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HBO® Builds Innovative Hybrid Edit Suite on Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD Multiformat Production Switcher
Posted on Tuesday, July 22, 2008
HBO® Builds Innovative Hybrid Edit Suite on Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD Multiformat Production Switcher

Post-Production Workflow Leverages Kahuna's Format Flexibility and Real-Time Effects for Superior Creativity and Efficiency in Delivering Premium HD Content


BURBANK, Calif.July 22, 2008 — Snell & Wilcox today announced that HBO® has created an innovative new hybrid post-production room built around the Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production switcher, which provides flexibility in handling content in virtually any format and offers real-time film-effects capabilities that significantly enhance the editing workflow. HBO's "Hybrid C" is a hybrid real-time editing room that combines linear HD editing with a nonlinear tapeless workflow to enable extremely fast editing and delivery of day-of-air programming in HD. The room also supports editing of more complex long-form programming for HBO's sports, family, and documentary departments.

"We stress quality in the way HBO programming is created, and this commitment is reflected in the tools we use in our new edit room," said Dominic Ambrosio, vice president of studio operations at HBO. "The Kahuna incorporates everything we need to operate effectively in the HD world. The switcher's versatility, reliability, and quality make it the perfect switching station for everything HD, and its flexibility lets us leverage a greater number of resources toward a quality on-air product."

HBO's move to HD required that the company find a way to achieve an efficient HD workflow for post-production of original programming, and sports in particular, that would match the quick editing turnaround HBO had established for its SD content. Equipped with the Kahuna SD/HD switcher, an editor with random-access visual editing, a six-channel server with removable drives, and multidefinition DDRs, HBO's hybrid edit room relies on an edit system and switcher combination — rather than a conventional nonlinear system — to support rapid editing of programs such as "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" in a tapeless environment. The Kahuna-based editing workflow has allowed HBO to recut features for premier sports programming, such as selected HBO World Championship Boxing® events, and air them the same day. The same work in post previously required two and a half days. 

Without the need to digitize content, editors can begin work on live material immediately, as it enters the facility, and combine it with graphics off tape or disk. The Kahuna's internal conversion capability and handling of multiple frame rates eliminates the need for additional outboard equipment in working with a variety of formats. Real-time rendering of video with effects, including the one-of-a-kind Film Effects available through the switcher's powerful IMPAKT DVE option, allows the HBO team to make video look like pristine film in just a fraction of the time and cost previously required.

"We built this room for where we're going at HB — not where we are now — and Snell & Wilcox has been a valuable partner in realizing this vision," added Ambrosio. "The Kahuna allows our creative group to work without limits to its style and serves as an exceptionally versatile tool for delivering the best possible content. We strive to push the envelope in the creative process, and our new Kahuna-centered workflow allows us to get quality content to market faster and to respond quickly to changing market trends. Snell & Wilcox's continued work in the lab lines up well with our future goals, and we like what we see on the horizon in terms of further technology development. Hybrid C offers a state-of-the-future high-definition, high-speed, and high-energy work environment."

"In a world in which nonlinear editing is the conventional approach to post-production, HBO has branched out in a different direction, building a highly efficient hybrid editing room featuring the Kahuna production switcher in concert with an editor and disk-based storage systems," said Joe Zaller, vice president of corporate development at Snell & Wilcox. "Hybrid C demonstrates how the power of the Kahuna supports even the most demanding post-production projects, providing HBO with both creative and business benefits."

About Kahuna
The Snell & Wilcox Kahuna is the world's first and only, true multiformat SD/HD production switcher. Thanks to a Snell & Wilcox technology called FormatFusion, Kahuna enables simultaneous SD and HD operations in the same mainframe and on the same control panel. This vastly simplifies the HDTV transition for broadcasters by eliminating the need for external HDTV up/down/crossconverters in the live production environment, as well as the cost and the signal path delay associated with these products. Kahuna has the smallest size mainframe, lowest weight, and lowest power consumption when compared with other large switchers, and it has been integrated with dozens of third-party products including routers, servers, automation systems, and controllers.