Date posted: September 8, 2014

Ross Brand-it becomes second Bannister Lake software solution specifically designed for Ross customers

Bannister Lake’s strategic relationship with Ross Video continues this week at IBC2014, as Ross introduces a new branding solution based on Bannister Lake’s broadcast automation software.  The out-of-the-box solution provides Ross with a solution that is simple to integrate, giving their customers an out-of-the-box on-air branding solution that is easy to use and navigate.

Called XPression Brand-it, the new solution brings the power of Bannister Lake’s Brando to the Ross Video XPression graphic production workflow. BL Brando is a data-rich, web-based software solution that simplifies how broadcasters dynamically incorporate and continuously update bugs, promos, snipes, sponsor messages, social media hashtags, and other branding elements within one or more program streams.

In the Ross Video workflow, Brand-it will help XPression users more efficiently create, schedule and manage unique branding content for multiple channels.  Configurations are available for both single-channel TV stations and multi-channel broadcast networks, ensuring a solution for broadcasters of any size and scale.

“The introduction of Brand-it extends the long-term relationship between Ross Video and Bannister Lake, following on the spring introduction of Tick-it, a Ross-branded ticker and branding solution based on Bannister Lake’s Super Ticker software,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake.  “The tight integration between Ross and Bannister Lake technology ensures that Ross customers have complete, highly interoperable solutions for automated on-air branding and graphics.”

Brand-it also supports an unlimited number of graphic designers and production schedulers depending on operational needs. Web-based content authoring tools also enable multiplatform, web-based content authoring for users across fixed and mobile devices, including traditional desktop workstations, laptops and tablets. This capability, along with tighter integration across traffic and automation systems, ensures that users can flexibly schedule branding content months in advance, or make on-the-fly changes up until moments before airtime.

Visitors to the Ross Video stand (9.C23) can see a full demonstration of XPression Brand-it at the IBC 2014 Show, taking place September 12-16 at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam.

Date posted: August 20, 2014

New software solution broadens scope for innovative Super Ticker solutions, covering all operations from call letter stations to large multichannel networks

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Canada, August 20, 2014BL Super Ticker, the robust content management and playout solution from Bannister Lake, has long been a leading choice for lightning-fast delivery of on-air graphics and data in Canada.  Bannister Lake is now bringing the workflow experience of Super Ticker to a wider North American audience with BL Super Ticker Solo, a full version of the tried-and-true software in a single-channel only configuration.  BL Super Ticker Solo reduces the hardware but retains its predecessor’s powerful feature set.

An example of data output across on-air graphics via Bannister Lake’s Super Ticker Solo

The streamlined Super Ticker Solo boils down the multichannel approach for call letter stations and other single-channel TV operations.  While the original Super Ticker architecture networks a master server with multiple, and sometimes geographically distributed players, Super Ticker Solo localizes the creative power and data-flow flexibility within a compact, single-box solution—lowering the cost of entry for local TV stations, cable access channels and small broadcast networks.  Super Ticker Solo also keeps the clean, intuitive interface to maintain ease of use, as well as limitless output and independent content zones for a high-quality, engaging and professional on-air look that plays out across many consumer devices.

“Super Ticker Solo eliminates the server overhead of Super Ticker that, while very affordable for multichannel applications, is impractical for smaller broadcast and cable stations that don’t require more than one channel,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake.  “Super Ticker Solo reduces the footprint to a 3RU chassis that is simple to integrate.  Yet, it leverages the same powerful software to creatively and reliably produce, manage and playout anything from simple news tickers and lower-third data crawls; to active, dynamic graphics and animations across multiple screen zones.”

Call letter stations can still benefit from the multi-user capability that differentiates Super Ticker from competitive systems, allowing many operators to use Super Ticker Solo across the workflow for separate graphics creation and content management functions.  Production teams benefit from a similar blend of creativity and management through an ability to combine original editorial content with automated data retrieval.  This operational freedom enables users to reliably automate playout of up-to-date news feeds, stock tickers, sports scores, weather conditions and more, while mixing in unique branded content customized for specific viewing audiences—such as revenue-generating sponsor messages.

Collectively, Super Ticker and Super Ticker Solo cover the gamut from the most modest broadcast operations to the largest networks, with both versions able to dynamically scale output using a time-based, automated rundown; or enable users to manually shift gears to very specifically address quickly changing program needs.

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Date posted: August 6, 2014

New BL Brando 2.0 software enhances how broadcasters create, schedule and manage branding elements for single and multichannel playout architectures

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Canada, August 6, 2014 — Graphics automation specialist Bannister Lake has released the second generation of BL Brando, a data-rich, web-based software solution that simplifies how broadcasters dynamically incorporate and continuously update bugs, promos, snipes, sponsor messages, social media hashtags, and other branding elements within one or more program streams.

As the market leading solution in Canada, Brando has enhanced how the largest Canadian broadcasters create, schedule and manage unique branding content for multiple channels.  The second-generation Brando release extends its reach across the workflow—including tighter integration with traffic and automation systems—and adds an alternate version tailored for single-channel operations.  Called BL Brando Solo, this single-box solution includes all the power of Brando while reducing the cost and infrastructure for U.S. call letter stations and TV operations that only require branding for one channel.

The second-generation of BL Brando includes two versions: one for larger broadcast networks, and a second lighter version, BL Brando Solo, for single-channel TV operations

Importantly, the new single and multi-channel configurations both retain the trademark ease of use that differentiates the initial Brando release from competitive automated branding solutions. This covers everything from graphics design, data integration and scheduling triggers to more advanced workflow-centric applications, such as direct support for editing resources; and reconciliation of content and scheduling changes between graphics and master control.  The latter feature, which automates publishing of such changes across the workflow, is especially useful for branding elements like sponsor messages and cross-channel promotions that are associated with monetization.

“Many graphics automation solutions, particularly for branding, require that end users communicate changes to the supplier in order to accommodate updates and expansions, increasing costs and implementation times,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake.  “Brando eliminates that complexity at the end user level by integrating tools that simplify how end users can make adjustments as branding requirements evolve.  This ensures that our customers can optimize their branding workflows for ongoing use without hindering progress or affecting the bottom line.”

As with the initial Brando release, the new version also supports an unlimited number of graphic designers and production schedulers depending on operational needs. Web-based content authoring tools also enable multiplatform, web-based content authoring for users across fixed and mobile devices, including traditional desktop workstations, laptops and tablets.  This ensures that users can flexibly schedule content months in advance, or make on-the-fly changes up until moments before airtime.

A complete list of new Brando features for the second-generation release can be found at:

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Date posted: June 3, 2014

BL Elector helps broadcasters like Shaw Media strategize news coverage throughout the election lifecycle

On June 12, Bannister Lake will enable Canadian broadcast and cable networks in Ontario, including Shaw Media’s Global Toronto, to deliver real-time, on-air results from the 41st Provincial Election with BL Elector, a unique software-based solution that intelligently manages the constant flow of voting data reported on live television.

At its core, BL Elector is a web-based, database-driven content management solution that maximizes flow for on-air production staff, allowing multiple operators to populate data from many election feeds within on-air graphics. For election night coverage, BL Elector excels in delivering up-to-date information to viewers in a visually appealing manner, while giving talent, producers and administrators easy access to a wealth of candidate and election information.

However, for broadcasters like Global Toronto, the value of BL Elector extends well beyond driving data and graphics for election night results.

“Too many election products only focus on election night events, but BL Elector is a go-to source for data aggregation throughout election season,” said Gerry Belec, director, technology and design for Global News, Shaw Media. “For the past several weeks, we’ve built an election bible with extensive detail on candidates and ridings using BL Elector, while pulling forward past election information to use as historical and comparison data. Post-election, we can call up statistics and use them to build analysis.  And on election night, we can pump live, up-to-the-minute data right into the broadcast and website.”

Reliable and easy to use, BL Elector seamlessly automates up-to-date election information as votes are tallied and reported – pulling feeds from any available election source. Direct integration with graphics systems ensures clean layouts of real-time, BL Elector-driven data for pre-designed templates across multiple screen zones. Graphics playlists can be organized into unlimited groups of regions, ridings, parties, charts and maps. In larger elections, operators can break down data from many regions into smaller subsets, enhancing the local element for viewers following county-by-county races, for example.

For customers like Shaw Media—which uses BL Elector across all of its TV stations and its website—the solution provides richer benefits through its blending of automated and manually entered content. This enables operators to innovate custom editorial, highlighting detail around live polling, close races, landslides, major swings and other electoral riding developments.

“You have to be prepared with content to put the election into context,” said Belec.  “If one candidate is well ahead, we can easily pull up a bio and find out everything there is to know about the candidate in the system.  As live data comes in, we can highlight how that candidate is performing against the competitor.  BL Elector helps us automate as much of the process as possible while giving us freedom to drive our editorial.”

Belec adds that Bannister Lake’s multiplatform approach ensures that BL Elector centrally drives all data for on-air, web and mobile targets—as well as virtual sets inside the studio—to maximize efficiency across the production workflow.  He points to constant evolution of the software as an additional benefit, noting a just-added rehearsal tool that allows production staff to simulate and prepare for various outcome scenarios.

“For more than a decade, BL Elector has been the leading choice for bilingual (English and French) on-air election results for federal, provincial and municipal elections across Canada, giving broadcasters a competitive edge in strategizing election coverage,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake.  “It is ideally suited for today’s broadcast and cable networks, reliably filtering, finding and reporting data across non-stop, high-pressure on-air scenarios.  Most importantly, it gives our customers like Shaw Media the control to highlight races and election data that is relevant to their viewers.”

Date posted: May 1, 2014

Bannister Lake introduces dedicated software application for GV Director, amplifying graphics workflow capabilities for live sports production

Bannister Lake announces the release of BL Score Bug for the GV Director Nonlinear Live Production System from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand.  This new version of Bannister Lake’s Score Bug software was custom written specifically for GV Director to enhance its sports graphics environment—accelerating time-to-air with visually engaging, data-rich score bugs that keep fans in the game. BL Score Bug is a real-time scoring and game status display system designed for live sports broadcasts.

GV Director emphasizes creativity and smart workflows, integrating video switching, multi-layer effects, animated graphics and more into a single, compact solution.  BL Score Bug for GV Director reliably pulls live game data from industry-leading scoreboard controllers like Daktronics, Whiteways, and OES combining the data with the output of a sport-specific graphical user interface (GUI), and using that data to drive GV Director’s professional, animated graphics.

BL Score Bug software can be purchased and downloaded from the Bannister Lake website.  Once installed on a Windows PC, a simple configuration screen provides connectivity to the supported scoreboard controllers and control over the graphic elements distributed with GV Director.

“We are excited to partner with Bannister Lake on this customized tool for GV Director.  This adds yet another feature to our already rich set of live production tools within GV Director. BL Score Bug provides operators with the ability to keep up with the fast pace on game day for sports events of any size or type. Ultimately, this broadens the breadth and depth of GV Director for our customers,” said Mike Cronk, senior vice president of strategic marketing, Grass Valley.

BL Score Bug will seamlessly integrate across the GV Director workflow to further simplify and empower live production operations.  The company has also developed special graphic templates to correlate with various score bug configurations—giving everyone in live production (teams, broadcasters, venues, mobile trucks) a cost-efficient, all-in-one score bug solution for any sport.

Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake, notes that GV Director operators are accustomed to flexible workflows—making Bannister Lake’s open, easy-to-use score bug software a perfect fit.

“BL Score Bug is a proven solution for sports broadcasters at every level from high school teams to professional teams,” said Hentsch.  “The integration with GV Director adds to the growing desire for data-rich score bug capability to an already feature-rich and powerful live production system.”


Date posted: April 1, 2014

Complete solution supports lightning-fast live graphics production on a laptop

Bannister Lake will demonstrate an out-of-the-box portable score bug solution at the 2014 NAB Show (Las Vegas Convention Center, April 7-10) that accelerates time to air for live sports graphics production.  Developed to work with AJA Video Systems’ edit products, the complete solution gives broadcasters and mobile production truck operators an affordable, portable turnkey system to produce visually engaging score bugs as part of a comprehensive sports graphics workflow.

At NAB 2014, Bannister Lake will demonstrate the complete workflow at the AJA booth (SL2505), featuring Bannister Lake’s BL Score Bug Go software and the AJA Io XT, a compact I/O device that accommodates graphics playout from a Thunderbolt™ enabled laptop.  The low-cost package offers an equally powerful alternative to traditional, expensive and non-portable score bug systems.

The Score Bug Go solution incorporates compact AJA I/O hardware to enhance portability for sports graphics production

BL Score Bug Go supports HD-SDI output of scoring and game status, interfacing with Whiteway, Daktronics and OES scoreboard controllers to automate game-related data in real time across the graphics workflow.  The AJA Io XT brings additional power through its high-speed, high-bandwidth Thunderbolt™ connection, providing output of high-quality graphics and score bugs for live broadcasts and in-venue productions.  The ultra-compact form factor of the AJA Io XT enhances overall portability, allowing users to quickly set up and operate the system from any location.

The combination of Bannister Lake’s software and AJA’s hardware also gives customers the freedom to use the internal downstream keyer or an external production switcher based upon workflow preferences.  Both linear keying options enhance the visual appeal of score bugs by enabling transparency along edges and other graphic design elements.  This gives customers complete control over the on-air look of score bug graphics, along with remarkable ease of use.

“The Bannister Lake and AJA Video Systems solution gives broadcasters and truck operators a no-compromise solution for portable sports graphics,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake.  “As with all our BL Score Bug products, this solution is designed for professional, collegiate and amateur sport leagues but provides the added benefit of an all-in-one package that gives operators the flexibility to achieve lightning-fast, broadcast-quality and data-rich sports graphics on the move.”

Date posted: January 16, 2014

BL Score Bug Go delivers portable and affordable score bug graphics when space and budgets are tight

Bannister Lake announces the immediate availability of BL Score Bug Go, a compact, cost-effective, lightweight professional score bug solution for live broadcast sports and in-house venue stadium, arena, and park production.  This uncompromising carry-on package provides support for HD-SDI output of real-time scoring and game status, helping production teams generate high quality turnkey score bug graphics from a portable system at a fraction of the price.

This turnkey solution packs exceptional power given its compact laptop-sized form factor featuring Bannister Lake’s scoring and game status solution and a sophisticated graphics and animations engine.  A Thunderbolt™-enabled laptop bundled with an AJA Io XT external video interface device offers:

  • Full uncompressed HD and SD 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 capable video capture and playback
  • Built-in support for HD clips and audio
  • Switchable reference and LTC inputs and outputs

BL Auto Pilot™ support additionally provides direct data connectivity to arena scoreboard controllers and radar guns for instantaneous and automated game data.

Bannister Lake’s sport-centric interface turns operators into power users. Operator hot keys offer instant in-game access to score, sponsor, and clock updates, and game exceptions and infractions such as penalties, flags, and substitutions.

“The Score Bug Go solution is the right score bug solution at the right price,” stated Georg Hentsch, President of Bannister Lake. “Between its full HD SDI key and fill and the solution’s $15K price tag, every broadcaster and venue can be a major league player with stunning, cutting-edge score bug output.”

BL Score Bug Go is available and shipping now through Bannister Lake as well as authorized resellers.

Date posted: November 21, 2013

BL Snow Day offers a simple, cost-effective way to generate and deliver school and community notices across many systems and devices

Bannister Lake announces the availability of BL Snow Day, a new cost-effective school closures and local community events solution for broadcasters, schools, municipalities and digital signage networks.

BL Snow Day’s simplified web-based workflow provides an unlimited number of content moderators the ability to pre-schedule content for future play out and set automatic story expiration. Automation and editorial tools enable staff to manage community events, local news stories, images, and video content and organize it into reusable topics and playlists ready for broadcast.

In broadcast, BL Snow Day helps local TV stations generate and broadcast real-time critical school closures and bus cancellations or delays due to inclement weather on any platform, including digital signage, web, and mobile.   BL Snow Day also provides a simple toolset for on-campus information, allowing K-12 schools and universities to share early dismissal details across campus TV systems and digital signage networks.

Additionally, municipalities can use BL Snow Day to broadcast school closing and community event information across town hall systems, and offer it as a shared resource for the entire community.  This allows local broadcasters, schools, and fire and police departments to centrally access and use the system.

Above all, BL Snow Day is quick to deploy, providing end users and systems integrators with an uncomplicated platform that is simple to install and easy to learn.  Any system that can read an RSS, XML, ODBC, or JSON feed can immediately integrate BL Snow Day output, which gets new customers up and running quickly.

“Your school closure solution shouldn’t be complicated to install, integrate or operate when you’re looking to share local information with your viewers quickly and efficiently,” stated Pete Challinger, VP U.S. Business Development at Bannister Lake. “BL Snow Day is easy to integrate and easy to learn. It eliminates your manual copy and paste workflows, and it offers good value for call letter stations, schools and government agencies looking to add closure coverage or update their existing systems.”

BL Snow Day is available as an enterprise server 1RU chassis solution, a secure cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, and a lightweight, solid-state, portable Nano turnkey solution that fits in the palm of the hand.

Date posted: October 29, 2013

Bannister Lake Software, the leading provider of automated broadcast display solutions, announced a new business partnership with turnkey digital media communication systems industry leader, Key Code Media, at SMPTE 2013 in Hollywood.

Pete Challinger of Bannister Lake and Michael Cavangh of Key Code Media shake

Pete Challinger of Bannister Lake and Michael Cavangh of Key Code Media shake hands at the SMPTE 2013 conference following confirmation of the agreement

The agreement covers Bannister Lake’s innovative social media integration, cloud-based content management, automated data entry solutions, and tight graphic engine integration. Key Code Media will incorporate these into their systems for Broadcast, Corporate video and digital signage applications.

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology and Marketing for Key Code Media commented, “We are particularly excited about the opportunities for social media integration, where we have many customers looking for an affordable and easy to use solution they can implement quickly.  Bannister Lake’s TweetOut Nano fits perfectly.”

Date posted: October 1, 2013

Bannister Lake has developed a custom broadcast graphics solution on the Ross Video XPression platform for The Shopping Channel (TSC). TSC is Canada’s leading interactive Canadian multi-channel retailer and a division of Rogers Communications Inc.

TSC purchased XPression Studio to replace an aging SD graphics system. Bannister Lake’s custom broadcast solution integrates with TSC’s existing programming infrastructure, and it bridges the gap between TSC’s current inventory, TSC’s product catalog database, and XPression.

The Bannister Lake solution features four main components:

- A show generator transforms XML show data into XPression Sequence groups and takes items for all show resources, including:  show bugs, name keys, real-time TSC inventory counts, product information, pricing, countdown timers, and support for social media integration.

- Display controls provide manual and automated CG operation. In addition to the XPression Sequence control, a virtual shotbox interface features configurable macros for graphics output.

- A data mirror utility maintains broadcast redundancy. The synchronization tool automatically and continuously mirrors all XPression show data to provide a hot-swappable broadcast system backup.

- An XPression graphics project contains corporate branding template elements and dynamically populated text and graphics fields.

The Shopping Channel went live with XPression and Bannister Lake’s custom broadcast solution at 10:00 p.m. ET on Friday, September 6, 2013.

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