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Bannister Lake Elector delivers Ontario Election results to Three Broadcasters in English and French.

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Bannister Lake played an important role during coverage of the June 7th Ontario 42nd general election delivering flawless results throughout the evening for three Ontario broadcasters. Bannister Lake’s Elector product provided editorial teams at Global Television, TVO and French language public broadcaster TFO with real-time results, advanced race filtering, and the ability to quickly and accurately create graphic playlists for broadcast.

Unlike previous elections, Elections Ontario utilized tabulators at many polling stations across the province which dramatically speed up the distribution of results data. Elector’s multi-user, web-based UI easily handled the deluge of data and provided producers and analysts with newsworthy voting trends, the ability to accurately make race calls and in turn translate those trends into powerful graphic presentations.

This election marked Global Television’s twelfth time using Elector on a major election broadcast. Beyond conventional broadcast graphics, Global used Elector’s RestAPI to integrate election data directly into augmented reality and virtual reality elements creating 3D interactive environments that complimented storytelling.

TVO first used Elector for the 2011 Ontario election and again in 2014. For the 2018 election broadcast, TVO used Elector to create a more analytical program featuring a wide variety of live data graphics that provided editorial context and insight.

This election was TFO’s first experience with Elector. TFO’s broadcast focused on Ontario’s Francophone population and used a combination of augmented and traditional graphics to convey the impact of election night. To accommodate TFO’s French language requirements, Bannister Lake translated the Elector UI into French ensuring TFO staff was able to fully utilize Elector’s capabilities. TFO also extended their broadcast by making their Elector generated graphics available on Facebook Live.

Bannister Lake provided all three broadcasters with a variety of professional services that complimented and enhanced their editorial and on-air capabilities. The Bannister Lake data integration team worked closely with the Canadian Media Election Consortium to ensure that results data flowed perfectly into each broadcaster’s Elector systems. The creative team led graphics integration connecting live data to graphic templates while ensuring that graphics performance was optimized. Bannister Lake led training sessions for editorial and production staff.

Elector is used throughout Canada and the US delivering reliable election night results and analysis for federal, regional and municipal races. An industry staple for over fourteen years, Elector can drive 2D and 3D graphic displays across any broadcast graphic playout system.


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Vern Freedlander Joins Bannister Lake

Bannister Lake is pleased to announce our newest team member Vern Freedlander. With his immense experience in broadcast newsroom operations and digital signage, he is a perfect fit in helping our products expand their reach.

Vern joins BL with extensive experience in broadcasting and digital signage. His broadcast career includes senior management roles at CTV News and Global News as a producer, director and creative director. At CTV, he helped launch CTV News Channel and worked on numerous elections, international summits and breaking news specials. At Global, Vern was part of the production team that launched the Global Television Network’s flagship newscast, Global National. While at Global he managed the network’s election data/graphics systems introducing new technologies and workflows allowing every market across Canada to produce high quality, competitive election night broadcasts.

Vern left day-to-day newsroom operations to join X2O Media, a Montreal based start-up, focused on software development serving the media, corporate communications and digital signage space. At X2O Vern combined his editorial, design and technical skills to generate new business opportunities and contribute to product development. Vern has a deep passion for live data and how it can be used to optimize content performance and distribution creating exciting business and communications opportunities for clients.


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EA’s eFIFA FUT Amsterdam

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The final leg of the eFifa FUT Global Series playoffs took place in Amsterdam over 6 days at the end of May.  128 players from around the world competed against each other for a chance to not only win this tournament, but to qualify for the FUT Grand Finals taking place in London in early August. 

Once again, Bannister Lake was called upon to provide moderated data for in show broadcast, and the venue’s digital signage. 

Since the tournament took place over 6 days, the requirements weren’t as complex as Manchesters’ tournament.  In Manchester, both Xbox and PS4 games were played at the same time, whereas in Amsterdam, only one console was played at a time.   This of course, didn’t diminish the quality of the production, but allowed us to focus more on the individual players and games. 

The biggest achievement in my opinion comes from this; A typical hockey, or baseball, or basketball or even soccer/football game, has your typical production crew.  A mobile truck, with a couple dozen camera feeds, 3-4 EVS operators, Technical Director, CG operator, Audio A1 and a couple A2s, a Stats producer, Associate Director, Director and Show Producer.  But for those broadcasts, it’s still a single game, taking place over 2-3 hours.   An eSports tournament is hundreds of games with hundreds of players over 8-10 hours, but the broadcast demands and requires the same quality output as your single game/2-team format.    

Some stats to ponder:

  • over 60 Xpression graphics templates built, linked to data provided by Chameleon
  • 472 games played during this Amsterdam tournament, with 10 different stats per game
  • 128 players, with 8 different individual stats per player
  • archived stats from Barcelona and Manchester totaling 944 games with 256 players
  • 2 Xpression operators, with 4 channels of output.
  • 2 automated Chameleon L-Bars (one with and without sponsors)
  • 2 automated digital signage feeds for in-house signage (Xbox and PS4 content)
  • exclusive news feeds content, entered by the talent and EA’s social media team 

With eSports broadcasts being produced more and more, with viewership increasing over the million mark, production demands will require things to be extremely efficient.   Chameleon is just one of those tools that help make something like this possible.  

Integrating the Chameleon into our Productions has super-charged the amount of info we’re able to communicate to our audiences.  For the past 2 seasons we’ve relied on the Chameleon architecture to power our onscreen info-graphics.  The system itself is very straightforward to integrate; Producers and Talent are able to update it in the heat of the action and most importantly –  using Chameleon has resulted in better storytelling, and more flexibility in how we tell those stories.

 

TJ Walker

Boombox Group

Head of Production

Bannister Lake wishes to thank Boombox Group for choosing Chameleon as their tool of choice for displaying and moderating the tournaments’ data. 

 

 


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FIFA World Cup 2018

BL is pleased to once again be providing the scorebug for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. TSN has the rights this year for the Canadian broadcasts of games beginning June 14th. Although the broadcast rights have changed over the years with different permutations of CBC, TSN and Sportsnet owning/sharing them, this will be the 5th FIFA World Cup in a row BL has provided the scorebug.

From the 2002 2-0 Brazil win over Germany in Yokohama, Japan in 2002 to 2014’s dominant performance by Germany to take the final game 1-0 against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, BL has been there to provide viewers with the crucial scoring information counting down all 64 games for each tournament.

Community will be publishing all the news and scores from the world cup. This data will be made available for all either by mapping to community from your Chameleon instance or by using BLADE (Chameleon’s RESTful api) on the following links:

We’re all looking forward to watching this year’s edition of the greatest show in sports. Good luck to TSN on its broadcast of all 64 games.


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EA’s FIFA eSports Manchester

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The 2nd leg of the eSports FIFA eWorld Cup Tournament took place in Manchester Apr 13-15 2018.  Once again Bannister Lake was hired by Boombox to assist with aggregating and moderating stats for the tournament using it’s powerful Chameleon platform.  This time around however, Chameleon was truly tested to its full potential. Like the previous tournament, Chameleon was used as the central platform to aggregate data from game ops who entered in tournament scores and stats.  This includes individual player stats (games played, wins, losses, goals for and against, GFA/GAA and win order) and individual game stats (Games 1/2/ET/PK results, goals/shots for player 1&2).  And like the previous tournament, these stats were feeding 2 Ross XPression character generators to populate player and head to head boards throughout the tournament. This was done by using Chameleon’s restfulAPI Blade and Chameleon’s query module working with XPression’s datalinq tool using datalink keys.  This method allowed for the operators to enter a player’s name in a search box, which in turn called up all the players stats.

While Chameleon was responsible for populating templates in XPression, Chameleon’s own rendering engine was used during the tournament as well, in a form of an L-Bar.   In February, this L-Bar was used exclusively to showcase stats, social media and news items to the viewers, but this time, we’ve added a feature to display sponsors.

Because of Chameleon’s ability to provide AsRuns, we integrated the sponsors to be displayed on the L-Bar itself and scheduled the sponsors to appear on-air at a specific time during the day using Assets Schedule.  If the L-Bar wasn’t on-air during that particular time, we used Chameleon’s Switcher app to trigger the sponsor manually as well. At the end of the tournament, we handed off a PDF of the played sponsors and their duration on screen, providing another element for the production.

In February, the production and social media staff also used Chameleon to enter news stories and filter social media entries.  Like in February, the news entries being entered were used as an exclusive gateway to viewers watching, as oppose to simply relying on social media.  Only viewers of the show were exposed to in-depth analysis and on the floor reporting. The influencers and casters were responsible for entering anything they heard on the floor (using an iPad) and the social media team were responsible for approving those stories before going to air.

Some new moderation features were added to Chameleon to assist with production to easily search and filter through stats.   One in particular was Query Results which was used on air with talent to call up specific results. The host quizzed some of the casters with questions based on Chameleon’s queries, including top 10 goals-for players in the tournament, top 10 goals-against, and top goals-differentials, to name a few.  

This wasn’t enough however, as Ncompass, one of two clients during this tournament, requested another feature be provided throughout the tournament in a form of digital signage.  Especially used during day 1 of the tournament when 128 players were competing on PS4 and XBOX consoles, the players needed an easy way to see where they were in the standings and who their next match-ups would be.  Using Chameleon’s channels, we provided two individual urls feeds (PS4 & XBOX) which were in turn used on about 16 monitors placed around the venue. Intel PC sticks were connected VIA HDMI with WiFi, and directed to open the urls in Chrome full screen.  

 

A bonus added feature for digital signage was a countdown clock, informing players of the next round in the tournament, and the ability to trigger announcement and messages using Chameleon’s assets module.   The messages were treated as snipes, able to trigger on/off manually or automatically based on their requirements.

To recap, our single instance of Chameleon, aggregated and moderated 128 players with their stats, with 473 games played, filtering and creating queries for the casters to monitor,  populated 2 XPression systems with dozens of templates, 2 Chameleon L-Bar tickers (one with and one without sponsorship enabled) and 2 separate feeds for digital signage populating over 16 screens at the venue.  All for less than $2,000.

There is a final leg to this tournament coming up at the end of May/June.  

 


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Chameleon: The Culmination of Brando & Super Ticker

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Chameleon is simply that, the very best of 2 separate products brought together. As a whole Chameleon is certainly greater than the sum of its predecessors: Brando & Super Ticker.

Putting ticker and news functionality together with branding isn’t a new idea. At its most rudimentary level, branding layers such as logos are placed over top of existing ticker elements. Not until the arrival of Chameleon have these 2 distinct workflows been integrated together, not just slapped over top each other.

Chameleon Sample Output

Shown here, the programming schedule read from traffic is fully integrated into one Chameleon interface so that both elements from news and branding can take advantage of programming data. Sponsors and as run logs can all be managed from this one singular UI. Of course Chameleon is still multi user content management solution so many producers and can be working on it at the same time.

Chameleon-UI

In the end, Chameleon is end of the long evolutionary road of 2 amazing products finally coming together.


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Chameleon Pilot at WRDSB Secondary Schools

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At the beginning of the school calendar year (Sept ’17) the Waterloo Regional District School Board (WRDSB) allowed Chameleon into the secondary schools on a pilot project. The project, deliver the school announcements in a more interesting and interactive way. Now half way through the school year, over half the high schools in the region are now using Chameleon as part of their workflow.

School announcements are still delivered over the schools PA system, but many schools are doing more. Radio broadcast/recording of announcements and digital displays are just a few of the new methods. Problem is managing these displays. Schools have little budget for expensive signage solutions. They are also tasked with keeping content updated. Most use Google Slides so the entire presentation needs to be updated daily.

Chameleon is showing is value to the regions schools and growing in popularity. For the first time ever, high school scores for basketball, volleyball are being shown in the schools – not just reserved for the board’s web site which few look at, certainly not students. This is possible with Chameleon’s content groups and user levels. Regional information can be made ‘global’ and shared by all schools, while each school has it’s own localized content which only they can see.

http://blcloud.net/wrdsb

Want to hear more about this pilot project? Send your questions to: danny@bannisterlake.com


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EA’s FIFA eSport Tournament

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Customer: BOOMBOX (Quebec)

Application: Chameleon

Platform: Chameleon Web and Ross Video XPression

Printable Version

BOOMBOX needed Chameleon to assist in filtering and moderating data, used primarily in XPression during a 3 day eSport event.  Requirements include ticker, using Chameleon’s own rendering engine, and export via restfulAPI of player and tournament stats.

  • Data sets connected to Chameleon via database provided by Liquiddogs responsible for data entry
  • 2 XPressions connected to Chameleon
  • Database filtered and populated through to XPression and Chameleon Web Player
  • Chameleon Web Player providing tournament L-Bar Ticker
  • Xpression providing player board templates to access all 128 players and their stats on the fly.


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Query about EA’s FIFA eTournament

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Al Savoie is the Creative and Tech Director at Bannister Lake who recently worked with EA Sports to come up with way for gamer data to play out and hit the masses. The event is a marathon, taking place over 3 days with 128 players, on both Xbox and PS4 consoles.  Friday was a Swiss tournament round, with Saturday and Sunday being the Bracket Elimination Rounds. Here are some industry insights from his week in Barcelona.

 

Can you describe the client and what they needed to happen for this tournament?

Sure, but let me give you a little background first.

With eSports tournaments becoming more popular as an event, watched by millions around the globe, eSports productions want to try to match conventional broadcast quality programming.

They want to match broadcast production, similar to what you see in NBA or NFL live events. But unlike those conventional offerings that focus on one game, eSports had 511 games over the course of the tournament increasing production demand.  And keep in mind that each game is roughly twenty minutes in length so a lot of turnaround.

Camera, audio, lighting are pretty standard, but BOOMBOX Group needed a way to filter and moderate all those player stats and then display it in some way graphically.  They needed a tool to allow them to easily do this. In the past they were limited in how to display player stats with such a quick turnaround – it wasn’t easy to moderate.

For example on the Friday, the first day Swiss Bracket Round,  there was no way to display  gamer wins or losses, goals for or against for the 128 players over the 7 Rounds.  Since broadcast couldn’t focus on all the games at the same time, they needed a way to display that information for the viewers.  The Chameleon provided a solution to automatically populate player stats without a need for inputting manually.

 

The key idea behind BOOMBOX using Chameleon in this production was to assist in filtering and moderating data, to be used primarily in XPression on the Saturday and Sunday broadcasts, but also as a ticker using Chameleon’s own rendering engine.

Chameleon’s Query module was required here.  We needed to create APIs for XPression to easily search players based on a round and who they were playing against.  Data was to be entered manually on location by the tournament ops crew, and sent over to the Chameleon database using a custom reader written by Georg at BL.  Once in Chameleon,  we wrote our own queries to filter what we needed for XPression.

With XPression settled, they also wanted to add another layer, in the form of the Chameleon web player, as the primary graphics system on the Friday during the very complicated Swiss format elimination round.

 

How many staff were involved? How does it compare to other large scale live events that Bannister has been involved in?

Well, typically Bannister Lake participates in elections in terms of live events. Our solutions are usually for tickers and branding that exist on a network, 24-7.

What makes this interesting is that an election is very similar to a lot of eSport events, in this case the candidates are the gamers, all competing and vying for a spot in the finals. It requires up to the minute stats/results. Usually elections require a lot of manpower but Chameleon doesn’t. It was a two-man job from the outset for us. Our software is designed to be very efficient; not a lot of staff required.

As for production staff, it took the same amount of people to produce NHL game, for example. For broadcast professionals, they may feel like this type of production feels cheaper only because the play out is non traditional (Youtube/Twitch),  but one could argue that the amount of money is equal, if not more, than a produced NHL game. Most staff were working 12 for 14 hour days and there is a ton of work and back end effort being put into these games! On the day, using Chameleon, there were 6 production and social media staffers populating content. For a Canadian election, like the Canadian Global Television broadcast, it’s usually about twelve production staffers who will use the product.

 

So there were a lot of firsts for this EA eWorld Championship?

Yes. First time our Chameleon renderer was used in a live event.  For the event, it was the first time being able to aggregate such a vast amount of data. That data was used on our web output that circulated player stats throughout the tournament. They used tickers in the past but nothing like this. In fact, hosts were entering info themselves!  That’s the Millennial generation; instead of using Twitter, the talent used our system and created a sort of exclusive news aura, or a community, around the event.

 

What were some of the key benefits you told BOOMBOX about using Chameleon web as part of the production?

First, Chameleon UI being a browser based platform, made it easy for anyone to jump on and input/moderate data.  Second, our Chameleon renderer outputted data where they keyed the live video overlay on top.  Rather than spend thousands on a broadcast CG system, instead, they used a Chrome browser and a laptop.

Chameleon was a huge hit. The L-Bar Chameleon web ran throughout the whole weekend, displaying news, tweets, player cards and scores. Their social media team literally had a 15 minute tutorial on how to use Twitter in Chameleon, and they got it. The hosts were responsible for entering news using their iPads on the floor, with a moderation level by the EA executives.   They too only had a 15 min tutorial but got it quickly.  
EA,  Boombox and NCompass were extremely pleased with what we offered. It really helped elevate their production to another level.  One in which they now can’t go down from.   
 

What were some of the challenges trying to manage such a large team roster? There were a total of 128 players, correct? That’s almost as large as a world championship sporting event.

Well, it is a world sport championship event. Sure it’s still one venue with everyone in that one venue but we are still talking about over 500 individual games being played. On the Chameleon end we had to make sure the leagues were separated between XBox and PS4 consoles. After that we needed to log all 128 players with their qualifying stats and upcoming tournament stats. Since we aren’t using player names, we were using “gamer tags” who love to change their tags, often up to the night before…that’s about 25% that needed to match these new names with their qualifying stats and headshots.

 

What’s the future of data in eSport events?

We have two tournaments coming up and we want to continue to improve Chameleon and improve what we can offer our clients,  viewers and the gamers.  

Al Savoie is a graphics systems whiz who can answer and further questions

Email him at asavoie@bannisterlake.com

 



 


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FIFA Championship Cup

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CAMBRIDGE, ON 01-22-17

Today Bannister Lake announced Chameleon’s powerful graphics and data package will help publish tournament stats during the upcoming EA sports FIFA World Cup Championship.

The tournament, taking place in Barcelona, will showcase some of the worlds best EA FIFA players.  Gamers from around the world have been playing hard in order to qualify for the 128 player roster on Xbox and PS4 consoles.

Chameleon HTML 5 web player will have results during the pre-bracket tournament on Friday Jan 26th.  On Jan 27th and 28th, from the final 16 games to the championship match, Chameleon will collect and moderate game data, including scores, shots, goals for/against that will populate Ross’ Xpression graphics system.  

“Smart, good looking interface,” says Creative and Technical Director, Alain Savoie, “ with a solid data display for real- time wins, losses and player stats during the matches.  The Chameleon Web player is a great tool to show ticker data information of the matches and players, without an operator.  Meanwhile, we can focus on the linear broadcast and XPression, using Chameleon’s RESTful API to populate in-game data.”  

The FIFA World Cup 2018 Championship will be streamed live, all over the world, the weekend of Jan 26th.

About Bannister Lake

Bannister Lake is committed to helping great media companies tell better stories. A software company dedicated to making your media life easier, by bridging your data with high quality graphics.  bannisterlake.com