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31/07/2008

Arctek Chooses FOR-A For Ice Hockey Coverage

FOR-A, a leading manufacturer of video and audio systems for the broadcast and professional video industries, has announced that Arctek and Galaxy Light & Power LLC in London has selected its FRC-7000 HD frame-rate converters to perform high-quality conversions for a recent live broadcast of the World Championship International Ice Hockey Federation, which was played in Halifax Nova Scotia and Quebec City Canada over a three week period.
An SD signal was also supplied, after being down converted to PAL.
Arctek had been contracted to provide a 1080/50i HD signal to Europe during the World Championships and were looking for frame rate conversion solutions during NAB2007. Upon meeting Anthony Klick, FOR-A Sales Manager for Eastern and Midwestern Regions at the FOR-A booth, Galaxy Light & Power was brought into the mix to make it happen.
According to Andy Grant of Galaxy Light & Power, several challenges arose during the event. He said: "Hockey is one of the most difficult things to convey - the puck moves at high speed when hit, there are Contrast issues because the players are wearing white and so is the ice. We've had an FRC-7000 for quite some time and were able to optimise it to produce the highest quality conversion possible."
"When performing a conversion from 1080/60i to 1080/50i, artifacts and fragments, or pieces of an image can appear. This happens because the converters are taking 60 images a second and changing the signal to match the 50 images per second frame rate. The FRC-7000 uses vector motion compensation processing to analyse and determine the pixel movement in each image frame. This is accomplished by comparing the movement in the frames before and after the ones being converted.
"The FRC-7000 estimates where the images will appear - it tracks motion to work out where it will be in different intervals. I've worked with lesser converters with fast movement and they often will produce artifacts. In this case, I considered the production pretty flawless and unnoticeable."
The Championships also required that Dolby sound was fed to Europe. With many live music and sports events being made available in Dolby 5.1, together with it being the audio standard for the mastering of DVD/BD, this invaluable function saves having to use a large amount of additional peripheral audio processing.
Brian Stanley, VP of Operations for Arctek HD, said: "Once Dolby E audio became the transmission requirement, the FOR-A conversion unit was our only choice. Not only does the FRC-7000 pass the Dolby E stream, but it maintains the highest picture quality during the conversion. For hockey or any fast moving sport this is the only HD standards conversion I would consider."
The FRC-7000's advanced scene cut detection automatically detects scene changes and turns off motion compensation processing so as to not affect the scenes before and after the frames being converted. A complete, new set of frames is then created in the required output standard.
Further information is available at: www.for-a.com.
(KMcA/JM)
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