Author Archives: Stephanie Daye

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QUERY with Alain Savoie

 

Alain Savoie is our Creative and Technical Director at Bannister Lake and our first volunteer to participate in our summer long series: Query with…   Where every other week I’ll ask one of our staffers ten questions, to help our clients better understand masters behind the curtains.


Before we begin, what’s your primarily role with Bannister Lake?

I think the best way to answer that is, I’m that bridge between the developers and the clients.  I usually partake in the creative design work, assist in building their graphic layouts and connect those scenes with our products.  I do some training and installing, and some support work where I can.   Basically, I try to make our product look good, which is fairly easy to do since the products speaks for themselves. 

 

  1. A place where you are the happiest?

On vacation.. Which is rare.  I enjoy the beach relaxing or sightseeing ancient/historical locations.   Specifically historic war sites, or world wonders.

 

2. Who are some of your biggest life and career influencers?

Life always comes down to family and close friends.  When I need advice I know who to turn to.  As for career, my Media high-school teacher gave me a long leash, which in turn allowed me to make a project that got me into college, which in turn got me my first job.   Beyond that, just going with gut instincts.   

 

3. Who or what made you want to get into this field?

As all things in life, a lot of it was accidental.   The music program in high school got canceled in grade 11, which left me with an open elective.  I took Media.   While in college, my main focus was graphics, and animation, though I did enjoy the control room environment.    Out of college, I was offered a job to help launch two digital stations Leafs and Raptors TV, as graphic designer and CG operator.  Because of the nature of the network being short in staff, I got my hands dirty in many aspects of the station.  Understanding Master Control systems, to various control room positions.  Eventually those skills led me to become a consultant/trainer in the broadcast field.

 

4. What’s your vision for Bannister Lake?

A lot of it is dependent on the team.   We have an excellent group of developers that surprise me weekly with features.  My responsibility is to figure out ways of utilizing their innovative tools in a creative way.  Bannister Lake needs to keep up with the ever changing industry, and I believe we’re in a good position to take on the big players and the small ones alike.  

 

5. If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?

Problem solver.  I know, it’s 2 words, but that’s what best describes me.  With regards to broadcasting, I feel like I have a good ability to dissect a situation relatively quickly and come up with a solution to the problem.  

 

6. Where do you see broadcast industry moving within the next year? Next 2 years? Next 10?

You hear about cord cutting and IP TV.  This isn’t new to anyone.  For years I’ve been a cord cutter myself, and believe in broadcasting with no borders.  At the same time, hyper local is still important.  I care if an event happens near where I live, where as it’s less important if it’s hundreds of kilometers away.  Therefore, localized news, data, sports all important, while enjoying well produced content regardless of where it originates.  

 

7. What one piece of tech can you not live without and why?

Hate to say it, but smartphone.   As I travel a lot, the top 2 things you need would be Passport and phone.   From transferring money, to getting directions.  Or simply entertainment.   In the past, without a smartphone, you would need to carry so much.  Today, not so much.  

 

8. If you were stranded on an island what fictitious person or thing would be on it?

 Pizza oven, a deck of cards and Kate Beckinsale.  (you said fictitious right? )

 

9. Favorite meal/snack while you work?  

Crispers, BBQ, and some cheese… grapes maybe.   Which I will now get.  Or Mini Pizzas.    And Georg got me on Soda Stream.

 

10. One song that describes the soundtrack of your life so far?

This answer would change daily.    For now, let’s go with a whole soundtrack… Empire Strikes Back by John Williams.

 


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QUERY with Rex

NewTek‘s Rex Olson, VP eCommerce Business Development,  sat down with with the Bannister team after NAB to discuss Chameleon and how it fit in with the NDICentral Live show at the recent National Association of Broadcasters‘ show.

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Chameleon Chosen By NewTek for NDI™ Central Live Ticker at NAB

CAMBRIDGE, ON 04-17 – Bannister Lake’s recently released Chameleon software has been chosen by NewTek’s production team for use during NewTek’s NDI™ Central Live stream from NAB 2017.

 

The NDI- supported software will provide floor support as their ticker solution during the live webcast displaying news, events and social media related to NAB and NDI products. Including highlights from the NDI Central Live interviews and stage demonstrations, Chameleon will assist with the playout, operating like its own “channel” for the duration of NAB. The Chameleon screen is dynamic, providing targeted tweets, facebook postings, event listings, and NDI- related news items generated by the NDI Central Live staffers.

 

“It’s a very simple set up – an example of Bannister Lake’s continued push to create easy-to-use software with very little hardware, while using the popular NDI technology protocol. To set up an NDI stream, we need a computer with the project along with our Chameleon player.  The player pulls data from our cloud or local instance. Then it’s an hour or so with a member of the NewTek team to go over the UI and how to enter things properly and get them going,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake Software.

 

“The “NDI Central Live” webcast will be streamed on ndicentral.com to highlight new products and workflows. Chameleon gives us an additional NDI source of dynamic content that will be fed remotely by staff at NewTek headquarters in San Antonio. It’s a nice enhancement to the production that will help us keep our viewers informed and engaged,” said. Rex Olson, vice president of VP eCommerce Business Development for NewTek.  

 

Using the Chameleon Cloud instance, NewTek’s  San Antonio production staff will have the ability to maintain and create content for their NDI Central Live ticker remotely from NewTek headquarters in San Antonio, allowing local personnel in Las Vegas full focus on the NAB production.


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Chameleon: Ticker/Branding for Broadcast Beat’s NAB Show Daily Broadcasts

March 07, 2017 – Broadcast Beat, the official broadcaster for the  NAB Show, will feature Bannister Lake’s Chameleon in the daily broadcasts at NAB. The broadcast will feature the use of NDI, Newtek’s video over IP technology.

Chameleon Creates Synergy

Chameleon used in daily play out for NAB's Broadcast Beat Show

Chameleon bridges data with graphics in an NDI supported system

Partnering with Broadcast Beat to enhance their live show is a prime example of how we work!” – Georg Hentsch, President Bannister Lake

The Canadian company will produce a sleek, customized output/overlay to promote events, headlines and social media for such organizations as SMPTE, IEEE and other NAB affiliations. The possibilities are endless for Chameleon’s applications. Using it in a hyper-local setting with specific data demands and sponsorship demonstrates the strengths of Chameleon.

Broadcast Beat’s Vision

Broadcast Beat, partners with Bannister Lake for NAB Show

The official broadcaster of NAB Show

Broadcast Beat has been at the helm of the show for several years and is lead by Ryan Salazar, a producer who envisions the software package the way it was meant to be – a bridge between local data and a creative content display.


“For example, SMPTE has a two day conference during NAB so  members and staff  will have the ability to  input updates and  events during the show. It makes it easier for them to coordinate meetings at specific locations at NAB plus share thoughts with other members. “ – Ryan Salazar, Exec. Producer NAB Show LIVE

Organizations and NAB affiliates have direct access to the data on the ticker, writing updates and scheduling events directly into Chameleon’s cloud interface. NAB consumers get to participate fully in the NAB experience through targeted and hyper-local messaging.


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“Virtual Live” Project: Rogers Radio

CAMBRIDGE, ON 02-24  In early 2016, Rogers Radio contacted Bannister Lake, starting a project for a custom solution, streamlining a specific process with their existing radio workstation  software – mainly the complex area for recording and distributing voice tracks.

 

“In many cases, a single announcer will host all stations in a network at once, inserting voice content at regular breaks. Voice content is not quite live, but “virtually live”, i.e. recorded and then distributed for playback a few minutes later.”   – Jan Huus, Senior Consultant

 

Jan Huus, Bannister Lake’s Senior Consultant, completed an analysis phase in June 2016.  Software development started in September, and the system went live in January 2017.

The Backstory

Rogers Radio owns over 50 radio stations across Canada, using Wide Orbit Automation for Radio to manage detailed scheduling and delivery of content. Most stations are grouped into networks, the more significant is the Ontario market.

Networks are extensive.  To create efficient workflow, a single announcer will host all stations in a network at once, inserting specific station voice content at regular breaks. Voice content is not quite live, but “virtually live” – recorded and, within minutes,  sent across a Rogers Radio network.

 

The New Custom Widget and Server Solution

The complex steps involved were problematic with Rogers Radio’s  initial setup so  to streamline the transfer and retrieval of audio packs.  Bannister Lake designed a solution that targets the communication between an announcer’s workstation and the Central Server.

 

“Written in Java,  the software Rogers Radio uses consists of three main parts; a UI  workstation for announcers, a Central Server and  Friendship Server.  Rogers uses one Central Server per city, to handle all the workstations in that city.”  – Jan Huus, Senior Consultant

 

The workstation is mainly a collection of specialized “widgets”, such as a Library Widget for searching content, and an Audio Editor for recording and editing content. Custom widgets can be made using a native Java API. There is no native Java API for the Central Server but there is an XML-based REST API that the newly created Bannister Lake server uses to search and update audio tracks.

Bannister Lake developed a custom “Virtual Live” widget  that “talks” with the custom server.  It interacts with the Central Server on behalf of the custom widget,  an application  designed to  streamline recordings and voice track distribution .

 

Features include: Virtual Live area complete with radio station. Date time and break are mapped to the cart (AAMA)

Custom Rogers Radio “Virtual Live” Widget by Bannister Lake. Photo Courtesy Jan Huus Features include: Virtual Live area complete with radio station. Date, time and break are mapped to the cart (AAMA.)

Future Improvements

The custom widget improved an announcer’s time interacting with the UI, getting their audio tracks placed in the right categories in a fraction of the time, partly due to the Quick Record feature, reducing the number of steps to record a new track. Radio announcers  don’t need to manually set the start and end dates to ensure the cart is played only on the selected day and the search function is a secondary option for any user that needs to look up a cryptic audio file name or category code.

With the new option, announcers just pick a break time and one or more stations to update from a list containing only the relevant station names – hours and audio break times are simply mapped to the relevant cart. Bannister Lake also implemented a dual time-stamp feature, informing announcers when a voice track was last updated and when it was  received at the target station.

Photo/Courtesy Jan Huus:  Quick Record feature allows radio announcers to record audio tracks within minutes.

Successful implementation of application services is the company’s hallmark.  The roll out of the custom “Virtual Live” widget received positive reviews from the Rogers Radio team, extending the partnership. Jan’s created further system builds that he continues to roll out for the telecommunications company, customizing their work flow and making life a little easier in the announcer’s booth.

People mentioned in this article:

Jan Huus 

Senior Consultant, Bannister Lake

jhuus@bannisterlake.com


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CHAMELEON: One Source for Everything. Connect CGs, Branding Systems with SDI, NDI and WebGL Support, Plus a Native Graphic Engine

CAMBRIDGE, ON.  Chameleon, an adaptable media graphics solution for NDI, SDI and Digital online applications contains the company’s best branding and ticker elements that media organizations expect in an increasingly “on-demand” broadcast environment.

Chameleon

 

 

Chameleon: Moving in the Right Direction 

“ We moved in a direction where both products worked well together and with graphics, Brando and Super Ticker could co-exist on the same CG and users could log onto both simultaneously, even with the same credentials, using LDAP or Google.” – George Hentsch, President, Bannister Lake Software

 A push to build an HTML5 renderer for web-based, signage and inexpensive media solutions. Bannister Lake’s Chameleon effort quickly morphed into an SDK, giving customers support for any CG to be plugged into the architecture and that  early success developed into expanded support from HTML5 rendering to supporting Ross Video’s XPression, NewTek’s NDI. Also in the works is a soon to be released  SDI support using the AJA SDK,  another launching pad of future collaborations with additional CG vendors and Bannister Lake.

Media businesses have the option to own an instance of Chameleon on a native server or access on the cloud.  Cloud offers flexible and dynamic access to multiple terminals so there is no need for executable files.  Multiple readers, modules and ranges in services to help small, medium and large media organizations is proof of its adaptability. The software is a cross-platform source for media, signage, digital and web solution; Chameleon NDI for data only solutions to Chameleon Cloud and  Pro that push data plus digital and video output.

Chameleon: Endless Possibilities

“A ticker zone shows programming info right in the rundown but it could display weather, scores and what’s on next on the current channel or for all channels in the station group; all as part of a simple or a complex rundown. On the branding side, a bug could show weather information for a city or a playlist of cities or sponsored snipes that show scores of  major teams in your city and the possibilities are endless.”

– Georg Hentsch, President, Bannister Lake Software

During the NAB show book with Danny or D’Arcy or any of our sales reps at the booths or visit bannisterlake.com/NAB2017 to book an appointment to view Chameleon.

 


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