Chameleon Key Concepts & Terminology

The following are some Chameleon concepts and terminology which are central to the product’s workflow and components.

Concept / Term


Concept / Term


Agent Status

Flow displays the status of all agents in the header of each page. Agents include readers, dman functions and any other Chameleon microservice.


Chameleon uses the term agent to describe any of the microservices that provide functionality to Chameleon. The most common agents are readers and dman functions.

As Run Report

A report verifying the playout of a specific item of content typically as advertisement or appearance of a sponsor’s logo. The “As Run” report is used by media sales departments to prove to advertising clients that their purchased content did indeed playout and where it appeared. The “As Run” report is an essential document used throughout the media industry to reconcile advertising business.


Chameleon branding provides support for creating bugs and snipes which are referred to as assets.

Audit Log

A report that includes details of user initiated changes to content via Flow. It includes user name, date time, and what data was changed.


BL Active Data Exchange is Chameleon’s RESTful api for extracting data out of the Chameleon database. The data includes many of the standard containers in Flow (eg. Story Topic), reports and branding data.

BLADE Runner

BLADE Runner is a Windows application which pushes BLADE data to destinations including local files, FTPs, SFTPs and Amazon W3 Buckets.


Branding refers to Chameleon’s management of sponsor and promotional graphic assets and how they are organized, scheduled and associated with specific programs and branding players.


Bugs are a type of graphics asset which stay on air until they are explicitly taken off air. Bugs can include program schedule information, media, countdowns, clocks and dates. Bugs can be triggered from automation, scheduled in Flow or triggered manually from Flow or other apps using an ip socket.


A Calendar is a container is used for storing a group of Event data.


The destination of a combined show and project which is output via a Chameleon Ticker Player. Channels in Chameleon can model station identifications, regional affiliates, media groups, as needed.
A single channel is assigned to a single player in Chameleon, and multiple players can output the same channel to ensure hot-swappable output redundancy.


Community is a special instance of Chameleon which is a shared resource for all Chameleon users. All instances of Chameleon can in fact take the role of a community instance using the community mapping and reader. And Chameleon user can create their own Community instance to share data to their users and the general public.


Campaigns are attached to sponsors and branding assets to mark them to be written into the as run reports.

Content Admin

A security group. Users in this security group have access to manage all ticker content in Flow. They don’t manage users or branding content.

Content Editor

A security group. Users in this security group have access to the primary ticker content modules like Stories and Traffic and Events.

Content Group

A way for networks with multiple channel configurations to isolate groups of users and content. Also known as hubs.
Content Groups can be applied to user assignment and/or content assignment. When users are assigned to a content group, those users can view and edit all content in that group. When content is assigned to the Global that content can be viewed by all users but edited only by Global content group users. When users or content are assigned to specific content groups, access is limited accordingly.
For example, if you have two regional channels, you may want two content groups, one for each region. Within that content group you would define BL Flow users and accounts, as well as topics specific to each region. Users and content within one group can be entirely isolated from the other group as needed.

Custom Data Type

A Custom Data record can hold any of the supported data types in Dynamic Fields. In fact, the only data for a custom data record consists of dynamic fields and their values. Each custom data record can contain different dynamic fields if so desired. Custom data records are organized into groups called Custom Topics.


Chameleon's template design software that allows users to create graphic templates and link them to data. Chameleon Designer is used to create an entire Chameleon project with ticker and branding scenes. Chameleon Designer is used to create scenes, publish to a server and export the project to a player for playout.


DMan is a data management application for Chameleon. It is used to remove outdated or expired content that is no longer relevant to ensure data is optimized. It is used to remove old audit logs, and expired items such as, sports scores, stories, events and schedules.

Dynamic Field

Each data type like stories or weather have standard data fields. Dynamic fields is Chameleon’s method of attaching additional data to stand data types. For example, a sports score has standard fields like home team or visitor score. Dynamic fields provide a way of attaching special data to a score like inning, outs, shots on goal,… They are just a series of key/value pairs attached to a standard data type. There are no limits on the number of dynamic fields that can be attached.

Election Event

An Election Event is a container for an election. It is basically a way to group several election contests into a single entity.


Flow is the web application used to access and manage Chameleon data by users.


Chameleon Gears is an application for Chameleon that manages graphics and populates the Chameleon database with templates.

Google Sheet

Google Sheets are Google’s spreadsheet program included in it’s web-based office suite within the Google Drive service. The importance of Google Sheets in Chameleon is that there are several Google Sheet readers which synchronize with Chameleon data types.


Group is a container for data types closings and alerts. It acts in a similar way to a topic for stories.


HTML5 is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. The Chameleon Web Player will render its output to HTML5 which can be viewed in a web browser.


JavaScript Object Notation is a text-based open standard designed for human-readable data interchange and serves as a viable alternative to XML.
Chameleon's BLADE module enables you to assemble direct query URL access to data to use the same dynamic broadcast content on any platform in JSON format.


In Chameleon this refers to a sports league. Examples include MLB, NHL, NFL etc. However you can add your own local/regional sports leagues as well.


Can be used as an alternative login method. Allows users to login with an existing company account using the same user name and password.
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is an open, vendor-neutral, industry standard for accessing directory services. Microsoft’s Active Directory is a vendor specific implementation of LDAP.

Login Method

This is how user authenticate themselves to gain entry to Flow for Chameleon. Options include the default Flow defined user id and password, LDAP, or Google login.

Media Bin

A Media Bin is a container used for storing a group of Media data.


PixiJS is an open-source 2D engine used to make animated websites and HTML5 games. The Chameleon web player makes use of PixiJS for its HTML5 output rendering.


Player is the name given to the application which reads data/content from the Chameleon database and generates or renders that data into graphics based on the template and platform you are running on. There are current Chameleon Players supporting web or HTML5 output, NDI and broadcast SDI.


An ordered list of items. They can be used to select a subset of a group of items or to create a list of items from multiple groups in module.
Example: A Story playlist can contain a list of stories from a single Story topic or it can be a collection of stories pulled from multiple Story topics to create useful collection of stories to play to air.


In Chameleon, projects refer to graphics packages created in either Ross Video's XPression Studio or Chameleon Designer that contain a collection of scenes with defined zones for dynamic content population when played out through the Chameleon Ticker Player.
Also known as a graphics package or branding package.

Query Data Type

A Query Data type is a customized database query that is useful for acquiring any data in the Chameleon database.


A reader in Chameleon is a data parser which updates the database. It is a form of microservice in Chameleon’s ecosystem. They are also described as agents in Chameleon jargon and can have their statuses displayed in Flow.

Resource Tag

Resource tags tell the Chameleon Ticker Player where and how to substitute your content within a scene and zone. Each Topic type in Chameleon has a set of resource tags that it uses; some are mandatory and some are optional. For example, a Twitter topic scene needs the ^Tweet resource tag but ^Account and ^Name tags are optional.
Resource tags are specific naming conventions for objects in scenes which are preceded with a caret (^). In the previous example, you would create a text object and name it “^Tweet” to have the Tweets substituted at play out time. In order to show a Twitter account avatar, you would create a quad object and rename it to the resource tag: ^Avatar.


Representational state transfer (REST) is a software architechural style that defines a set of constraints to be used for creating Web services. Web services that conform to the REST architectural style, called RESTful Web services, provide interoperability between computer systems on the Internet. RESTful Web services allow the requesting systems to access and manipulate textual representations of Web resources by using a uniform and predefined set of stateless operations. Chameleon’s BLADE interface is an example of a RESTful API.


A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video, in a standardized XML file format. RSS feeds syndicate content automatically such that information can be published once and viewed many times by many types of software. A single RSS document is called a feed, web feed, news feed, or channel, and includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.
Chameleon supports both the input/ingest of RSS data as well as provides moderated content or output in RSS and other formats (see BLADE module for more info).


The defined list of topics that play out within a particular zone and the order in which that content plays.
For example, you may have a zone that will play headlines first, followed by local traffic.


Scenes are containers for components that make up your on air look. Scenes can consist of a single animated layout or can be grouped to create rolls and crawls.
In Chameleon, scenes contain zones that include various resource tags that define how and where Chameleon topics and content are dynamically populated.

Security Group

A security group is a collection of privileges that a user can be assigned to. Then any users assigned that security group have the privileges in that security group.
- System Admin has full access to all features. They are the only group with permission to edit users.
- Sales group would have very limited access to only reports, promos and branding assets.
- Content Editor has access the main ticker modules like Stories and Events but no access to any branding or promo modules.


The defined rundown and specific bugs and background elements from project (graphics package) make up a show. Shows in Chameleon can be any length of time. Also known as a Rundown Package.


Snipes are a type of graphics asset which have a duration attached to them in their timeline. Snipes can include program schedule information and media.. Snipes can be triggered from automation, scheduled in Flow or triggered manually from Flow or other apps using an ip socket.

Sponsor Spot

A Sponsor Spot is part of the Sponsor content type that allows a user to schedule a group of sponsors over the course of a day, and have those sponsors automatically be shown in the rundown ticker, without the need to move sponsors in and out of a rundown manually.


A template refers to a graphics template used for rendering branding, elections and ticker graphics. Template information is saved in the Chameleon database and is filled in with live data from the chameleon database by players.


Topic is one of the many types of containers for organizing Chameleon data types. For example, the Story data type uses topics to organize a group of stories.

Traffic Report

A Traffic report is a container for grouping Traffic data records. Traffic data, as it’s name implies, is used to provide details regarding a traffic situation that can be used to alert viewers of potential delays.

Web Widget

A web widget is a web page or web application that is embedded as an element of a host web page but which is substantially independent of the host page, having limited or no interaction with the host. Chameleon is an excellent data source for writing web widgets. Bannister Lake also provides Web Widgets as a service to customers.

Web Server

Web Server refers to Chameleon’s html5-based player used for rendering tickers, branding and elections graphics.


A writer in Chameleon takes data from Chameleon’s database and formats it as required by another system. It is a form of microservice in Chameleon’s ecosystem. They are also described as agents in Chameleon jargon and can have their statuses displayed in Flow.


XPression is Ross Video’s real-time motion graphics generation system. It is also characterized as a character generator. Chameleon has tight integration with XPression making it a key graphics engine for Chameleon’s broadcast graphics solutions.


Regions defined in a scene where content plays out that may include time-based constraints.
For example, if both headlines and traffic content are assigned to a specific zone, the content in that zone plays out in the rundown order you have configured. An L Bar layout would include a RIGHT zone and a BOTTOM zone. Good design practice suggests defining a single zone per scene.