Tag Archives: Social Media

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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 Chameleon Software Tracks Record Number of Municipal Election Races Across Three Canadian Provinces

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Over three days and throughout three provinces, Canadians went to the polls to vote for mayor, city council, school trustee and several other municipal officials. In total there were over 1,400 individual races and thousands of candidates. Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software and its election module tracked all of them delivering live results to Global Television stations and websites in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.

Multiple data feeds were used to bring in results data on October 20 from British Columbia, October 22 from Ontario and October 24 from Manitoba. Results data poured in not just from large metropolitan areas such as Toronto and Vancouver but also from smaller remote communities.

“It’s the first time we’ve followed that many individual election races and such a high number of candidates. Chameleon handled it extremely well providing Global with real-time results. We were especially pleased we could ensure that results coming in from remote municipalities with slower data connections were fully optimized to be more efficient”, said George Hentsch, President, Bannister Lake.

Live election data ingested into Chameleon allowed production staff to follow races, create playlists and make calls. Global also used Chameleon’s BLADE RESTful API to populate graphics on-set using augmented reality systems and to feed web objects that provided online users with race results.

Bannister Lake provides broadcast editorial teams with the industry’s most versatile election results system. Chameleon software is managed via a web-based interface that allows an unlimited number of production and technical users access election results data. Teams can then integrate results into various election graphics templates, reformat data and redistribute it to other devices or production systems.


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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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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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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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MLB Network, The Dugout

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Customer: MLB Network, The Dugout

Application: Chameleon Cloud for Social Media

Printable Version

MLB Network Advanced Media in New York needed a multi-user solution to moderate social media for The Dugout, MLB’s weekly 3-hour program live streaming exclusively on Twitter every Wednesday during the regular season.

  • An instance of Chameleon Cloud was setup for multiple users at MLB.
  • Search topics and groups were defined for ‘Trending Now’ and Twitter accounts for MLB Teams and Players.
  • Users moderated and approved Twitter content into approved Twitter playlists for talent during the show.
  • CG graphic operator with XPression and XPression Datalinq accessed moderated Twitter playlists using Chameleon BLADE (Bannister Lake Active Data Exchange) for presentation of Social Media on set and the streaming broadcast to Twitter.

MLB Advanced Media – The Dugout

 


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MLB.com Twitter Show The Dugout Assigns Chameleon to the Line Up

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MLB.com’s The Dugout purchased Bannister Lake’s cloud instance of Chameleon. Chameleon Solution is an adaptable media graphics solution for NDI, SDI and digital online applications and contains the company’s best in class branding and ticker elements.  

MLB Dugout launched on Twitter last month and is hosted by MLB.com’s Alexa Datt. Streaming 3 hours weekly on the social newsfeed site,  the show will be using Chameleon’s social media module, to monitor and moderate social media during the course of the production, connecting with the audience and  creating stories around data.

“Twitter engages the audience and creates immediacy to a sports broadcast,” says D’Arcy Pickering, VP of Sales at the Cambridge Ontario software company, “especially if there is a real standout and they draw it into the show.”

Chameleon , launched in April at NAB in Las Vegas and was utilized at the NDI Central Show and Broadcast Beat’s long running NAB Show Live.  It will make its inaugural debut at IBC in September.

 

Email: sales@bannisterlake.com

Twitter: @bannisterlake

PR and Communications Director Contact:

Stephanie@bannisterlake.com

press@bannisterlake.com

 

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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