Commentator Agreement and Guidelines

The Oceanink Stream Team consists of Streamers, Recorders and Commentators working together to create streams and recordings for the Oceanink Series. This can be a very exciting role, but it is also a very public role. Therefore, the following document outlines what is expected of Oceanink Stream Team commentators, and gives some tips on how to do commentary well.

Joining the Stream Team

Please take the time to read through this entire page. Once you have read it, follow the instructions on the Stream Team page.

We prefer that commentators new to the Stream Team do some other commentary before commentating a live match stream. This could be commentary for another tournament or commentary over a match recording. This ensures you have some experience with commentating before dealing with a live stream, which can be quite stressful. It also gives us some idea of your style and experience, which can help with pairing up commentators.

Oceanink Commentator Agreement

Anyone who commentates for Oceanink must read and agree to the Oceanink Commentator Guidelines. These guidelines apply to all official Oceanink tournaments and are provided to help casters understand the standards expected of them when they represent the Oceanink Community in a public-facing manner.

  1. Casters are expected to abide by the Oceanink Code of Conduct.
  2. Default to referring to players as “they”. If you have spoken with a player about their preferred pronouns you may use the pronouns that they have nominated.
  3. Keep things all-ages, avoid swearing and do not use words that have harmful meanings.
    • For example, don’t use the term “cancer”/”cancerous” to refer to gameplay elements. Not only can it be insensitive, but it’s also a “lazy” way to communicate an idea. Think about how you can explain why you think something is “cancerous” instead.
    • If you slip up it’s ok to briefly acknowledge it and then move on. For example, “Sorry, should have chosen better words”.
    • If you say something that someone takes offence to, it is never appropriate to tell them to “get over it”.
  4. Try and keep an upbeat and positive attitude.
    • For example, rather than talking down players for failed plays talk them up for good ones.
  5. Use official terminology for in-game elements and try to avoid obtuse jargon.
    • Prefer “splat” over “kill”.
    • Nicknames like “chicken” for autobomb are ok where the context/name appear self-explanatory. Introducing an audience to a concept early, for example, “autobomb chicken” or “chicken bomb” will help them to understand later.

Commentary Tips

  • Learn map callouts. You don’t need to know the level of detail that a team would use, just enough to be able to describe what’s happening in a match.
  • Know or have a reference for all the weapon loadouts.
  • Know how to pronounce player names (or ask them before commentating their match). Or find out if a player using a different tag is better known in the community by another name.
  • It helps to have a bit of trivia about the teams/players, but avoid speculating/projecting if you’re unsure about details. Ask the players directly for details if you can!
  • Watch the Squid/Octo icons up top, so you know how many players are active and who has special ready.
  • Don’t feel pressured to be constantly reporting on events. Splatoon is fairly easy to watch, so you don’t have to explain everything that happens. Your commentary is there to provide an extra layer to what the viewer can already see.

How commentary works

Live Commentary

Live Commentary over Live Matches

For the Oceanink Series, commentary sometimes involves:

  • Someone commentating and streaming who is spectating the match directly.
  • Someone commentating and streaming plus a co-commentator, with both people spectating the match directly.
  • Someone spectating and streaming to a “commentary feed” which however many commentators can watch (rather than them spectating the match directly).

Usually, if more than one person is involved, everyone joins a voice chat in the Series Discord server so that the commentary can be recorded by whoever is streaming.

Please be ready at least 5 minutes before the match is due to start so you can do a soundcheck. If you are streaming, do a short recording with yourself and any co-commentators, then listen back to it to check volume levels and audio quality. If you are co-commentating, all you should need to do is turn up.

If you will be spectating, please ensure you have someone who will be playing added so you can join the lobby promptly.

Live Commentary Over Pre-Recorded Matches

Sometimes commentators are asked to commentate a stream of pre-recorded matches. The main difference to commentating a live match is that you will need to have downloaded or loaded (if the video is on Youtube or similar) the video ahead of time. Please also check it plays and the audio works. If you will be the person streaming, please download the recording. It’s usually safer to not try to download and upload at the same time on Australian internet.

If multiple people are involved in a stream, to avoid synchronisation issues organise ahead of time what timestamp you will all start the recording at and have someone countdown so you all start it at the same time.

Chat Interaction

Oceanink Series streams are usually uploaded to YouTube as VODs, which does not have chat history. So when interacting with chat, please read out chat messages you are replying to before replying, even if you just summarise them. It also helps the person in chat know that you are replying to them, which is especially helpful when chat is moving quickly.

If you are commentating on the Oceanink Twitch channel and someone subs or cheers bits, please make sure to give them a heartfelt thank you!

Recorded Commentary

Recording commentary can be a lot less stressful than commentating live and is a great way to practice. Beware though – once you’ve watched a match once, it can be very hard to fake the excitement and surprise that comes from watching a match for the first time.

Recording Commentary Over a Match Recording

Most video editing software should have an option to record a commentary or voiceover track onto a video. You could also use a streaming program like OBS to record your screen and your commentary while you watch it using a video player. Please try to only record commentary during the match recording. Commentary without game audio or video can sound odd.

Recording Commentary Separately

You can record your commentary with any audio recording program, eg. Audacity. If you are sending the commentary recording to someone else to combine with the game recording, try to give them a reference point for synchronising the two. For example: start your commentary with a countdown to when you start the match recording.

As above, please try to only record commentary during the match recording. And if you’re working with another commentator, two options for recording your voices is to have one person record their microphone and the voice call audio, or to each record your microphones and combine the recordings later. The former is easier, but the latter produces cleaner audio.