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Bannister Lake and Tagboard Extend Social Media Capabilities Across All Media

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Social media plays an integral role in viewer engagement but moderating,visualizing and distributing social content in real-time has its unique challenges. The integration of Tagboard’s community-centric social media platform into Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software provides event and broadcast producers with the ability to manage and distribute social media to the widest variety of display options. Bannister Lake developers created a custom reader for Tagboard helping to ensure that the social media aggregation tool could take full advantage of Bannister Lake’s BLADE RESTful API for strategic distribution to any graphics engine for playback.

At the recent US Open Tennis Championships, Tagboard aggregated and moderated social content from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram which was then funneled through Chameleon. Chameleon was used to create and populate 15 different screen layouts that were then distributed to place-based screens throughout the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY.

“At live events, social media provides an immediate sense of interactivity and engagement that adds a great deal of editorial value. By integrating Tagboard into Chameleon we have taken another step towards becoming a complete visualization solution.” says Georg Hentsch, President at Bannister Lake.

Chameleon, Bannister Lake’s powerful data engine, is a robust data management solution that handles multiple data feeds from a diverse set of sources. At the US Open, Chameleon managed over 250,000 XML files corresponding to the participation of over 1000 players playing hundreds of matches. In addition to Tagboard social media content, Chameleon was also responsible for other data sources including weather, event news, schedules, headshots, scores, sets winners, standings and other tournament related data. Player’s personal biographical data such as place of birth, height, weight, handed and others information was also included.

Chameleon’s unique ability to use automation to manage, visualize and distribute a diverse set of real-time data sources provides audiences with timely, relevant content while introducing new storytelling and monetization possibilities to producers.


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Bannister Lake’s Elector Software Powers Global Television’s Coverage of the 2018 New Brunswick Provincial Election

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It was one of Canada’s most exciting election nights ending with a minority provincial government and two fringe parties playing a vital role in the final outcome. Once again, Global Television turned to Bannister Lake’s Elector to provide and parse the media consortium data and drive real-time election graphics. Global covered the election online and cut into programming with regular news updates. In addition to populating Global’s broadcast graphics with election results, Bannister Lake software allowed Global to create web solutions that pulled specific election results and displayed them on the globalnews.ca website.

Global used Elector combined with Bannister Lake’s Flow content management solution to provide a complete election night data workflow. Elector incorporates a high level of automation and is managed via a web-based interface that can be accessed by an unlimited number of users. The solution provides editorial teams with the ability to filter and track races, make race calls, and build playlists of graphics to be put to air.

Flow provides broadcasters with the ability to re-purpose content and access it either directly from the database or in an XML or JSON format, which is ideal for use on websites or mobile devices. Bannister Lake’s RESTful API, BLADE can then take the repurposed content and feed it into a web widget or another broadcast presentation solution such as augmented or virtual reality. It’s a powerful end to end solution that is versatile enough to satisfy a wide variety of election night requirements across all platforms.


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Advantage Chameleon: Bannister Lake’s Data Solution Scores at the US Open  

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By Alain Savoie, Creative and Technical Director, Bannister Lake Software

The 2018 US Open celebrated its 50th year this season at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. Approximately 870 players took part in the two-week tournament which included 899 games played with over 700,000 spectators in attendance. Fans got a glimpse of their favorite tennis stars making history, including Naomi Osaka, the first Japanese player ever to win a Grand Slam singles championship and Novak Djokovic tying Pete Sampras’ record to become third among all-time Grand Slam champions.

While ESPN held the exclusive broadcast rights to the tournament, this was Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment’s (VWSE) sixth year of producing the video board and LED production for the main show courts & around the grounds. Marquee matches took place at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, alongside a full slate of daytime and evening matches inside the newly re-constructed Louis Armstrong Stadium and the intimate Grandstand Stadium. Van Wagner’s responsibilities included both in-stadium screen production for the 3 show courts, as well as the numerous grounds displays showcasing the matches on 16 televised courts throughout the facility.

On July 10th, approximately 5 weeks before the start of the tournament, Alain Savoie from Bannister Lake and J. Marty Dormany of The Academy of Lower Thirds were approached by Nate McCoart, Director of Technical Operations at VWSE Productions to produce a Ross Video XPression-based graphics package for the tournament.

VWSE is no stranger to XPression as they have deployed XPression Graphics Engines on numerous events over the past years, but this was their first implementation of XPression at the US Open.

“For a few years now we have been wanting to leverage XPression and the ability to render dynamic graphics in real-time for this particular project. We are thrilled that Alain was able to make that vision a reality with us this year and look forward to continuing our relationship with Bannister Lake and AcademyL3.  Without an all-star team from the designers to the operators, we would never be able to make this happen, especially given the timeline and complex nature of the project.” – Nate McCoart, Director of Technical Operations at VWSE Productions.

The project also included data integration with SMT, the tournament’s data provider. The signage around the facility included standard 16×9 video displays, ribbon boards, a vertical tower screen and an 80 foot by 12 foot “Superwall” in the South Plaza outside Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Having multiple displays with non-standard aspect ratios meant we needed to incorporate Ross’ new multi-display real-time graphics designer and controller, Tessera feature in XPression.

While in principle, creating a graphic package in 5 weeks is relatively do-able, it became far more complicated considering the tight turnaround and the method in which  SMT was going to be providing data, which included different xml files sent every second that a matches’ statistical data was being updated (roughly 200,000 xml files), we needed a solution that could handle and filter the vast amounts of data, and in turn generate a simple API that multiple XPression systems could handle.

With production taking place in 3 separate stadiums as well as on the grounds, this data feed needed to incorporate a simple call up method for any possible matches. In addition, the XPression graphic scenes would have to accommodate the variations between Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles and Doubles. These requirements were extremely complex and required a mission-critical solution quickly.

“We knew Bannister Lake’s Chameleon could handle the complexity. It’s the industry’s most powerful engine for aggregating any data type and it’s the only way we could have pulled off the US Open project under the extreme time constrictions; that and all the hard work by Alain and the team.”- Georg Hentsch , President Bannister Lake.

Chameleon software has been used for years to create and automate broadcast tickers, primarily in the Canadian media market. Chameleon’s features include aggregating and moderating feeds such as news, weather, sports, traffic, financial, elections and social media data. Its specialty has always been to generate automated rundowns and output tickers for network television and digital signage. Only recently has Chameleon been utilized for event-based productions; most notably eSports tournaments which typically includes hundreds of matches played over a short amount of time with a large number of players.

Sound familiar?

Some graphic samples were sent to our team on July 26th, and we began receiving data from SMT on Aug 8th for testing, which meant we were able to create and test scenes and scenarios. Chameleon has tight integration with Ross XPression’s API, which meant, dealing with ticker elements such as matches in-progress/scheduled/completed, along with messaging and social media, were treated as broadcast tickers, as oppose to native sequence items. However, the pressing question was: Does Chameleon’s ticker support integration with Ross’s Tessera option? This has never been tested before.

We were thrilled to discover that not only does Chameleon support Tessera, it was relatively easy to create a display solution. With only 30 minutes of playing around with the feature, we were able to quickly build large formatted scenes, populated with Chameleon data, and generate large scaled tickers for venue and in-stadium signage.

Working with VWSE, Alain Savoie has implemented the first XPression Tessera or Tessera SE project without Ross Video or one of our dealers assisting.  Tessera was created to synchronize the outputs of multiple XPression engines together to create one massive display. The first project for XPression Tessera was over 21,000 pixels wide and used up to 12 channels. That can be intimidating, but Alain has done what we hoped others will; tried it and found out it isn’t as scary as it seems. Instead, it can be quite empowering.” – Patrick Twomey, Director of Xpression Product Marketing

The XPression scenes required style layouts that complimented the 5 set matches for men’s singles, the 3 set matches for women’s and other single events, and the double names for doubles matches. This was needed for both the ticker solutions and for the main screen broadcast. Therefore, on the automated ticker side, the layouts needed to change automatically, while on the main screen, the operators needed to guarantee the scenes were going to look correct, regardless of what matches were played. This meant the XPression scenes required a lot of Visual Logic, a feature that made it easy to program the different layouts in XPression.

Visual Logic screen shot

 The manual main screens were also automated up to a point. Chameleon generated an XML URL, which included everything that we needed for every match during the tournament. Using some of XPression’s powerful scripting features, the entire graphics package would change based on the single MatchID SMT provided. By entering the match ID number into Ross Video’s Dashboard, it automatically transformed the scene layouts to accommodate the match type and populated the text fields and graphics for every aspect of the match, including player names, flags, headshots, scores, sets winners, challenges remaining and others. In some cases, the PlayerID generated from the MatchID, linked to player profile scenes which included their personal info such as place of birth, height, weight, handed and others.

Chameleon data

This workflow was significant for the post production process as well. In the past, editors and graphic designers had to work throughout the night to create the next day’s matchup graphics. Utilizing XPression powered by Chameleon’s data integration, everything was rendered in real-time. As a result, hundreds of graphic design and operator hours were saved during this years’ production.

The production was executed flawlessly without any graphic issues. We had a total of 7 XPressions running simultaneously with 15 output channels, displaying 15 different screen layout styles using Tessera. On four of the XPressions, Tessera was running as a single engine in order to call up full frame graphics and stadium fascias at the same time. Plus, we had 11 tickers running different content on different layouts as well.

“Because the Xpression project and the Bannister Lake data software was set up so well, it allowed us the flexibility to handle the workflow changes as they popped up. Because we had to trigger the fullscreen clips and fascia simultaneously, we had hotkeys all over the keyboard! That simple Xpression feature improved our workflow by letting us keep the focus in one place. I think the client was impressed with how smoothly everything went, including some last-minute changes on the fly.“ – Jeannemarie Tracey & Michelle Lippitt,  New York based Xpression/Chyron Operators

The XPression templates were created with enough flexibility that CG operators had the choice between using linked data or manual entry or using Sequencer instead of Dashboard. The original concept was for the XPression scenes to be fully operational using Dashboard so that scenes and templates could be called up using a single button. However, the system had the flexibility to allow the 4 operators working on the project to use the operational workflow that worked best for them, all driven by the single MatchID.

Dashboard was used to trigger tickers for the place-based signage around the venues. In some cases, the vision switcher was also able to trigger the different ticker layouts for the South Plaza Superwall at the venue using Dashboard in combination with RossTalk commands.

Throughout the event we were also receiving closed caption data from VITAC, for both the Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong stadiums, connected via Datalinq. Our original idea was to have the Datalinq server at one location feed all the systems. Although in principle it was a good idea, it did create concerns if something were to happen to the data server. So instead, we had the Datalinqs spread to multiple locations. Closed captioning had its own Datalinq on a separate system. The Chameleon Datalinq was setup locally on every XPression. Social media and special 50th anniversary player data was on another Datalinq server.

Chameleon however, was installed locally on one of the backup XPressions, serving as the gateway between SMT and output. As backup, our SMT US Open reader was also being used simultaneously on our Bannister Lake Cloud server in case anything were to happen. If the primary server were to go down, it was an easy swap of IP addresses to get our score bugs and data up and running.

Since we were all enclosed on our own network, the production staff was using an open WiFi connection. We needed an easy way for them to enter daily and hourly messages on our venue tickers. Bannister Lake’s Community data service provided the solution. We created an account for the US Open producers and had them enter stories on our cloud instance. Using our Bannister Lake’s Community reader, we pulled those news items every minute and automatically had them appear on the tickers, without any operator intervention.

In addition to news, match stats, games in-progress, schedule, completed and weather info, we also showcased the grounds’ practice schedule, which automatically appears every morning as fans entered the venue. Fans could also interact with social media using Tagboard’s Social Media engine which was powering the moderation of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram photos, all funneled through Chameleon.

The US Open was an absolute beast of a project, and we learned a lot from the experience. We’re extremely confident with the solutions we devised and discovered that we could apply these same techniques on multiple types of high-profile, complex, data-centric events and production scenarios. A big thank you to VWSE Productions for accommodating Bannister Lake during this production as well as to The Academy of Lower Thirds for entrusting us with this assignment.


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Bannister Lake Software a Smash at the 2018 US Open

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Bannister Lake played a vital role at this year’s US Open at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. Bannister Lake’s powerful data engine Chameleon served as the data management solution for multiple data feeds from a diverse set of sources. Chameleon was used to reformat, filter, moderate and distribute data and graphics to dozens of various shaped digital signs throughout the tennis facility. Bannister Lake was instrumental in devising the workflows and processes that handled over 250,000 XML files corresponding to the participation of over 1000 players playing hundreds of matches. The complexity of the project was compounded with Chameleon also taking on responsibility for managing other data sources including weather, event news, social media, schedules, headshots, scores, sets winners, standings and other tournament related data. Player’s personal biographical data such as place of birth, height, weight, handed and others information was also included.

“We knew Bannister Lake’s Chameleon could handle the complexity. It’s the industry’s most powerful engine for aggregating any data type and it’s the only way we could have pulled off the US Open project under the extreme time constraints; that and all the hard work by our team.” said Georg Hentsch, President Bannister Lake.

“Our extensive work in both the broadcast market and in eSports prepared us for the production challenges of the US Open. Chameleon has powered a variety of event-based productions, most notably eSports tournaments which typically includes hundreds of matches played over a short amount of time with a large number of players. So, we were more than ready.” said Alain Savoie, Creative and Technical Director at Bannister Lake.

Bannister Lake’s unique workflow was built around leveraging the single Match ID unique identifier which was used to drive all the data associated with a particular match. Chameleon was then able to use automation to populate the various graphics templates and tickers that were in turn distributed via Ross Video’s Tessera and XPression graphics engines to the screens throughout the facility. In total, 7 XPressions running simultaneously with 15 output channels, displaying 15 different screen layout styles were utilized. In addition, 11 tickers running different content on different layouts were also being used.

In addition to Chameleon, Bannister Lake provided a complete cloud-based backup system and their unique Community data service. Community allowed editorial and production teams at the US Open to contribute news and essential information to the hundreds of thousands of tennis fans who attended the event.

 


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Bannister Lake’s Chameleon Serving Up Aces at the US Open

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The US Open Tennis Tournament at Flushing Meadows, NY is underway and at the heart of the enormous task of managing and visualizing the event data is Bannister Lake’s Chameleon. Chameleon software is handling thousands of datasets, moderating and distributing schedule information, matches, standings, social media, news, weather and more. Cloud backup is also provided by Chameleon.

Data projects of this magnitude require collaboration with multiple partners. Bannister Lake is working alongside Marty Dormany of The Academy of Lower Thirds and the team at Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. Through the combined efforts of these talented professionals, tennis fans throughout the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center receive live updates and vital tournament information from place-based digital signs throughout the facility.

“It’s one of our largest and most complex projects”, says Alain Savoie, Bannister Lake’s Creative Director. “There are 763 players competing with 899 matches to be played over the 2-week period. Every single game needs the ability to be called up on the fly and include match data and player data.”

Chameleon is not only parsing and managing data, it is also providing the event’s scorebug and ticker solution. In all, 11 different ticker feeds are being generated and feeding various screens around the venue. In-stadium scorebugs are being displayed in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and in The Grandstand. In addition to Chameleon, Bannister Lake’s Community data service is being used by production teams to input content.

The US Open signage graphics are being run off 7 Ross Video XPressions outputting to 15 channels displaying 15 different screen layout styles using XPression Tessera and controlled through Ross Video DashBoard. Chameleon’s tight integration with Ross Video products assures operational efficiencies and outstanding performance.

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon with its powerful data engine, innovative parsing, versatile data reformat tools and ease of operation and setup make it the industry’s best choice for complex, mission-critical data visualization tasks.


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Chameleon powering digital signage systems at the US Open Grand Slam Tennis Tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York

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Here’s the pain point: You need to manage an incredibly large amount of real-time data coming from multiple sources in a variety of formats. All those complex data sets need to be moderated, parsed, reformatted, visualized and then distributed to various screens/devices. Somehow you have to boil all that content down to present a compelling visual storyline that engages your audience. Bannister Lake’s Chameleon product handles this task everyday working with North America’s top broadcasters.

For the next 2 weeks Chameleon is powering digital signage systems at the US Open Grand Slam Tennis Tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York. Chameleon is managing thousands of data files from a diverse set of sources and distributing them to approximately 100 screens spread over the tournament’s four main venues, keeping spectators informed. Chameleon’s powerful data engine, innovative parsing, flexible management tools and ease of operation and setup make it the best choice for complex, mission-critical data visualization tasks.


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Getting to the Heart of the Story: Superior On-Air Data Presentations with Chameleon’s Query Functionality

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Making sense out of vast amounts of data is a challenge facing anyone involved with the information economy. But this challenge is especially onerous in the world of broadcast television. Broadcasters not only have to retrieve the vital content they require editorially, they then must edit it, moderate it, visualize it and manage its distribution. In a breaking news situation, this process must happen quickly and accurately. As broadcasters launch various companion services on cable, the web, OTT and digital signage, for different audiences and with different revenue models, the management of data content becomes even more complex.

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software product includes a powerful data parsing tool called Query that provides producers with incredible flexibility and adept data management features. Query allows specific data assets to be identified, modified and in conjunction with BLADE, Chameleon’s RESTful API, be brought into and played back through virtually any graphics engine, including on the web. Bannister Lake developed Query to fully leverage the power of SQL SELECT across its database schema. This functionality allows data-sets to be aggregated, grouped and fully customized providing real time, dynamic results. Furthermore, specific queries can be saved, modified and shared among users across an entire organization, vastly improving on-air editorial, refining workflows and putting content to air. A typical example may be a broadcaster that needs to pull only the National Weather Service data pertaining to potential wildfire conditions. Query can parse through all the NWS data and pull only the data-sets that correspond to specific locations, temperature, precipitation and geographic conditions. BLADE can then be used to bring this data content into a graphic engine, a virtual reality system or a ticker for real-time visualization.

By applying the combination of Query and BLADE functionality, media organizations can insure that their extensive investments in data content tell the best story possible while being comprehensively monetized leading to a greater ROI.

Query of NHL Top 10 Goals


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Chameleon: Drive On-Air Graphics Directly from Google Sheets

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With Chameleon’s new Google Sheets Custom Reader, media producers can automatically pull data content from Google Sheet cells and populate graphic templates. Producers can take advantage of Google Sheets’ sharing capabilities and have multiple users contributing content. Plus, content can be organized and displayed using the Google sheet tab which automatically provides a topic name for content.

Chameleon’s Google Sheets Custom Reader can handle multiple sheets and tabs providing an efficient and simple way to display complex graphics for broadcast, signage and web. It’s an elegant way to present sports scores, ESports content and News tickers.

Chameleon is the industry’s most advanced broadcast data engine providing users the ability to input any kind of data to populate and manage graphic templates.


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Bannister Lake’s Chameleon: From Branding to Tickers, The Industry’s Single Solution for Data Driven Graphics.

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Broadcasters everywhere are recognizing the revenue opportunities,operational efficiencies and cost-savings that can be realized by fully leveraging data. Television stations, networks, OTT services, digital signage networks and other digital media operations use data in two distinct ways; to manage internal operations (traffic systems, advertising accounting systems) and to visualize specific content on-air (news, weather, sports, promos). But connecting the two and in turn creating, administering and monetizing graphical content associated with data has always been a challenge.

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon resolves the complexities of data-graphics co-ordination by providing media organizations with a single powerful solution for managing, visualizing and distributing any data type. Chameleon combines the features and capabilities of two of Bannister Lake’s previous products, Super Ticker and Brando, to create a powerful solution that is both data and playout agnostic.

Bannister Lake takes the position that no matter if the requirement is displaying live news tickers, presenting election results, running snipes or the strategic co-ordination with a station’s traffic system, a single solution can and should provide all the necessary requirements to use data efficiently and productively.

Though playout agnostic, Chameleon extends its tight integration with Ross Video XPression and improved support with XPression Project Server including automated deployment, ensuring all systems across the network have the latest, up-to-date, graphic templates.

Chameleon provides full “as run” logs for promos and sponsorships with a variety of support specifically for campaign tracking including the ability to track and account for promos and sponsorships throughout the broadcast day.

Chameleon’s Query function provides broadcasters with the flexibility to use data sources in exciting new ways to create rules governing the playback of content. Stations can leverage a variety of external and internal data conditions to determine if and when branding and sponsorship content should appear on-air. For example, a soft drink snipe may only appear when the temperature reaches a certain threshold, or a special baseball themed offer may only appear when the home team has won the game. Query also allows media organizations to co-ordinate and trigger other related content alongside sponsorships and promos to drive new revenue. A commercial for a car dealership could automatically trigger a snipe promoting a new program sponsored by the same car dealership. Using Query broadcast sales can create premium sponsorship offers that are targeted or co-ordinated with specific events.

Complex co-ordination with multiple media outlets is made easy with Chameleon. As a single software solution managing centralized data, advertising and promos can be strategically positioned to help audiences migrate to various companion media properties. This creates new revenue possibilities by organizing and managing campaigns across several different media channels.

Chameleon’s ‘Tag Time’ feature allows media organizations to leverage data and templating to update and position promos strategically. Tag Time automatically places promos at pre-planned spots during the daypart to pull audiences into primetime.

Chameleon from Bannister Lake is the industry’s only “one-stop” solution that transforms any kind of data into graphic content that can be used on the widest variety of editorial, branding and sponsorship applications. With features that drive new revenue and simplify operations, Chameleon provides media organizations with a path to new revenue opportunities and cost savings while executing flawlessly on-air.

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.


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Bannister Lake Chameleon powers The Morning Show on Global News

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Bannister Lake Chameleon plays a key role delivering real-time content for The Morning Show on Global News across Canada. Chameleon manages News, Weather, Sports, Traffic, Finance and Promos for playout, ingesting and managing everything from international news to local sports scores for regional playout.

Global’s use of BLADE, Chameleon’s restful API, enabled their technical and creative team to deliver a compelling localized on air presentation for multiple locations.

Chameleon delivers live content for RossVideo XPression, Vizrt, Chyron, Pixel Power, ClassX, Imagine Versio and many other broadcast graphics platforms.

Global News Morning Show