WWE Finds Alchemist is Key to Image Quality

The Alchemist Ph.C–HD has become an indispensible component in our operation.
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Anthony Landi
STAMFORD, CONN.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programming is seen in more than 500 million homes worldwide, offering something for everyone—from the action in the ring to WWE Studios' feature films.

As a global media company, WWE distributes content for broadcasters in more than 145 countries and in 30 languages, so high-quality video format conversion equipment is an absolute must. For many years, we have relied on conversion systems and technology from Snell, due to their world-class technology and dependability, as well as the top-quality video that their products have consistently produced.

The latest Snell product that WWE is using is the Alchemist Ph.C–HD, a system renowned for its high-definition frame-rate standards conversion capabilities. The device is based on Snell's Emmy award-winning Ph.C motion measurement technology, and produces converted high-definition video images with such quality and clarity that they are virtually indistinguishable from those in the original input.

CONVERTER STAYS BUSY

Now that WWE is a full 1080i high-definition video operation, we rely heavily on Alchemist Ph.C–HD to handle conversion from 1080i to 720p, as well as conversion of our NTSC-formatted video programs to such required international formats as PAL. The Alchemist Ph.C–HD is an integral component at WWE, managing these cross-conversions from NTSC to PAL for as many as 80 shows each week, or about 120 hours of original content. One key advantage of the Alchemist is its multitasking abilities, which enable our technical team to process two jobs at once with a common frame rate. As an example, it's possible to do an NTSC-to-PAL conversion and a HD-to-SD down-conversion simultaneously.

FILM AND TIMECODE

In addition to video, film is a vital part of WWE's business. WWE Studios, based in Los Angeles, has produced eight movies to date, featuring the biggest stars in sports entertainment and well-known actors. The Alchemist Ph.C–HD is essential for international distribution of our titles, handling a high volume of 24 fps conversions from 23.98 to 29.97 formats.

In film conversion, as well as with video, a huge bonus in using Alchemist is its timecode functionality, which automatically converts timecodes without any blocking to ensure that the material is kept frame-accurate. As many of our films, along with our video programs, are dubbed into foreign languages and otherwise localized for global audiences, precise timecodes are essential for our international broadcasting clients.

The Alchemist Ph.C–HD has become an indispensible component in our operation, as our broadcasting clients from around the world have stepped up their demand for high-quality HD content.

Not only is the system critical to our current operation, but with the Alchemist's recently launched support for conversions to 3 Gbps 1080p, we are confident that the system will be able to meet our evolving technology needs well into the future.

Anthony Landi is director of engineering and broadcast operations for World Wrestling Entertainment. He may be contacted at anthony.Landi@wwecorp.com.

For additional information, contact Snell at 818-556-2616 or visit www.snellgroup.com.