Cheddar News is a live streaming news channel. They pride themselves as the voice of what’s next with a strong emphasis on technology and finance. They’re available to watch live and on-demand across all traditional and OTT platforms.
Bannister Lake has a long history of providing data and graphics for finance broadcasting. Our finance solution aggregates financial data and display it in the form of charts, tickers, bugs, sidebars and full screen boards.
We have been providing financial services for Cheddar from their inception. Recently, we assisted Cheddar on their rebrand with exciting new graphics and advanced data.
The Bannister Lake finance solution is a client/server design allowing most of the work done remotely and even offline from the character generator. For this particular instance, Cheddar is using the Ross Video XPression CG along with the Xignite financial data feed. We’re even pushing the boundaries of XPression by using the new line object to animate charting lines.
All graphics and data are driven from the Finance Player:
It has excellent charting support including after hours, comparison and flexible intraday charts:
And includes a variety of full screen boards:
Sidebars can have a mix of quotes and charts:
For information about our financial services and display solutions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
June 21st and 22nd, I took part in season 2’s 2nd World Tour event of Gran Tourismo. This stop took place at the famous Nürburgring 24h track in Germany. The esport tournament that took place was a relatively small event compared to the main attraction, the 24h ADAC race. Nonetheless the GT event, went very well with Team Toyota winning the Manufacturer’s Series and Igor Fraga from Brazil went home with the Nations Cup Top Prize.
World Tour 1 took place in Paris in early March with Tour 3, New York happening in August, Tour 4 in Salzburg in September and Tour 5 in Tokyo in October. That said, the focus of this blog isn’t on the tournament and work itself, but rather the adventure that goes along with it.
We’ll start with the race itself. Race enthusiasts I’m sure are quite familiar with the ADAC 24h race, but for those who live in a bubble in North America, we might not be aware of this race that takes place over 24 hours in the middle of nowhere Germany. Some 200,000 people come by to partake in this event, and catch a glimpse of these 200 vehicles driving at 200+ km/h for a full 24 hours.
You can wiki this info, but I’ll provide a Coles Notes version of it. The race comprises of around 200 vehicles, with a minimum of 2 drivers/maximum 4 drivers participating. Each allowed to drive for 150 mins with a 120 mins break in between drives. A single lap is around 28km give or take a few meters, and the winner is the team that drives the longest in distance over that 24 hour time period. Past winner and record holder drive up to 158 laps… which equals driving from Halifax, through Montreal, to New York and finishing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.. Or… driving from NYC to Las Vegas. In 24 hours.
By my calculations, at about 11l/100km… that’s around 440 liters of fuel used per car, totally 89,000 liters of fuel. And I was told about 200 tires per car are used throughout the tournament depending on conditions. That seems high, but what do I know.
As I mentioned, there are around 200,000 visitors in attendance, 60,000 parking spaces available, 1.5 million square meters of camping sites, with 146 showers, and 680 mobile toilets positioned around the track.
Because this takes place, pretty much, in the middle of nowhere, the production staff including myself stayed about 20 mins away at a campground. Convenient, but with very little nearby in terms of amenities.
The days were long as is usual for this type of production. But what makes it worth it, most of the time, is the after party. At other tours the after party usually takes place at the tournament’s location. But for the Nürburgring stop, the party was even further in the middle of nowhere.
About 5 km away from the stands and venue, the crew took a bus to a parking location. Once there, we arrived at a field 100,000 sq meters in size. We needed to walk to the grounds for about 1km.
Surrounded with thousands of people celebrating, playing discotech music, firing fireworks every few minutes, all the while, fast cars whizzing by every few seconds.
Pure tailgating style partying, along with bbq food was served at our GT chained fenced location, where all the players, organizers were enjoying their time watching the cars go by.
The always talented DJ Lenny Ibizarre was again the entertainment at this after party offering a wide range of dance music while providing some dance moves of his own.
I, as always, had a great time with the Boombox crew.
A thank you to PDI and Kazunori Yamauchi for again, making this tournament happen.
Some people ended up staying late into the wee early morning, but I had to catch a flight at 9:50am in Frankfurt. By midnight, the race still had 15 ½ hours to go. By the time the race ended, I was already 30,000 ft over Newfoundland.
The 2018 Gran Turismo World Championship concluded this weekend in Monaco, with a thrilling end to a 3 month, 4 region tournament showcasing the world’s best GT eSport drivers. 3 regional finals took place in Tokyo, Madrid and Las Vegas filtering the hundreds of competitors down to the top 30 players, competing for the first ever Nations Cup in Monte Carlo.
Boombox, our partner, also produced the eFifa 2018 World Championships, were again at the production helm, responsible for the on-air web broadcasts of the tournaments. Once again, Bannister Lake was called upon to assist with on-air graphics and data management. Polyphonic Digital Inc (PDI), the makers of the world famous game, assisted in providing data for the tournaments.
For Bannister, we had a few challenges that had to be overcome. With the experience from US Open and eFIFA, it made some of the challenges easier to overcome. On this project, I was the sole Xpression operator, operating 2 Xpressions, monitoring google sheets data, moderating 3 different formats of competition (semi-finals, Manufactures Series and the finals format) and playing out some of the in venue stage screens.
Dashboard, a Ross UI platform assisted in making things easier as some triggers required more than 1 graphic and output channel to be triggered in sync. We also linked PBus connection with the switcher, in order to sync driver cameras, with their lowerthirds. This gave the technical director the ability to go to 3 boxes at any time and have the correct name/flag/manufacture of each of the drivers.
Chameleon was once again used to filter some of the data coming from google sheets, and categorizing them for each of the competition formats, along with standings based on points and finish position.
It was a fun project. Considering we were using a European TV Production truck… it was amazing working on an English produced show, in a German truck with Dutch Engineers, Japanese clients, with a French production crew, produced in a Spanish, French and American country.
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.
Bannister Lake played a vital role at this year’s US Open at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. Bannister Lake’s powerful data engine Chameleon served as the data management solution for multiple data feeds from a diverse set of sources. Chameleon was used to reformat, filter, moderate and distribute data and graphics to dozens of various shaped digital signs throughout the tennis facility. Bannister Lake was instrumental in devising the workflows and processes that handled over 250,000 XML files corresponding to the participation of over 1000 players playing hundreds of matches. The complexity of the project was compounded with Chameleon also taking on responsibility for managing other data sources including weather, event news, social media, schedules, headshots, scores, sets winners, standings and other tournament related data. Player’s personal biographical data such as place of birth, height, weight, handed and others information was also included.
“We knew Bannister Lake’s Chameleon could handle the complexity. It’s the industry’s most powerful engine for aggregating any data type and it’s the only way we could have pulled off the US Open project under the extreme time constraints; that and all the hard work by our team.” said Georg Hentsch, President Bannister Lake.
“Our extensive work in both the broadcast market and in eSports prepared us for the production challenges of the US Open. Chameleon has powered a variety of event-based productions, most notably eSports tournaments which typically includes hundreds of matches played over a short amount of time with a large number of players. So, we were more than ready.” said Alain Savoie, Creative and Technical Director at Bannister Lake.
Bannister Lake’s unique workflow was built around leveraging the single Match ID unique identifier which was used to drive all the data associated with a particular match. Chameleon was then able to use automation to populate the various graphics templates and tickers that were in turn distributed via Ross Video’s Tessera and XPression graphics engines to the screens throughout the facility. In total, 7 XPressions running simultaneously with 15 output channels, displaying 15 different screen layout styles were utilized. In addition, 11 tickers running different content on different layouts were also being used.
In addition to Chameleon, Bannister Lake provided a complete cloud-based backup system and their unique Community data service. Community allowed editorial and production teams at the US Open to contribute news and essential information to the hundreds of thousands of tennis fans who attended the event.
The US Open Tennis Tournament at Flushing Meadows, NY is underway and at the heart of the enormous task of managing and visualizing the event data is Bannister Lake’s Chameleon. Chameleon software is handling thousands of datasets, moderating and distributing schedule information, matches, standings, social media, news, weather and more. Cloud backup is also provided by Chameleon.
Data projects of this magnitude require collaboration with multiple partners. Bannister Lake is working alongside Marty Dormany of The Academy of Lower Thirds and the team at Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. Through the combined efforts of these talented professionals, tennis fans throughout the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center receive live updates and vital tournament information from place-based digital signs throughout the facility.
“It’s one of our largest and most complex projects”, says Alain Savoie, Bannister Lake’s Creative Director. “There are 763 players competing with 899 matches to be played over the 2-week period. Every single game needs the ability to be called up on the fly and include match data and player data.”
Chameleon is not only parsing and managing data, it is also providing the event’s scorebug and ticker solution. In all, 11 different ticker feeds are being generated and feeding various screens around the venue. In-stadium scorebugs are being displayed in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and in The Grandstand. In addition to Chameleon, Bannister Lake’s Community data service is being used by production teams to input content.
The US Open signage graphics are being run off 7 Ross Video XPressions outputting to 15 channels displaying 15 different screen layout styles using XPression Tessera and controlled through Ross Video DashBoard. Chameleon’s tight integration with Ross Video products assures operational efficiencies and outstanding performance.
Bannister Lake’s Chameleon with its powerful data engine, innovative parsing, versatile data reformat tools and ease of operation and setup make it the industry’s best choice for complex, mission-critical data visualization tasks.
Here’s the pain point: You need to manage an incredibly large amount of real-time data coming from multiple sources in a variety of formats. All those complex data sets need to be moderated, parsed, reformatted, visualized and then distributed to various screens/devices. Somehow you have to boil all that content down to present a compelling visual storyline that engages your audience. Bannister Lake’s Chameleon product handles this task everyday working with North America’s top broadcasters.
For the next 2 weeks Chameleon is powering digital signage systems at the US Open Grand Slam Tennis Tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York. Chameleon is managing thousands of data files from a diverse set of sources and distributing them to approximately 100 screens spread over the tournament’s four main venues, keeping spectators informed. Chameleon’s powerful data engine, innovative parsing, flexible management tools and ease of operation and setup make it the best choice for complex, mission-critical data visualization tasks.
Bannister Lake Chameleon plays a key role delivering real-time content for The Morning Show on Global News across Canada. Chameleon manages News, Weather, Sports, Traffic, Finance and Promos for playout, ingesting and managing everything from international news to local sports scores for regional playout.
Global’s use of BLADE, Chameleon’s restful API, enabled their technical and creative team to deliver a compelling localized on air presentation for multiple locations.
Chameleon delivers live content for RossVideo XPression, Vizrt, Chyron, Pixel Power, ClassX, Imagine Versio and many other broadcast graphics platforms.
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.