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3sixtymedia Standardizes on Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD Multiformat Production Switcher
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2008
3sixtymedia Standardizes on Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD Multiformat Production Switcher

U.K.-Based Facility Relies on Four Kahuna Switchers for All Live Entertainment Productions


HAMPSHIRE, U.K. — May 27, 2008 — 3sixtymedia has installed four Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production switchers at The Manchester Studios, standardizing its three studios and the Starlight Theatre on the Kahuna system. 3sixtymedia produces live entertainment programs for leading U.K. television broadcasters such as ITV and the BBC, and by standardizing on the Kahuna, the company achieves considerable efficiency in adapting its studios and workflow to meet the requirements of these different productions. 

"With its open architecture and support for both SD and HD, the Kahuna provides a superior all-around production switching package for production at our Manchester facility," said Paul Bennett, director of northern resources for ITV Productions. "We enjoy the ease with which we can configure the switcher and extend its functionality through remote panels. This versatility has allowed us to increase the complexity and sophistication of our live entertainment productions, and the feedback from our operators has been very positive. The support provided by Snell & Wilcox is outstanding, and we feel that the value for our investment in the Kahuna switcher is unmatched within the industry."

Like the Kahuna production switchers installed in Studio 8 and Studio 12, a 4-M/E switcher newly installed in Studio 6 features a separate master auxiliary panel, six remote auxiliary panels, four channels of DVE, and an 80-input option. The 2-M/E Kahuna system installed in the Starlight Theatre ensures compatibility across the facility's switching systems.

During the many live productions at 3sixtymedia, one operator typically cuts the main show on the main panel while a second switcher operator uses a master auxiliary panel to switch floor feeds and ISO records. Using a micro panel, the second operator can run a variety of macros, switching different layers of keying on and off as required by the director. Additional auxiliary panels allow the director to perform ISO switching and enable engineering monitoring. Snell & Wilcox's integrated IMPAKT DVE option offers 3sixtymedia operators a variety of powerful effects including spheres, slabs, zooms, warps, tiling, ripples, rolls and peels, fragmentation, lighting effects, and corner pinning. 

In Studio 6, the Snell & Wilcox switcher has been used on "The Jeremy Kyle Show" for ITV1, and in Studio 12, the Kahuna proved critical to production of the new mind-games quiz show "BrainBox" for the BBC. For each of 20 "BrainBox" shows, 3sixtymedia used the Kahuna to create a composite of six stills, resized and trimmed to the aspect ratio required by the graphics team. These same images were resized and chroma keyed in seven additional arrangements that could be accessed instantly during production with a macro. In the case of "BrainBox," the ability to create complex graphics quickly and deliver them to graphics on a USB stick allowed 3sixtymedia to incorporate an added dynamic element to the program without employing and charging for external equipment.

Because virtually every button on the Kahuna control surface can be mapped using macros, standard moves are simplified and stored as part of overall settings specific to each show. 3sixtymedia can quickly and simply transfer these profiles among systems via USB stick, reducing configuration time and allowing operators to work the same way on any of the facility's four Kahuna systems without any added learning curve.

The Kahuna's future-proof design enables 3sixtymedia to work in SD now and make a simple upgrade to multiformat SD/HD operation, mixing SD camera feeds, graphics, handheld shots, and archive footage directly into an HD production. The switcher's FormatFusion technology enables internal SD/HD format conversion with less than one frame of delay and negligible lip sync delay. As a result, 3sixtymedia will be able to transition into HD production while maintaining a high production standard and without investing in external conversion and processing gear.