Tag Archives: Broadcast

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Playing to Win – eSports Production with Real-Time Data-Driven Graphics

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Published in Digital Media World July 2019

eSports events are becoming more sophisticated in terms of both the in-venue experience and the broadcast or streaming presentation. Tournament organisers are raising their game in production value and editorial enhancements, using high quality production talent and equipment.

According to Vern Freedlander, Strategic Partnerships at Bannister Lake, these developments are a response to the growing popularity of eSports around the world. Bannister Lake, Canadian software developers for the broadcast and digital signage industries, has gained a lot of experience in recent years serving the real-time data and visualisation needs of eSports productions.

Vern said, “Spectacular venues such as Red Bull’s Hanger 7 in Salzburg, Germany’s Nurburgring motorsports track, and Shanghai’s Mercedes Benz arena are hosting eSports tournaments. Events not only sell out major arenas, but millions of fans also watch on Twitch and YouTube to see competitors battle it out for serious cash prize pools.

“On the surface, eSports production resembles other sports broadcasts – mobile trucks, multiple cameras on jibs, slick video clips, impressive sets and lighting. However, what distinguishes eSports is the innovative use of graphics and the real-time data that populates the graphics. Esports tournaments are data-intensive, and new techniques to organise and display data are needed not only to make the events more visually compelling, but also to communicate fast-moving, complex information to fans.”

The Fan Experience

Conveying and enhancing the excitement of eSports at the arena and for fans watching on their devices requires graphics that add important information about the players and teams and takes advantage of the real-time aspect of these fast-paced games. “Unlike conventional sports coverage that follows the action of a single game with two teams competing, an eSports event will involve several games played over a two- or three-day period, while multiple teams compete simultaneously,” said Vern.

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon data aggregation and management system ingests multiple real-time data feeds and allows producers to organise, edit and moderate data content, and then populate graphics with customised data for display.

More than XML or RSS feeds, producers can simultaneously use Chameleon to manage and display diverse sets of editorial content that enhance the fan experience. Virtually any data source can be incorporated into the production. For example, topical event news generated by the tournament’s editorial teams, such as player profiles, standings, game schedules, and outstanding achievements, can be ingested through Google Sheets. This content may populate an L-Bar surrounding the game as a way to complement the action.

Moderated social media content can be included to create an interactive fan experience. Third-party feeds such as eSports industry news, weather, and events calendars can also be included.  

Revenue Opportunities

Chameleon can also manage advertising and sponsorship-related content, forming an important revenue opportunity for event producers. Sponsor logos can be triggered at appropriate times or branded content may appear within the L-Bar, for example. Vern noted, “The addition of game-related data pulled directly from the game’s API creates an entirely new level of excitement. Fans can view specific game-related data content aggregated, visualised and displayed alongside the actual game.

“For die-hard fans looking for key stats, the visualisation of API data adds a strong sense of engagement. Furthermore, game data can be coordinated to trigger other content when thresholds are met or when specific events occur. For example, if a team or player reaches a specific milestone, a special promotional ad may run automatically.”

eSports and Databases

Bannister Lake’s approach to data management is unusual in the production industry and opens up various possibilities for production and editorial. The method revolves around the use of attaching key value pairs around a standard relational database. “A typical sports database is made up of a series of standardised fields that corresponds to that particular sport and very rarely changes. eSports on the other hand are dramatically different with datasets that vary from game to game and may or may not be used in production,” said Vern.

“Bannister Lake allows users to add new tables as a companion to the core data. The underlying technique is to take these incoming diverse datasets and organise them in databases that support exceptionally fast recall. This creates a production system that is more flexible and allows producers to act as editors and add or delete datasets on the fly – depending on the game, the audience and the production’s editorial needs.”

Controlling and Expanding Data

The system’s API and Query functionality allows producers to take this further and distribute data content to specific end points. For example, fans who are following a team from Brazil could receive data only relevant to that team and receive customised ads and sponsorships that centre on that market.

Beyond in-venue signage and the broadcast streams, custom data can be distributed to web pages or mobile devices, enhancing the eSports experience while opening up new market opportunities. It can also drive entirely new ways of conveying eSports data such as augmented reality and virtual reality. Having more control over data, its management, and where it is ultimately distributed will most likely result in completely new ways of reaching eSports audiences.   

Vern said, “As the broadcast and AV communities continue to experiment with big data, the challenge remains in how to strategically harness data and present it in ways that enhance storytelling and drive new revenue opportunities.

“The need for web-based systems that can be implemented quickly in complex data-rich production environments, such as eSports, is critical. It is only by taking full control of fast-moving data and marrying it with great graphic design that producers, sponsors and above all, fans will fully realise the excitement and business potential of eSports.   www.bannisterlake.com

Published in Digital Media World July 2019

 

 


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Bannister Lake Takes on the Gran Turismo eSports Championships at the Legendary Nürburgring Track in Germany

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For the second year in a row, Bannister Lake has partnered with Montreal’s Boombox Group to provide live data management and populate graphics for the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships 2019 Series. The June 21-22 event took place at the renowned Nürburgring Track in Germany, home of the world’s most challenging 24-hour motorsports endurance race.

Bannister Lake software and expertise in live data management were used extensively throughout the event to read Google Sheets, ingest and moderate real-time social media feeds, and consolidate data for the competition’s various races. The solution’s data was used to drive graphics both in-venue and on the various broadcast streams.

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software has quickly become a popular data management solution for international eSports events. Producers and event organizers use the product to add engaging content such as player and team profiles, event schedules, standings, and sponsorship information without taking away from the excitement of the game.

“It’s great to bring Chameleon on location at the Nürburgring. The track has an illustrious history in racing, and we’re thrilled to be part of the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships,” said Al Savoie, Bannister Lake’s technical and creative director. “Throughout the series we will be finding new and exciting ways to integrate data into the production and leverage live data content to allow producers to tell more compelling Gran Turismo stories.”

The Nürburgring event featured 55 of the world’s best Gran Turismo drivers from 20 countries competing in the Manufacturer Series, the Nations Cup, and GR Supra GT Cup. Winners moved on to participate in racing events that will be held in New York, Salzburg, and the finals scheduled for October in Tokyo. Chameleon will be used throughout the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships 2019 racing series to enhance editorial content and fuel new revenue opportunities for event organizers.

 

 


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Bannister Lake Updates and Enhances Twitter Search, Aggregation, and Management Capabilities

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Bannister Lake announced today it has augmented and enriched its Chameleon Twitter management tools, providing producers with a highly advanced social media search solution that allows them to easily pinpoint relevant Twitter content and take it to air.

Chameleon’s Twitter interface offers users a variety of search parameters that go far beyond using hashtags or accounts. Users can identify Tweets from multiple angles: account mentions, key words or phrases, location, or language. By combining different search parameters, producers have various ways to filter and locate specific Tweets and drive editorial content. Producers can then use Chameleon to build, moderate, and customize playlists of Tweets to populate tickers, L-Bars, or full-frame graphics, or to make content available online or on mobile devices.

Unlike conventional Twitter search tools, Chameleon allows users to combine multiple searches into a single topic, providing a broader assortment of topic-related results while still maintaining editorial control over content. In addition, Chameleon supports Twitter’s Trends API to manage and display worldwide trends. Twitter content can be further filtered and managed through Chameleon’s onboard query and RESTful API functions.

“Chameleon’s native Twitter support goes well beyond the competition,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “By utilizing all aspects of the Twitter Search API and combining multiple searches into a single topic, Chameleon’s native Twitter support is preeminent. We dramatically improve users’ ability to locate the right content at the right time.”

Chameleon’s Twitter management features also support popular aggregation tools such as Tagboard, Juicer, and Inception Social, creating a powerful social media display solution for broadcast and digital signage applications.

Bannister Lake has long recognized the important role Twitter content plays across all media. By leveraging Chameleon’s capabilities to search, manage, and aggregate social media, along with integrating appropriate news, sports, finance, and other data sources, producers can create compelling and engaging data presentations. 

 


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Bannister Lake Web Widgets and New Results Timeline Feature Help Drive Global Television’s Alberta Provincial Election Coverage

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Global Television’s coverage of the Alberta provincial election on April 16 featured two new data-driven products designed to communicate the nuances of election results to viewers and editorial teams.  Bannister Lake worked closely with Global Television’s production, design, and technical teams to deliver a touchscreen-based series of web widgets that incorporated live election results, historical results, and important demographic data. Global Television used the highly responsive web widgets to illustrate the connections between election results and contextual data such as household income and family status. By using easy-to-read maps, viewers could instantly comprehend and contrast regional and city-suburban voting outcomes.

Bannister Lake’s development of HTML5-based widgets adds an exciting dimension to election coverage and can be easily launched for other live data applications including sports, finance, and eSports. The widgets can be built quickly and are specifically designed to be fully responsive and interactive. Most importantly, the same products can be used on-air as well as online, granting viewers full access and control over the specific content they want to consume.

“As broadcasters look to expand their election coverage online and to mobile devices, our web widgets will play a vital role,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “Not only do they create a highly visual, interactive experience for viewers, they also allow interesting datasets to be incorporated, helping tell a more complete and compelling election story.”

Global Television also took full advantage of a new feature set recently added to Elector, Bannister Lake’s election race software solution. Elector’s Results Timeline feature helps analysts and reporters better predict race outcomes. Results Timeline displays a graphical timeline of election results per constituency or per party that is consistently updated as data comes in. This feature provides an easy way to read visual representation of the overall voting trend and allows analysts to quickly identify races that are fluctuating dramatically, have a clear winner early on, or are too close to call.

“Election night coverage is all about results,” said Gerry Belec, director of news technology and operations at Corus Entertainment. “Having Bannister Lake on our side, creating innovative data solutions, was instrumental in producing a great broadcast. The touch-enabled maps and the new features in Elector allowed us to use data in new ways that genuinely engaged our audience.”

In addition to touch-enabled web widgets and Results Timeline, Bannister Lake also supported Global Television’s Alberta election coverage with a variety of data-driven solutions, including augmented reality graphics, full frame results graphics, tickers, and L-bars.

 


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Avid and Bannister Lake Enter Into Sales and Distribution Agreement

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Las Vegas, NAB Show 2019. Bannister Lake announced today it has entered into a joint sales, marketing, and distribution agreement with Avid®. Avid will serve as a non-exclusive distributor of Bannister Lake’s Chameleon data aggregation and management solution. With integration between Chameleon and the Avid Maestro™ Graphics, Avid users will be able to easily aggregate, moderate, and populate data-driven graphics for news, sports, financial, and other productions. Chameleon will be available through Avid’s sales channels.

Chameleon provides a sophisticated and powerful link between data and graphics for broadcast, OTT, digital signage, HTML5, online, and mobile applications. The solution reads, ingests, and manages multiple diverse data feeds through an advanced web interface, providing users with full control over both incoming data and output formats. Customized data is imported into graphic templates directly or through Chameleon’s RESTful API for use in news, sports, elections, financial, and other content genres. Chameleon data can also be imported into augmented reality and virtual reality products as well as IP-based solutions. It has also become a popular solution in data-intensive scenarios such as eSports and sports wagering.

“We are excited about bringing Bannister Lake’s wealth of data knowledge and expertise into the Avid ecosystem,” said Ofir Benovici, Avid’s vice president of media enterprise. “As live and static data play an increasingly important role in the production process, our end-users will realize greater value through more efficient workflows, better storytelling, and the opportunity to secure new business.”

“Avid is a natural fit for our data aggregation solutions,” said Georg Hentsch, president of Bannister Lake. “Not only will Avid customers be able to do more with their graphics, they will have the opportunity to leverage data in all kinds of ways that were previously unavailable. We look forward to a long and innovative relationship with Avid.”

Bannister Lake was established in 1994 and provides the broadcast industry with a variety of innovative solutions to manage data and graphics. The company supplies products and software development services to customize, automate, and distribute data content to various end points. Bannister Lake solutions can be found in television stations, networks, and at mission-critical events where live data is an essential part of communicating with audiences.

Bannister Lake will be exhibiting at the 2019 NAB Show, Booth SL5616.

 


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Bannister Lake Raises the Bar on IP Video Production with Chameleon NDI® Player

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Bannister Lake announced today that it is fully embracing the NDI® workflow with its powerful Chameleon data aggregation solution. For producers working within the NDI ecosystem, Chameleon provides a straightforward method to bring live data directly into their productions. Chameleon reads multiple data sources, including news, weather, sports, traffic, social media, and financial data content, allowing users to edit, moderate, and customize their data. Using Chameleon’s Query functionality, data can be parsed at a granular level, enabling producers to select subsets of data to target viewers. The solution automates the flow of data to endpoints, ensuring that content is consistently relevant and timely. In turn, using Chameleon’s RESTful API, data content can be reformatted for distribution to virtually any device or endpoint.

Chameleon also extends NDI well beyond broadcast as a data aggregation solution for eSports and digital signage, providing producers with new business opportunities. eSports events — broadcast, streamed, or in-venue — benefit from Chameleon’s ability to read and display important game-related data feeds and provide fans with score boards, player profiles, standings, and other key data. Live data is an integral part of digital signage, keeping viewers updated with the latest news and information.

“We are excited by the growing popularity of NDI-supported solutions and the significant number of downloads of the NDI SDK,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “Chameleon adds an entirely new level of NDI production professionalism by allowing users to manage and display highly relevant and timely data content that their audiences demand.”

In addition to managing traditional editorial data content, Chameleon provides an ideal solution for producers who require a way to display local and hyperlocal content, including election results, school closings, and event calendars. In addition, Chameleon’s custom data feature can ingest data from Google Sheets, providing an opportunity to integrate local sports data content.

To help the NDI community better understand the business, operational, and technical capabilities of Chameleon and data content in general, Alain Savoie, Bannister Lake’s creative and technical director, will present his co-authored technical paper, “New Methodologies in Real-Time Data Aggregation and Management for Broadcast Presentation and Distribution,” at the 2019 NAB Show. Along with Savoie, the paper was written by Hentsch and Bannister Lake’s Vernon Freedlander, who heads strategic partnerships. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 10, at 4 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room N260.

Bannister Lake will be at the 2019 NAB Show, Booth SL5616.

 


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Bannister Lake’s Chameleon Powers Waterloo Region District School Board Digital Signage Network

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Bannister Lake today announced the implementation of a digital signage pilot project with the Waterloo Region District School Board in Southern Ontario. The project consists of a networked digital signage solution in 16 regional high schools located about an hour west of Toronto. The project is powered by Bannister Lake’s Chameleon data aggregation and management product. Chameleon captures data from a wide variety of incoming sources and allows student, faculty, and staff network operators to moderate, edit, schedule, and distribute content to various displays.

Students are actively involved in the programming of the network, which provides an innovative way to communicate with students, faculty, and staff. The network displays both highly localized content targeting individual schools as well as global content that originates with the Waterloo Region District School Board and is shown in all 16 high schools.

Using Chameleon’s data readers and management modules, operators can easily program and update content that includes high school sports scores, local weather, event calendars, and special announcements. The digital signage system is also programmed with student-produced content from YouTube and from Google Slides.

“Bannister Lake’s signage solution provided us with an easy way for staff and students to communicate about school and community events,” said Jane Mitchinson, head librarian, Glenview Park Secondary School, Waterloo Regional District School Board. “The visual nature of the medium and the immediacy of the messaging is very impactful and captures the attention of everyone in our buildings. We are especially impressed with Chameleon’s networking capabilities, which give the entire team the opportunity to collaborate on content. Bannister Lake walked us through the entire process, showed us ways to optimize the system, and are always there for support.”

Students who take part in programming the signage network gain valuable experience as content creators and receive academic credit for their participation. The system takes advantage of automation to repurpose existing content automatically and consistently keep the network fresh and up to date.

“Our pilot project with the Waterloo Region District School Board represents another exciting application of our Chameleon product,” said Danny Ljubisic, business development & project management, Bannister Lake. “The digital signage network within the high schools leverages our extensive data capabilities, while providing students with an exciting new medium to share important information digitally.”

The pilot project will continue to evolve and expand over the next few months and will eventually include expanded content from student newspapers and more extensive community news and events calendars.


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Bannister Lake Announces MAM Integration Into Its Zeus Digital Media Storage and Playout Solution

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Bannister Lake announced today that its browser-based media storage and playout solution, Zeus, can be fully integrated with popular media asset management (MAM) systems. With minimal customization the Zeus solution can access content within a MAM and still take full advantage of Zeus’ impressive search features and its convenient drag and drop playlist and sequence building capabilities.

Zeus is an ideal solution for productions that require a high number of images and video clips that need to be turned around quickly in a fast-paced and unpredictable environment. Home shopping channels, and news, entertainment, and sports productions are typical use cases.

Zeus features a centralized asset management structure allowing multiple users to access the system simultaneously, while ensuring the overall system is consistently synchronized. This dramatically speeds up the production workflow providing the entire production team with access to the solution. Producers are able to use their web browsers to access Zeus and build shows or content sequences offline saving valuable studio production time. An intuitive UI lets users import folders and conveniently move assets into the appropriate output framebuffer.

“Productions that depend on a very large number of clips and images and need to access them extremely quickly require a solution that complements their workflows,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “Zeus has the functionality to achieve this and with MAM integration the product is even stronger.”

Zeus supports up to 4 SDI (HD/SD) channels as well as NDI and also supports the ability to record incoming video.

Visit Bannister Lake at the 2019 NAB Show, booth SL5616.


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Corus Entertainment: Driving New Business And Operational Efficiencies With Bannister Lake Software

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Corus Entertainment is one of Canada’s largest media and content companies with assets in radio, television and online. The broadcast television side of the company is a mix of over-the-air broadcast stations and specialty cable channels. Like all media organizations, it is observing dramatic shifts in audience viewing habits and in the way advertising dollars are being designated. Corus is responding proactively to address the changing media marketplace, developing innovative technology and content solutions. It is a pioneer in Canada, creating consolidated news production facilities, building a national infrastructure with sophisticated content sharing capabilities and extending their various brands across multiple platforms. Corus also broke new ground in leveraging live data; both as a content source and as a driver of video and content to new platforms. Early on, Corus saw the value that data had as an editorial source that could be extended over its many media properties and as a powerful tool to strategically distribute content.

Data empowers Corus to accomplish two essential things: add significant editorial value to its multiple media properties and secondly, open new market opportunities driving untapped ad revenue. To meet these objectives and take full advantage of their data and content, Corus’ Global News division turned to Bannister Lake, a leading provider of professional video graphic display solutions for broadcast.

In working with Corus, Bannister Lake focused on three essential data-rich areas: elections, information tickers and creating new media products and services. Across Global News’ broadcast operations, Bannister Lake’s Elector election race software is being used to produce municipal, provincial and federal coverage. Elector allows editorial staff to quickly and effectively filter race results, identify important trends, make race calls and in turn populate and display dynamic election graphics on-air or online.

“Elector has become our go-to software solution for all our election coverage. It works great on municipal, provincial and federal races. Both our editorial and technical staff love its ease of use and quick implementation,” says Gerry Belec, director of news technology and operations at Corus Entertainment.

Across Global News, Bannister Lake powers L-Bars, tickers, and sponsor logos on all the local morning news programs. The key tool Global News uses to make all this possible is Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software. Chameleon provides Global News with a single data/graphics management solution that drives a wide variety of graphic playout devices across the entire Global News organization. By centralizing data through Chameleon, Corus not only realizes operational efficiencies, but also permits broadcast sales to create new media products and sell both national and local sponsorships on all its broadcast tickers. Editorially, Chameleon enables Global News to integrate the widest possible variety of data sources on-air, including social media feeds, financial data, sports scores, closings and atypical feeds such as community events calendars.

Corus foresees Chameleon playing an expanded and valuable role as the media company develops and launches multi-platform solutions, expands online, distributes more content via partnerships and explores innovative media opportunities.

Global News takes advantage of BLADE, Chameleon’s RESTful API feature, allowing them to manage and distribute specific portions of a data feed. With BLADE, Global News can effortlessly direct their content to various output channels including thousands of screens across digital signage networks in multiple cities across Canada. This has fostered new revenue and promotional opportunities for Corus and has dramatically improved brand recognition. BLADE allows Global News to target specific end points strategically with content designated for that output.

Corus and Global News further benefit from Bannister Lake’s development strategy that emphasizes multi-user, web-based solutions while still maintaining high levels of security. Teams from across the country can simultaneously access the solution, load content, query data and create and edit playlists, but only according to their user status. Should unusual operational issues emerge, Bannister Lake’s development team can write custom code resolving the issue.

“We look forward to a long and creative partnership with Corus. We are thrilled that our software and custom services can be plugged into so many aspects of their business”, says Georg Hentsch, Bannister Lake’s founder.

Also published in
TV Technology


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Bannister Lake’s Alain Savoie to Present at the 2019 NAB Show Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference (BEITC)

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Bannister Lake announced today that Alain Savoie, the company’s creative and technical director, will be presenting his co-authored white paper, “New Methodologies in Real-Time Data Aggregation and Management for Broadcast Presentation and Distribution” at the 2019 NAB Show. Along with Savoie, the paper was written by Bannister Lake’s Vernon Freedlander who heads strategic partnerships and the company’s president, Georg Hentsch. The presentation takes place on Wednesday, April 10 at 4 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center room N260.

Live data, its management and visualization, have become an integral part of the broadcast and visual communications workflow. Whether used in fast-moving, dynamic on-air presentations such as elections, news, sports, eSports, or finance, or to populate and control on-air branding, effective live-data aggregation and management drives efficiencies and creates new monetization possibilities. As broadcasters seek out new revenue streams, live data plays a key role both online and in developing new markets such as streaming and digital signage.

Savoie will be speaking on several important data-related topics that directly impact the broadcast industry. The presentation will focus on unique data-driven engineering and development methodologies, and how broadcasters can take advantage of the data aggregation and management tools and techniques these methodologies foster to create more efficient and automated production workflows. Savoie will also explore how broadcasters can utilize real-time data to create and distribute new revenue-generating products and services. Savoie will use examples from broadcast, eSports, and event signage to illustrate.

Savoie is an industry authority on live-data-driven graphics. He has worked on numerous high-profile broadcast projects integrating data into innovative graphic solutions. At Bannister Lake he is responsible for integrating data feed content into Bannister Lake’s data aggregation and management technology suite and in turn outputting data to on-air graphic systems throughout the broadcast and event ecosystem. Savoie works directly with engineers, designers, editorial teams, and event producers offering training, commissioning, graphic operations, and consultation to meet any data and technical requirement within the production and graphic display workflow.

At the 2019 NAB Show Bannister Lake will be highlighting its flagship data aggregation and graphics management solution, Chameleon. Chameleon provides networks and station groups with unparalleled data aggregation, graphics management, and visualization possibilities. Beyond broadcast, the Chameleon solution is used in multiple data applications: OTT, streaming, digital signage, HTML5, online, and mobile. Chameleon reads, ingests, and manages multiple, diverse data feeds through an advanced web interface, providing users with full control over incoming data. Users can edit, moderate, blend, and manage datasets to generate completely customizable and automated tickers, L-bars, full frame graphics, and branding elements.

Be sure to visit Bannister Lake at the 2019 NAB Show, Booth SL5616.