Query with Francis Chan

This summer, every couple weeks, we ask one of our staff members 10 questions. This week we chat with Francis Chan, Director of Software Development.


  1. What do you do at BL? What’s your chief project?

I work mainly on a number of things. Some of which are Score bugs, Elections player, Still Store, Flow and custom projects. Currently, my main project is Zeus, which is an extension of the Still Store project. Where Still Store plays out images and some video clips, Zeus will focus on video clip play out.

  1. Can you pinpoint when you decided to go into software development?

Although I was interested in software development early on in my university days, it wasn’t the main focus. I had intended to pursue IC (integrated circuit) development but realized that it didn’t feed my need for fast feedback. So after finishing university I decided to pursue programming as a career instead.

  1. What’s a genuine perk that people wouldn’t know about the job, as a software developer?

There are actually a number of perks. One is that you get to see what you are producing work pretty quickly (or not). That’s what I meant about fast feedback. Another perk is that all you really need is for your work is a good laptop and internet – which means you can pretty much work anywhere you like and don’t really have to be ‘stuck’ in a single environment.

  1. What motivates you?

I think we will keep improving the workflow for our customers. It’s always been a client-driven company with the primary goal of improving the day-to-day operations of our customers, and I think we’ll keep that focus.

  1. Have any favorite songs that help you get things done during your day?

I really don’t listen to music when I work. However, I do enjoy pop songs from the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s.



  1. Who or what influenced you during your early years? Was it a movie? A tech leader? A teacher?

There hasn’t been really any one thing that influenced me. I had always had a curiosity about how things worked when I was young – tearing things apart to see what was inside and how it was put together. That really pushed me to be an engineer but software development was ultimately more satisfying.

  1. Have a fantasy project that you would love to work on?

I would actually like to work on a video game but that’s not what BL is about so the next best thing is working with output graphics like in the Elections Player or Zeus!

  1. Any predictions as to where the industry will be heading within the next five years?

For the broadcast industry, it’s definitely OTT or rather OTT becoming the norm.

  1. How do you see Bannister Lake’s role in your future prediction(s)?

BL will have a hand in helping broadcast companies transition to delivering content over internet. On top of that, the large amount of data that is required to coordinate and drive broadcast output will always be a focus at BL – perhaps even more so in the future. BL has always strived to provide software to sensibly manage multiple sources of data, control information and output content (videos/audio/images).

  1. Finally, what’s the one thing you would change about the industry?

I wouldn’t know what to change – what I’d like to see is that BL products get more exposure and used more!


Ross’ XPression Brand-it and Tick-it Launch at News 12


Ross Video’s XPression Brand-it and Tick-it Launch at News 12 in New York

CAMBRIDGE, ON 07-10-2017 – Bannister Lake and Ross Video continue to provide current news and weather media companies with the latest in branding and ticker workflow systems.  Adding to that extensive list is the recent purchase of Ross’ XPression Brand-it and Tick-it by Altice USA’s News 12 Traffic and Weather suite of channels in the New York Metropolitan Area. Final training and orientation was completed last month.

“We provided a data, branding and ticker solution for News 12’s five weather and traffic stations that service the tri-state area,” stated Georg Hentsch, president of Bannister Lake. “News 12 wanted an automated solution to display up-to-the minute weather conditions along with public transit status, local traffic conditions, drive times and weather alerts.”

“Ross Video and the XPression team are proud to partner with News 12 to provide unique news and information for ticker, time/temperature bugs and sponsor integration on each of their unique regional channels in the largest television market in the USA, ” states Patrick Twomey, director of marketing, product management and business development – XPression for Ross Video.

 XPression Brand-it is an automated, multi-channel, collaborative branding workflow server, designed to simplify complex channel branding requirements. All access to Brand-it is browser based, allowing anyone connected to a local or wide-area network to enter or schedule content from any location. Essentially, Brand-it is a workflow server that operates as a “plug and play” model, making it easier for station employees with appropriate access to quickly and easily develop their brand through scalable channel modules.

To test drive Brand-it or Tick-it call our sales staff to arrange a meeting with a  representative at Ross or Bannister Lake:

sales@bannisterlake.com sales@rossvideo.com



About Ross Video

Passionate about live production, Ross Video designs, manufactures and delivers dependable technology and services that power exceptional live video productions seen by billions of viewers around the world every day. Ross Video’s goal is to make it easy for customers to create compelling news, weather and sports broadcasts, engaging material for sports stadium screens, legislative assemblies, entertainment shows and rock concerts, and inspiring content for houses of worship.

Relentlessly innovating, Ross Video delivers the world’s widest range of products and services for augmented reality and virtual sets, mobile live-event solutions, real-time motion graphics, robotic camera systems, social-media management, production switchers, routers, infrastructure products, video servers, newsroom systems, terminal equipment and more.

Ross products and services are designed to offer best-in-class system integration and unmatched customer choice by both working together seamlessly and integrating tightly with third-party solutions.

Ross Video has offices around the world, and provides free-for-life telephone support staffed by technical experts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—even for products bought on eBay. Recognizing the time-critical nature of the broadcast industry, all Ross employees are empowered to provide “whatever it takes” customer service, even down to renting helicopters when necessary to deliver needed parts and service.


About Bannister Lake Inc.

Bannister Lake is a leading provider of professional video graphic display solutions for broadcast television, cable, satellite, audio/visual and information presentation applications worldwide. Our solutions integrate seamlessly with your existing infrastructure while automating the integration and display of external data sources, improving the productivity of your organization. Visit us online at www.bannisterlake.com.

Ross Video Media Contact: Bannister Lake Media Contact:

Sara Bell, 

Media Relations Specialist 

Tel: +1 613-652-3020  
Email: sbell@rossvideo.com

Twitter: @ross_video 



Stephanie Daye

Director, PR and Communications

Email: stephanie@bannisterlake.com

Twitter: @bannisterlake




Query With Pete Shields

Pete Shields is the Executive Producer of News 12 in New York.

With 5 stations the company looks to Pete and his team to quickly process data on a daily basis for over 3 million subscribers.

News 12 Traffic and Weather Channels  regional hyper-local television channels owned and operated by News 12 Networks (Altice USA), the first, largest and most watched regional news provider in the US.  They recently updated their 5 traffic and weather stations using Ross Xpression, powered by Bannister Lake’s OEM product Brand-it and Tick-it, a network branding and automated news ticker solution.

Bannister Lake sat down with News 12’s Pete Shields to talk about Brand-it and Tick-it.

Bannister Lake

Good afternoon. How are things going?  I know News 12 launched your new look early last week, and I wanted to get your take on Brand-it and Tick-it?

Pete Shields

So far our experience has been excellent. Honestly our working relationship with Bannister Lake so far has been unparalleled. The customer service has been awesome. Al and Georg have been incredibly receptive regarding any changes that we were requesting.  We had a joke here at the office; we actually asked for something and the next morning the new software version was waiting for us.


That’s good. When you are dealing with a larger company sometimes you kind of get lost in the shuffle.


It’s been an absolutely incredible service experience. I highly recommend them to anybody who is looking for a ticker solution.


Good to know. Can I ask, how you are using the service?


What we’ve done is created an info bar for our five regional traffic and weather channels. So we are using it to update automated traffic and weather data/information 24/7.  We are actually doing it through a mix of graphics.  We also have animated sponsorship logos so the entire thing works interactively to pull in the right information and get the playlists the way we want. The most important factor was to not bury people in certain topics but to allow them to move freely between different pieces of editorial content and have it all work well with the sponsorship opportunities.


Can I call you in a few months for more information regarding how your sponsorship platform works?


Absolutely. The two reasons we were able to sell this service to our management was, first, that it replaced a couple of services that were at end of life which was going to be equal in cost Brand-it and Tick-it so purchasing this with the added flexibility fit our budget. Second, Brand-it and Tick-it’s animation capabilities.  We were working with still graphics only and wanted to overhaul the look, add content, and ever so importantly, add value to sponsorship opportunities.  So to answer your question, we’ve only begun with the new sponsorship opportunity because we just launched but our sales team is optimistic and excited by what we are now able to do.


Of course. You need time.


It’s difficult to track right now with the sponsorship but we feel we are starting in a good place after what we spent to replace the equipment that, quite simply, wasn’t as flexible.


And Tick-it and Brand-it are ever evolving platforms. The software is constantly being developed. You’ll get updates from Ross and Bannister Lake, with additional features to show you how to monetize.


Yeah we had talked about that. That was one of the things that I was getting at too is that we also suggested a number of features. An incredible number of features over the last 3 months. The Bannister Lake team was so responsive each time we requested a feature, new versions of the software was available to us so quickly, performing exactly the way we wanted those new features to act.


With assistance from clients such as yourself, that’s how we can improve on our products. Every package has to suit a particular style of production.


I have other vendors. We ask for feature upgrades and we are on a list and we may or may not make it to the next release. With Bannister Lake we weren’t even waiting for a release. It was the next morning! It was like alright – load it up!


We like to be responsive. Historically, the company operates as a hybrid – responsively tech based but also service based. We’ll get in touch in 6 months to see how it’s evolving. Best of luck.


Great. You too.

Query with Alain Savoie

Alain Savoie is our Creative and Technical Director at Bannister Lake and our first volunteer to participate in our summer long series: Query with…   Where every other week I’ll ask one of our staffers ten questions, to help our clients better understand masters behind the curtains.

Before we begin, what’s your primarily role with Bannister Lake?

I think the best way to answer that is, I’m that bridge between the developers and the clients.  I usually partake in the creative design work, assist in building their graphic layouts and connect those scenes with our products.  I do some training and installing, and some support work where I can.   Basically, I try to make our product look good, which is fairly easy to do since the products speaks for themselves.


  1. Place where you are the happiest?


On vacation.. Which is rare.  I enjoy the beach relaxing or sightseeing ancient/historical locations.   Specifically war areas or wonders of the world.


  1. Who are some of your biggest life and career influencers?


Life always comes down to family and close friends.  When I need advice I know who to turn to.  As for career, my Media high-school teacher gave me a long leash, which in turn allowed me to make a project that got me into college, which in turn got me my first job.   Beyond that, just going with gut instincts.   


  1. Who or what made you want to get into this field?


As all things in life, a lot of it was accidental.   The music program in high school got canceled in grade 11, which left me with an open elective.  I took Media.   While in college, my main focus was graphics, and animation, though I did enjoy the control room environment.    Out of college, I was offered a job to help launch two digital stations Leafs and Raptors TV, as graphic designer and CG operator.  Because of the nature of the network being short in staff, I got my hands dirty in many aspects of the station.  Understanding Master Control systems, to various control room positions.  Eventually those skills led me to become a good consultant trainer in the broadcast field.


  1. What’s your vision for Bannister Lake?


A lot of it is dependant on the team.   We have an excellent group of developers that surprise me weekly with features.  My responsibility is to figure out ways of utilizing their innovative tools in a creative way.  Bannister Lake needs to keep up with the ever changing industry, and I believe we’re in a good position to take on the big players and the small ones alike.  


  1. If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?


Problem solver.  I know, it’s 2 words, but that’s what best describes me.  With regards to broadcasting, I feel like I have a good ability to dissect a situation relatively quickly and come up with a solution to the problem.  


  1. Where do you see broadcast industry moving within the next year? Next 2 years?


You hear about cord cutting and IP TV.  This isn’t new to anyone.  For years I’ve been a cord cutter myself, and believe in broadcasting with no borders.  At the same time, hyper local is still important.  I care if an event happens near where I live, where as it’s less important if it’s hundreds of kilometers away.  Therefore, localized news, data, sports all important, while enjoying well produced content regardless of where it originates.  


  1. What one piece of tech can you not live without and why?


Hate to say it, but smartphone.   As I travel a lot, the top 2 things you need would be Passport and phone.   From transferring money, to getting directions.  Or simply entertainment.   In the past, without a smartphone, you would need to carry so much.  Today, not so much.  


  1. If you were stranded on an island what fictitious person or thing would be on it?


 Pizza oven, a deck of cards and Kate Beckinsale.  (you said fictitious right? )


  1. Favorite meal/snack while you work?  


Crispers, BBQ, and some cheese… grapes maybe.   Which I will now get.  Or Mini Pizzas.    And Georg got me on Soda Stream.


  1. One song that describes the soundtrack of your life so far?


This answer would change daily.    For now, let’s go with a whole soundtrack… Empire Strikes Back by John Williams.


Help!! I need somebody…

Most people aren’t familiar with our site.  But, did you know we have a pretty good wiki!?

It was recently revamped to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.  And our developers frequently update the site whenever there are new features added.

Producers have Content Controls and Broadcast Controls.  Designers have Scene Tags information for objects and animation tags.

If you can’t find something, let us know.  It may be because we’ve misplaced it, or it’s too hard to find and we’ll need to fix it.


Community and Content Groups


Content Group Support

We’ve recently added a much requested feature in Super Ticker and Community:  Content Group Admin.   Essentially this means as a system Admin you can assign an Admin to a content group, which in turn will allow for that admin to create a series of user accounts for that specific content group.   This is especially useful with Community.  Along with this new feature, we’ve modified security groups to restrict what users are allowed to see.

Content Groups have also been updated across the board in anticipation for the big Community update.  All modules will support content groups in the near future.



WDAY in Fresno is about to start their winter season and one of the requests they had was to have over 300 users for each of their School Districts.  Hence, when there’s a snow storm and the schools are closed, the School district administrator can log onto Community and update their School Districts’ status.

After a status update, our new Community Reader will automatically update your own instance of Super Ticker, therefore, ready for broadcast.

Finally, the new update isn’t only limited to Closings, but also Events, Stories and Scores.

Instructions on how to use this new Module is found here.


Query and Google


A couple weeks ago, Georg posted an article with new support for Google Login, Sheets (Scores and Closings) and Calendar.   Follow the links to view our wiki page offering step by step instructions on how to utilize these new features.


In addition to Google API, standard Query templates have been added when updating Super Ticker.  I’ve also added some Query samples on our wiki for you to use and test.   Query is also supported in our Blade Module.


Brando BXF support


A (Protrack by Myers Info Systems) reader was recently requested.  BXF is the supported format.  Brando already read many other traffic file formats, but BXF is one of the industry leading formats.  With this new reader, Brando finally covers almost 90% of all types of traffic data, making it compatible with virtually any broadcast master control traffic systems.


For more information fill out a Request A Quote or contact sales@localhost

Bannister Lake Adds Ground-Breaking Data Management Enhancements to Super Ticker Software

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Canada, October 19, 2016Bannister Lake has unveiled two powerful new enhancements for the company’s Super Ticker software, further extending the flexibility that has helped make it the preferred data aggregation and management solution for broadcasters and other media enterprises worldwide. The powerful new Query function creates dynamic playlists that automatically adapt the set of data being displayed based on deeply-configurable criteria, while the new Custom data type enables customers to define proprietary data structures tailored to their unique requirements.

“With the vast array of information sources available to the public today, broadcasters need to offer deeper and more precisely relevant data to engage their viewers and remain their audience’s preferred platform,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake.  “Our unique Query feature enables Super Ticker users to dynamically present exactly the data they need to tell their story, while effortlessly keeping it fresh and accurate. Meanwhile, our new Custom data type makes it easier than ever for our customers to create data containers that meet their individual needs without any extra overhead.”

As always, Super Ticker enables media organizations to easily aggregate and manage automated data feeds from premium third-party providers, and combine them with community-submitted information and locally-created content. Overcoming the near-immediate data obsolescence typical of manually-created playlists, the ground-breaking Query feature enables users to define criteria that dynamically generate up-to-the-second playlists from Super Ticker’s aggregated data.

Database inquiries are created using standard Structured Query Language (SQL) syntax, and stored unexecuted for subsequent use through playout rundowns or Super Ticker’s BLADE (Bannister Lake Active Data Exchange) API. The Query is only applied to the database at the last possible moment before the resulting data is needed, ensuring that the extracted information is always up to date. A Query creation wizard is provided to assist users who don’t have SQL experience, and Query definitions can be published for sharing and deployment amongst all Super Ticker customers worldwide.

“Creating playlists featuring constantly-changing data sets – such as listing close election races where incumbents are losing, stocks that are dropping faster than a specified threshold, or the five hottest cities on the planet at that moment – has previously been difficult if not impossible, as the list is out of date within seconds, minutes or hours of its creation,” said Hentsch. “Query enables dynamic playlists that give our customers the freedom to create data-rich broadcasts and displays based on virtually any criteria they can dream up.”

The second new Super Ticker enhancement, the Custom data type, provides a convenient and efficient means for users to store and manage their aggregated or locally-entered data in fully-customized structures. While Super Ticker’s standard data types – including sports scores, weather, financials, elections and many more – could already be extended by customers with additional fields to capture deeper data, the new Custom type takes this flexibility even further, enabling users to create entirely new structures from the ground up with only the fields they require. All Super Ticker functionality for using and managing standard data types can also be applied to Custom containers, including rundowns, the BLADE API, and the new Query feature.

A new version of Super Ticker featuring Query is available immediately, with the new Custom data type slated for a November release.  Existing Super Ticker customers with active maintenance agreements are eligible to receive the updates free of charge. For more information about Super Ticker and other Bannister Lake solutions, please visit www.bannisterlake.com.

Intro to the blog world

This blog is dedicated to our loyal customers who have used or are thinking of using any of our Bannister Lake products.

Every couple of weeks or so, we will provide tips and tricks, as well as updates and road-maps of our products.  It might be more frequent than that especially if we have something we’re excited to share with you.

So lets start.

Super Ticker

Our month of September has been busy.  Our developers have added a few features this past month for Super Ticker.

We’ve added a community module to Super Ticker which will soon read content from our Community Instances.

Yes, but Al, what does this mean???

It means with the upcoming winter season, you can assign accounts to school boards to populate school closures.  Or same with stores for the holiday season.  Community hockey teams can input the game’s results so that the data can be shared to media outlets or websites. It’s a great way to share important community data.

Click HERE for more information about Community.
http://community.bannisterlake.com  is currently LIVE.
For your free account, please email sales@localhost

Google Sheets

Do you want to manually insert score results from various leagues and games at once from a single shared location?  You can do so using Super Ticker, but it may become a hassle with all the clicking. An alternative is to use our new Google Sheets Score Reader.   This reader will link to any google sheet using our Scores Template and make it easy for production, or sports producers to enter results.

For more information, check out our wiki.

For more information on getting an update for Super Ticker, contact sales@localhost

A significant feature was added to Brando.  Some advanced BLADE features were added, which allows you to create a Query based on a channel in your database.  From there, an xml can be generated, allowing you to populate any CG system or Website with scheduling content.  The XML will dynamically update based on the time of day, so you will always be aware of what show is coming up next and on which channel.

For more information fill out a Request A Quote or contact sales@localhost

Bannister Lake Integrates NewTek NDI Technology for Live IP Production Workflows

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Canada, August 24, 2016 – Bannister Lake, a leading provider of broadcast data aggregation and graphics solutions, today announced its adoption of NewTek’s Network Device Interface (NDI™) technology for live IP production workflows over Ethernet networks. With the integration of NDI, Bannister Lake’s widely-deployed software offerings will be recognizable as video sources by other NDI-enabled devices and applications on the same network.

Bannister Lake’s initial use of NDI technology will be in the Super Ticker Chameleon data presentation, management and playout system for broadcast and information displays. Announced earlier this month, Super Ticker Chameleon extends Bannister Lake’s proven data aggregation platform with new graphics creation tools and hybrid playout capabilities, forming a tightly-integrated graphics and data engine for distribution targets ranging from television news channels to digital signage and websites. Chameleon’s NDI support enables real-time graphic and alpha channel playout to other NDI-enabled production solutions over an IP network.


“The broadcast and media production industries’ embrace of live, IP-based workflows continues to accelerate, both in IP-only deployment models and hybrid operations with baseband SDI,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “Our integration of NewTek’s NDI in Super Ticker Chameleon exemplifies our commitment to this transition. We have been impressed with both the NDI SDK itself and NewTek’s approach to making it an open technology, and we’re pleased to be working with them to deliver the benefits of IP production workflows to our customers.”

NewTek’s NDI technology enables multiple video systems and applications to identify and communicate bi-directionally with one another over IP, and to encode, transmit and receive many streams of high quality, low latency, frame-accurate video and audio in real time. This benefits any network-connected video device, including video mixers, graphics systems, capture cards, cameras and many other production devices and applications. Bannister Lake solutions will be part of the NewTek Developer Network, the industry’s largest ecosystem of IP-enabled products.

“IP workflows are revolutionizing video production, with the momentum driven by a combination of enabling technologies, customer demand and vendor support,” said Michael Kornet, executive vice president of Business Development for NewTek. “The adoption of NDI by innovators such as Bannister Lake for their best-of-breed solutions is helping to make it the most widely deployed IP production workflow on the market today, and we’re excited to welcome Bannister Lake to NewTek’s NDI ecosystem.”

NDI is now available from NewTek’s royalty free software developer kit (SDK) for any company looking to establish IP workflows within their organization, or in production tools and systems they manufacture.

Super Ticker Chameleon with NDI integration will be highlighted at the upcoming IBC2016 Conference and Exhibition, taking place September 9-13 in Amsterdam. Bannister Lake will exhibit at IBC2016 with partners including BroadStream Solutions (stand #8.B35) and Imagine Communications (stand #4.A01).