Based in Saskatoon and founded in 1989, Bamboo Shoots is the largest video production company in Saskatchewan. Bamboo creates corporate videos, commercials, and covers live broadcasts for concerts, sports, and other events.
Three years ago, they started using a number of Ross Video products that are used in their mobile production truck, and we recently caught up with Chris Kaptein, a Special Effects & Animation Editor at Bamboo Shoots, to discuss how their creative use of Ross Video’s DashBoard has helped create a smoother and more engaging production.
Bamboo Shoot’s mobile production truck is currently outfitted with a suite of Ross Video products including a Carbonite switcher, XPression graphics system, DashBoard control system, and an NK router. They had been using XPression fairly successfully to provide graphics while covering live sporting events, such as hockey and curling, and also had been using Datalinq with Excel for the rosters, and widgets for the score and the clock. However, they found that with the more advanced aspects of their production, such as penalty timers or team rosters, it was harder to manage with just XPression alone. Chris and his team decided to look for ways to create a more engaging production with the tools they already at their disposal.
In the summer of 2014, Ross Video provided an XPression tutorial to the Bamboo Shoots production team, where they learned that XPression could be controlled through Ross’ DashBoard control system. At the time, they had only been using DashBoard for routing and monitoring, and they were interested to see how DashBoard could help improve their production. They would be able to use some of Ross Video’s resources such as XPressionU and their online forums, and from there create a custom DashBoard panel that would be uniquely suited to the needs of their productions. For example, they were able to create a reliable penalty timer system, as well as a drop down menu to enter and select from team rosters.
As Chris said, “I’m not a programmer by any means, and I pretty much strictly design. But I was interested to hear that I could control XPression with DashBoard, and in turn it encouraged me to dig more deeply and use the Ross Video forums. I was able to bring together some scripts to create our first DashBoard panel, and from this first panel I’ve been able to adapt it to the variety of sports we produce. Now we have panels for hockey, basketball, curling, roller derby, and I’m working on a football one for the upcoming season.”
By creating their own custom panel and integrating it closely with their other Ross Video products, production value has increased, and things have been made easier for the whole team. As Chris said, “We recently did a live curling broadcast, and that was exciting for us because it was our first litmus test on how well this setup would work in a live environment. In fact, this was the first time we ran our DashBoard computer on a separate screen than our XPression computer, which I think opens up a whole new door for our operators. Now our operators don’t have to be stuck in the truck, they can be right in the arena, and then just network into the truck that way.”
The Bamboo Shoots team has been enjoying the high level of interoperability that their Ross Video equipment provides. As Chris notes, “the integration with the switcher is really nice. Figuring out how our switcher can use macros with XPression is making everyone’s job a lot easier, and making our switching a lot faster. Before, it was just a simple key-in / key-out type of thing, but now the switcher can run wipes and manage a lot of other aspects of the production. This allows the XPression operator to focus on keeping the clock and the score correct. The high level of integration between the equipment is great, and everything talks to each other really well.”