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28/06/2004

The Matchbox selects Snell & Wilcox Ukon

Facing an increasing demand for HD outputs of both commercials and longform programming, leading Brussels post house The Matchbox has installed a Snell & Wilcox Ukon universal standards converter, the first to be commissioned in Belgium.
The Matchbox is the foremost editor of commercials in Brussels. Approximately 80% of the post house's work is finishing new commercials or versioning international spots with the four discreet Smoke 6 suites that make up the backbone of the facility. An increasing portion of the work is completed in HD.
"We are doing more and more in HD," said editor Paul Englebert, CEO of The Matchbox and a 10-year HD veteran. "Mostly the need is to go from PAL (625/50) to HD. A lot of clients' material and archives are in PAL and they want to insert this into their new HD production."
The Ukon buying decision was based on an on-site trial at The Matchbox.
"The quality of up-res is better than with other converters," Englebert said. "In fact, its movement analysis is so powerful that it finds things you cannot see in the original."
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's features include 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.
"We programmed the memories for different types of inputs while looking for things like best anti-aliasing," said Englebert. "So now we just push the button for 'Betacam' or '35mm in PAL', and that's it."
The Matchbox frequently recommend that clients shoot and post in HD rather than using 35mm shots telecined to PAL. With the demonstrations of HD-shot material down-resed to PAL producing results that Englebert says are "50 or 60 percent better than straight PAL," more clients are choosing the HD/Ukon route.
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