22.12.2016
Behind the face of ESL India
A quick peek at what goes on behind the camera and the stage and the people who make it happen...

The tension in the booth is palpable. With some Yoda level focus, he stares at the monitor, not missing a single frame. It feels as if his hands are a separate entity form his body as the rhythmic clicking and clunking of keys fills the room. His eyes dart from the corner of the scene to the centre time and again as the intensity on his face begins to take a form of it’s own. No ladies and gentlemen, I’m not describing the atmosphere in the players booth. No I’m not describing “psy” during one of his incredible clutches. I’m sitting in the production area behind the stage as I watch Anand “petrichor” Shankar, the dedicated observer for the Sostronk team who are in charge of the CS:GO production.

Here the battle is fought on a different field. The enemy is strong, resilient and for the most part not even human. It could be a power failure, a sound problem, an internet issue, a technical failure but these guys are equipped to deal with it all. Always alert, always ready on their toes, the guys working behind the stage are the real carries of any esports event. Be it the observers, the technicians, the sound guys, the production team, the admins, the camera guys it all comes down to some good teamwork, experience, preparation and the ability to adapt that makes everything click – just like top Counter Strike team.

Aniruddh Das handles the CS:GO production for the SoStronk team. He was a part of the backstage crew and the man behind all the live highlights and replays. Ani, who has a background in films, handles the production with relative ease and according him, a good rapport with his observer and general awareness during the games is the key here. He believes that 2017 will be an even bigger year in Counter Strike especially in the subcontinent. And with better toys and a larger setup we can only expect a sharp spike in the production value once that happens.

Anish Nemlekar is also part of this backstage crew. He is the technical admin for the tournament who facilitated many of the online matches as well as the ones at the LAN. He is also the resident inventory manager, keeping track of all the demos, stats, lobbies, vetoes etc. An avid esports enthusiast, Nemz also gives feedback to the guy handling the stream just to let them know how things are on the viewers side.

"We have come a long way in e-sports in terms of quality and user experience for online and LAN events for participants and viewers alike. There is still a lot of room for improvement and SoStronk will be upping our game in 2017".

A big shoutout to all the other guys who worked tirelessly backstage to keep things running to the best of their abilities. Big shoutouts to production guru Gautam “Virkaholic” Virk, Anup “Phobia” Dustakar”, Vageesh Bhan, Shefali Johnson, Swapnil Mahajan, Jaydeep Dey, Kunal Singh,Sanjeev Sharma, Rishaabh Vohra and of course the man himself, Akshat “Lordnod” Rathee who worked their asses off  to make this wonderful event happen.