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Snell & Wilcox Demos Kahuna Switcher at SMPTE

Integrates SD sources into HD productions without upconversion (October 19, 2004)

Snell & Wilcox's Kahuna, the industry's most advanced production switcher and the first ever to offer simultaneous high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) operations in the same mainframe with the same control panel, is seeing its first U.S. public demonstrations this week at the SMPTE Conference and Exhibition, being held Oct. 20-23 in Pasadena.

On view at the Snell & Wilcox booth, #200, Kahuna is the first-ever switcher to enable the seamless integration of SD sources into HD productions without upconversion. Future-proof and flexible, it allows operators to work initially in SD-only or HD-only mode and then upgrade to multiformat SD/HD operation whenever they choose. In multiformat SD/HD mode, Kahuna users can mix existing SD camera feeds, graphics, handheld shots, and archive footage directly into an HD production with no need to purchase expensive HD upgrades or extra HD upconversion equipment. This not only provides unparalleled operational flexibility, it also delivers tremendous cost savings to users.

Until now, HD/SD switchers have only been able to operate in either SD or HD modes, and generally require a reboot in order to switch between the two modes. Kahuna changes the rules of the game thanks to Format Fusion, a Snell & Wilcox technology that enables SD sources to be seamlessly integrated into HD products without the need for upconversion. With Kahuna, a single mainframe and single control surface simultaneously handles both SD and HD sources, and no reboot is required when switching from one standard to another. This functionality enables Kahuna operators to allocate mix/effects banks (M/Es) to either SD or HD sources, or to mix the two together on a single M/E. This operational flexibility extends to Kahuna's ability to network multiple control surfaces to different mainframes, to allocate one mainframe to separate control panels, or to operate in SD or HD as required, making maximum use of all available M/Es.

The ability to use SD sources within high-quality HD productions extends the useful life of existing SD hardware, potentially representing tremendous cost savings for facilities that would otherwise be forced to purchase multiple HD upconverters, new HD graphics capabilities, and new HD cameras in order to move to HD production.

Engineering Efficiency and Operational Control
Kahuna's compact, 11-RU mainframe is the smallest ever for a switcher with its capabilities, yet it contains up to four M/Es and eight optional channels of 3D DVE effects together with redundant power supplies. Its low weight, power consumption, and heat generation make Kahuna equally at home in weight-sensitive OB vehicles and in fixed installations.

Fully loaded with DVE options, the four-M/E Kahuna provides up to 24 separate SD or HD images that can be manipulated independently. In addition to having a dedicated Format Fusion engine, each M/E bank has four keyers able to perform luma, linear, and chroma keying; five transition wipe generators; a still store and RAM recorder; RGB color correction; two utility buses; and DMEM capability.

Designed by Snell & Wilcox with pressurized live production environments in view, Kahuna features the generic panel layout familiar to control room professionals. Subtle enhancements, such as the size and layout of the transition keys on each M/E, give fingertip familiarity to essential functions without the need to visually check. For greater operational convenience, every M/E on the system can be dynamically assigned on the control panel, allowing the operator to select which M/E bank will be used to cut the program and where it will be located on the desk.

Engineered for robust performance, Kahuna's M/Es are entirely independent from one another to eliminate the risk of a single point of failure, and can be hot-swapped during live operation. This means that in the unlikely event that a problem does arise, the relevant board can be removed and replaced if necessary with no down time and limited operational disruption.

Kahuna is available for order now and will begin shipping in Q4 2004.

About Snell & Wilcox
Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that enable television and satellite broadcasters, post production facilities, film makers, 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:Snell & Wilcox, Kahuna, Switcher, SMPTE, production switcher, Format Fusion, upconversion, 3D DVE, OB vehicles, keyers, DMEM, still store, color correction,


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