At LMG, we've strived to be an early adopter of cutting-edge equipment ever since we opened our first office in 1984. In today's staging environment, that translates to high definition solutions. Our mission is to provide clients with the best technology solutions for what they want to accomplish, and in pursuing this goal we have strived to bring innovations to the presentation industry.
As such, I'm always on the lookout for the latest and greatest equipment while trying to avoid the short-lived "flavors of the week." When I first saw the Snell & Wilcox Kahuna switcher at NAB, I remember leaving the show thinking it was the only really innovative thing I had seen there. The Kahuna enables the user to integrate all formats and aspect ratios, including 4:3 and 16:9, and deliver them to HD video displays while simultaneously recording the feed in standard definition. I figured out very quickly what this would mean for LMG in terms of presentations and live events where clients really need to impress their audiences.
Especially for show tours like Discovery Upfront, where the Discovery Network only has one chance to win-over potential advertisers and sell the upcoming season's lineup. Evident through its programming, the Discovery Networks--which encompasses channels such as Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery HD, TLC and, of course, the Discovery Channel--prides itself on brilliant visuals and intense audio. The network is recognized for its vivid cinematography and high-end production values.
Building On a Solid Foundation
About a year ago, we decided to build the world's first high-definition, multi-format, truck-in-a-box, which we dubbed HD-1. Designed and engineered around the Kahuna from Snell & Wilcox, the technology enables users to intermix high-definition and standard-definition sources in the same switching system without the need for up-conversion. We can switch, route and record multiple formats simultaneously. For example, we can switch a 1080 format on screen and have a standard-definition record at the same time. For ease of use, the rack layouts are specially designed to roll into place.
The design of the first system required an intensive, six-week process in which a core group of four engineers worked 12- to 14-hour days, seven days a week. Building the entire system took close to a month. The second system took about a month to build, but was obviously a less intensive process with a successful, working model as a reference.