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CNBC - On-air Look Redesign a Step Beyond Video Graphics

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CNBC - On-air Look Redesign a Step Beyond Video Graphics
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CNBC - On-air Look Redesign a Step Beyond Video Graphics
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A Brainstorm’s eStudio user since 2006, CNBC has raised the level of sophistication of on-air data driven broadcast graphics in the United States.

In 2011 the international community recognized CNBC with the 2011 IBC Innovation Award. This award highlighted CNBC’s evolution of on-air product and real-time graphics innovation through a combination of Brainstorm’s advanced technology and the amazing talent and visionary team of real-time graphics artists.

In 2014 CNBC celebrated its 25th Anniversary completing an ambitious project: the modernization of their installations, along with the full migration to 16:9 HD broadcasting and the redesign of their on-air looks to take advantage of this new structure.

CNBC completed a project to not only update their on-air graphic designs, but also fundamentally rethink the way financial graphics were displayed on screen. While CNBC had offered an HD product for several years, the video component of that was executed in a 4:3 aspect ratio with non-contextual side panels filling out the rest of the screen.

“Moving from a 4:3 screen to a full 16:9 HD ratio allowed us to update our visual effects, take a renewed look at our screen real estate, and completely rethink it” says Tom Clendenin, Senior Vice President of Marketing at CNBC. “Presenting financial data clearly and accurately to support better storytelling was the objective. Since financial data is a commodity, CNBC adds value to the information by telling the story. CNBC provides color, analysis, and perspective, answering the 'why' behind the data. We wanted to ensure that the most important information is delivered in a clear and powerful manner. We also wanted greater focus on our journalists and guests that deliver valuable insights across the 1,000-plus live interviews every business week”.

One of the key elements of the redesign was to achieve a closer integration between the different on-screen graphic elements and the live content of the program. This required the fluid integration of live video, interviews, live talent and data driven graphics.

According to Steve Fastook, Senior Vice President, Operations & Engineering “in order to achieve tight integration and fluid movement from live talent and interviews, the design called for new formats and techniques. to maintain energy while transitioning from live TV to full screen information, we made use of live video input to the Brainstorm devices which gave us the ability to create dynamic transitions that have not been done before.”

“With a focus toward showcasing our talent, guests, and their conversations, a new half screen data presentation format was designed to come and go as needed. This new format aids in maintaining the overall energy while providing real-time, actionable context to the conversation” continues Mr. Fastook.

Because of the tight schedule, CNBC worked closely with a dedicated team from Brainstorm Production Services department integrated on site for the project duration with their real-time graphics department, lead by don Jackson and Nigel Caughey, and the design team headed by Victoria Todis which proved to be a winning combination of technical knowledge and designing talent. In addition, a separate Brainstorm solution was integrated into the control room system flow to create a transition from live video to breaking news alerts and other high alert animations in a way that a switcher alone could not accomplish.

The end result features some groundbreaking effects and displays, which were accomplished through tight coordination across several departments. Mr. Fastook points out that “marketing, technical operations, editorial, and digital development were all involved over the course of a year to integrate the dynamic new design. The technical infrastructure had to be created, tested, and rehearsed in the months leading up to the launch”.

The new design provides actionable data faster and with greater impact than ever before. The look takes full advantage of the wider and more flexible canvas that the full HD format provides, and does this while showcasing the talent and guests and provides greater context and insight to the story. In Tom Clendenin’s words: “in addition to the presentation of data, we present a more dynamic transition between stories through real-time rendered video transitions.”

For Brainstorm, teaming up with CNBC for this project meant to be as close as possible with the most advanced real-time graphics in the market. CNBC’s seasoned team was capable of extracting the most from the Brainstorm eStudio engine, and in response, Brainstorm pushed the boundaries of technology and innovation to new limits to facilitate the work. 

“Brainstorm eStudio has been used by CNBC to present real-time data since 2006. It has proved to be a flexible and dependable tool for presenting data and for replicating designs and animations from the imaginations of very talented designers”. Steve Fastook, Senior Vice President, Operations & Engineering, CNBC