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Ascent Media Picks Snell & Wilcox Ukon For Virtual Telecine

Buys 13 universal conversion platforms for consistent DVD deliverables (September 02, 2004)

Snell & Wilcox today announced that its Ukon universal conversion platform is being used by Ascent Media Group in Burbank in a virtual telecine environment to reduce dramatically the time required for DVD aspect ratio versioning and to ensure that all versions of the same material are absolutely identical.

Ascent Media developed its virtual telecine environment to eliminate the need for separate transfers when creating various widescreen and full-screen DVD versions of feature films. Using a reverse anamorphic best-light technique, Ascent Media puts the image of each film frame into the HD video space with a single pass through a conventional telecine, then writes the HD data in real time to a SAN disk array. Digital restoration and color correction using the da Vinci 2K are then completed on this unique version before various aspect ratio versions are generated by Ukon.

As the transform engine in this environment, the Snell & Wilcox Ukon gives full control of the images to the da Vinci 2K color corrector, providing a transparent resizing engine with an output that is indistinguishable from telecine-based versions at a significantly lower cost than alternative solutions. To date, Ascent Media has purchased 13 Ukon systems, including the six used by Ascent Media Management Services in Burbank and in Northvale, N.J.

"We chose the Ukon because it gave the highest-quality results in all the tests we did with clients," said Kevin Sanders, Ascent Media's vice president of engineering. "We can see no discernable difference between the transform engine used in the conventional telecine and the transform engine in the Ukon." Since Ukon enables the film to be transferred via the conventional telecine only once, Ascent Media's clients are assured that digital restoration and color correction decisions will be consistent and uniform across all deliverable versions. Not only does the process ensure higher quality at lower cost - because colorist resources can be focused on a single unique HD transfer -- but it also reduces wear and tear on the film itself.

Snell & Wilcox Ukon provides up-conversion, down-conversion, and cross-conversion, either singly or in any combination. Designed to handle different frame rates, image sizes, and aspect ratios, the system includes features such as tilt, pan and zoom, timecode conversion with precise frame mapping, comprehensive audio handling, and 3:2 cadence detection and repair. Unlike any other format conversion system, Ukon executes all these functions at the same time, in a single pass. Frequently used conversions can be programmed for reuse at the touch of a button.

"Ukon by itself is a great product, and in virtual telecine, it becomes a key part of an amazing system designed by Ascent Media to reduce time-to-market and ensure uniformity and the highest quality of deliverables worldwide," Sanders added.

About Snell & Wilcox
Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that enable television and satellite broadcasters, post-production facilities, filmmakers, and communications professionals to move content seamlessly between analog, digital, high definition, and file-based systems and to bridge the world's multiplicity of line/field and color standards. The company provides switchers and keyers, standards conversion systems, networked infrastructure components, and products for noise reduction, image enhancement, and restoration. In business since 1973, Snell & Wilcox maintains its U.S. headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., and European headquarters in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Additional offices are located in New York, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Russia.

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Related Keywords:Ascent Media, Snell & Wilcox, Ukon, Telecine, virtual telecine, da Vinci 2K, Kevin Sanders,

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