Product Spotlight: Ukon

May 26, 2003  •  Post A Comment

What it is: A universal conversion platform from Snell & Wilcox that converts video back and forth between high definition and standard definition, taking into account different frame rates, image sizes and aspect ratios. The product is designed for use in broadcast, post and production environments. The system can handle upconversion, downcoversion and cross-conversion in any combination.
Back and forth: If a broadcaster needs to upconvert SD into HD or to cross-convert 24P to 720I, for example, a tool like Ukon is needed, said Andy Major, senior product manager at Snell & Wilcox. “One of the key features on Ukon is that you can go back and forth seamlessly between different formats and retain the original look, especially if something is shot on film and you want to retain that look,” he said.
Features and benefits: Ukon includes an aspect-ratio conversion engine that allows a program shot in 16×9 to be downconverted to 4×3, for instance, and preserve the correct framing. Ukon also handles time-code conversion to ensure the time code remains accurate. Finally, the platform repackages audio among different formats to ensure the audio remains in sync with pictures during the conversion process, Mr. Major said.
All in one: Snell & Wilcox has previously offered upconverters and downconverters in separate products, but Ukon is the first Snell & Wilcox platform that integrates all the necessary functions into one system, Mr. Major said. “Each [function] isn’t that hard itself, but if you didn’t have them integrated into one product, it would be a huge headache and you would be using multiple devices in multiple environments. It’s a single pass, all in one. In the past it’s required quite skilled machine-room operators using different equipment for each element, and mistakes were made.”