At the 2020 NAB Show,
Canadian real-time data solutions provider Bannister Lake will be focusing on its
industry-leading data aggregation and management solution Chameleon and how the
product adds value to a wide variety of broadcast, OTT, and digital signage
Bannister Lake will be
highlighting Chameleon’s enhanced election module ready for the 2020 U.S.
election cycle. Media companies can take advantage of Chameleon’s new election
features to produce real-time election coverage on any screen. Chameleon reads
election results from both the Associated Press and Decision Desk HQ, allowing
media to report on up ballot and down ballot races as well as the primaries and
Bannister Lake will also
be highlighting Chameleon’s ability to fully manage and visualize both live
data feeds and on-air branding content for enhancing news productions,
sponsorships, and promotions. Broadcasters in any market, using any output
device, can integrate, moderate, and customize multiple live data feeds into
graphic templates and provide their audiences with real-time news, weather,
sports, social media, financial, and fully customized data. In addition, the
product’s branding module can fully control sponsor’s snipes, bugs, and other
promotional graphic content triggered by the broadcaster’s traffic system.
will also be in the spotlight at the 2020 NAB Show. Chameleon serves as the
foundation to ingest, manage, and visualize an unlimited number of data feeds
that can be rendered to any graphics engine, HTML 5, or NDI. Broadcasters can
quickly launch infochannels made up of real-time news, weather, sports,
financial, event calendars, and other relevant content. To enhance the
offering, Bannister Lake has recently added transit and car sharing data to
make the channels especially important to local audiences.
As legal sports wagering
continues to grow across the U.S., Bannister Lake will be featuring wagering
channels covering horse racing, fantasy sports, and other events. Chameleon has
become an essential tool to aggregate, manage, and display both sports
statistics and betting data. Bannister Lake works with media companies that
require a robust solution that can read data from a wide variety of sources and
can integrate that data into the on-air presentation.
The 2020 NAB Show will
also spotlight in-venue, real-time data solutions for arenas and stadiums. More
and more venues are realizing that real-time data plays an integral role in
delivering content that adds a deeper and more entertaining fan experience. Venues
appreciate that advertising- and sponsor-related content has more impact if
real-time, game-relevant, insightful data could be tied to the presentation.
Chameleon is used to ingest real-time statistical data from the leagues,
allowing fans to view carefully parsed live game and league statistics combined
with game action. Venues are also turning to Chameleon to develop innovative
use cases for real-time data and sponsorships, including graphically visualizing
wait times at exit gates and concessions, charity lotteries, and corporate
Be sure to visit
Bannister Lake at the 2020 NAB Show, Booth SL4711.
Hamilton, Ontario’s Cable 14 has always been at the forefront of community television innovation. From its origins as a community channel formed as a joint effort of six local cable companies pooling resources, to its pioneering move to HD, to its OTT online presence, Cable 14 has always sought out new ways to engage Hamilton audiences.
Hyper-local television has continued to evolve, and Cable 14 required the next phase of innovation to move beyond the traditional look and feel of a cable community channel. Management understood viewing behavior was changing and wanted to introduce a new approach that would take advantage of real-time data content that resonated with local viewers. At the same time Cable 14 wanted to utilize new ways to promote their content and brand.
To accomplish these goals Cable 14 turned to Bannister Lake’s Chameleon data aggregation and management solution to power multiple real-time data feeds and to drive on-air branding/promo capabilities.
As a kick-off to its 50th anniversary broadcast season, Cable 14 wanted to introduce a new look that took advantage of the dynamic multizone presentation of info channels but focus on real-time content that would be popular with the community. It was crucial that the channel not feel like digital signage, but still maintain the professionalism and editorial credibility of a broadcast channel.
To make this happen Cable 14 used Bannister Lake’s Chameleon to ingest, manage and customize popular data feeds such as local and national sports scores, social media and relevant local and national news stories from local media partners. The Chameleon solution ensured that all the new functionality would be automated with little or no human interaction.
The same instance of Chameleon also provided snipe functionality allowing Cable 14 to run strategic promotional and branding content to guide audiences towards upcoming programs. Chameleon’s traffic system integration, automation and scheduling features were used to automatically refresh and program data content. Chameleon’s tight integration and extensive experience with Ross XPression allowed for a straightforward implementation and high-quality broadcast presentation.
Cable 14’s newfound ability to aggregate multiple locally relevant data sources and present them in a highly attractive and engaging way for their subscribers is directly in line with the community channel’s mission. The results have been spectacular at Cable 14 with audiences reacting positively to both improved editorial content and the updated presentation.
Viewers now have access to up to the minute content and are exposed to promotions of community programming that result in larger audiences and more community involvement. Always innovating, Cable 14 sees enormous potential integrating social media further into hyper-local content providing an important interactive function as well as adding additional content discovery opportunities through more strategic promotions. Chameleon will play an important role in accomplishing these tasks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the end, Chameleon is end of the long evolutionary road of 2 amazing products finally coming together.
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.
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
TVSN is the Australian shopping channel (www.tvsn.com.au) and broadcasts to both Australian and New Zealand. Prior to a broadcast a producer will use the Bannister Lake custom application to select products that will be featured during that show. The software automatically pulls data from TVSN’s inventory database to provides not just product information such as prices, descriptions but also real-time data such as size and color availability based on current inventory levels.
The Overnight replay feature is a special customization provided by Bannister Lake which records a show’s graphics where during the day. Recorded is the graphic template displayed and the timecode it was displayed at. During ‘overnight’ hours TVSN replays shows recorded earlier in the day. These are clean recordings, meaning no graphics. The Bannister Lake software plays the templates automatically based on the recorded timecode, only the data of inventory levels and availability are updated and reflect the correct numbers.