wish to set, and then press
enter to save the path.
To create a motion path camera, do the same as above, except between the initial
shift+[1-9] and saving the path with
enter, you can move your fly camera around the map, pressing backtick ` to set further waypoints for the path to follow.
So, when it comes to setup, you’ll want to fill up a bunch of your 1-9 keys with pre-planned paths and placements. Each map has common canister spawns and follow similar patterns.
My setup goes something like this:
- 1-3 are static cameras on canister locations going from one side of the map to the other
- 4 is another static camera, either on another outer canister location, or on a more enclosed point - e.g. the hall in CF, the inside of temple in AD, the upper room in IS
- 5 is another static camera, in the underground canister location. The deepest underground point, e.g. the red/soltrium area on CF, the watery tank area in IS, catacombs in AD.
These are slightly specialised to each map - while I try to keep 4 and 5 fairly ‘common’, 4 is often just ‘another canister location’ instead of something enclosed. Anyway 6 and beyond is then common to each map.
- 6 is a motion path doing a 360 spotlight around the map, looping a couple times
- 7 is a static camera somewhere behind the left team’s spawn
- 8 is a static camera somewhere behind the right team’s spawn
- 9 is a motion path - a complex path that aims to give a ‘map overview’
To setup number 6, first find the middle of the map in flycam - go to it, go slightly underground, make sure Y clamp is OFF, look down and press G. You enter anchored mode. Use
Shift+[backwards scrollwheel] to zoom out from that location - do not use WASD/Space/Ctrl during this time, only mouse and the scrollwheel. Use the zoom and mouse to figure out the right distance from map center and height that you want the circular cam to be at. At this point, if you feel you want the focal point slightly higher/lower, use
Space/Ctrl to move the anchor point up/down, and
WASD to move it around relative to your camera, though hopefully your initial anchor placement was accurate enough.
When you’re happy with your starting location distance and where the focal point is, engage Y clamp, start a path -
shift+6 - then move your mouse slowly horizontally, pressing backtick at regular intervals as you spin. Do a couple laps around the map, doing a final backtick when you reach your original position, then save the path with
enter. You can then exit anchored mode using
If you want to be extra fancy and use either a physical Stream Deck, or even their mobile app which is pretty good - I’d advise setting up buttons for player views. In-game, Aegis players are
Numpad [1-9] and Helix players are
Ctrl + Numpad [1-9].
During a match
Now onto the meat of observing itself!
We have all of these waypoints and tools available to us now, on pretty easily memorable hotkeys, though if you have trouble remembering them, just write then down 1-9 on a piece of paper.
When entering a match, you’ll need to do the quick preparation of settings - xray ON (etc) as per the list given at the top of this post.
Remember that waypoint paths use your current speed - so if you want to use a slow map overview camera path for instance, set your speed first, then press the path hotkey. Better to be too slow and speed up, than start fast and have to slow down.
When awaiting players to finish joining/setting up, I like to use
9 - the map overview motion path, to set the scene for the map. If players still not ready after that, you can either then go on a non Y-clamped personal fly adventure through the map, or use your
8 hotkeys to switch to your static cameras behind both teams’ spawn points to see what they’re getting up to.
Remember that when using static cameras, you have to press F manually in order to break from the lock and move around.
When the game starts, switch between your behind-spawn cameras of each team, figure out where they’re going and follow them.
The basic formula beyond that is:
- Use fly camera to get an overview of a canister area - can use anchored mode
Gto very evenly rotate around a central point - so can just look at the canister then use
Shift+[scrollwheel]to control your distance from it. Use
Gagain to un-anchor. Alternatively you can just manually control in
- A very slow moving camera is often nicer to watch than a static one, so feel free to put your speed right down (using scrollwheel) and manually move the camera very slowly. You don’t need to move much to keep it interesting
- If you notice someone flanking/about to do something interesting like dropping down from behind/the side, either look at their number/colour and use their personal hotkey (e.g. if blue and the number is 8, that’s
Numpad 8, if red and number is 3, that’s
Ctrl + Numpad 3). Alternatively (though less precise), you can also look directly at them and press
Z. Follow them on their journey a little bit and return to fly mode when either dead or their view has quietened down
- It’s okay to move further away from the canister location if tracking something more interesting, like a flank, but if it heads up on the canister, use your static cameras to get back in instantly. Can then switch to
Fly mode and pan around should your flanking guy still be coming around
- Mentioned far earlier, xray and y-clamp are tools you’ll want to toggle at your discretion. Turning off xray can be good to briefly toggle off when following a flanker about to perform their flank - so you can give a better view of what that person is actually seeing - can then toggle back on as soon as the immediate threats are dealt with. Y-clamp is great for maintaining overviews of canister locations, but is a bit stop-start when you actually want to change altitude following a player in
Fly mode. So, if this becomes the case, toggle Y-clamp off, use the mouse to smoothly follow them through the vertical change, and then turn it back on again
That’s about all I can think of for now.
I might turn this into a video at some point if people want it, and let me know if anything is unclear!