Basingstoke-based manufacturer Snell and Wilcox has launched a spin-off company that will concentrate on developing and marketing the company's iCR repurposing technology.

The new company, called Amberfin, has been set up to target the entire digital media community including film, broadcast, telecoms, internet and broadband providers.

iCR is software based and enables automated and accurate transcoding of content for different media platforms. It is available as a single operator, high speed workstation or as part of a company's entire media network.

Amberfin will differ from Snell and Wilcox in that it will create software as opposed to hardware, deal with moving files rather than streaming content and target business developers as opposed to engineers.

The move has been made to reflect the proliferation of content providers, distributors and platforms now available to consumers.

Applications and explanations

There are three main iCR applications that can be purchased separately or as a bundle.

  • A Mastering application can create a master version of a document and produce many variables, for different territories for example.

  • A Production Encoding application that encodes within the production environment prior to editing regardless of the capture format.

  • A Repurposing application that will create content for different platforms.

Amberfin's chief executive Simon Derry believes that the changing media environment - with more channels and more ways of consuming media - has affected demand for technology:

He said: “The rate of change in this market is considerable, but nobody knows how the business models will pan out. For the industry to reap the benefits of this appetite, it is crucial that the whole production process, from content capture through to distribution, is made significantly more efficient.

“As a result there has been a big move from hardware to software as this can be updated regularly according to new demands.”

Devil in the detail

Amberfin will comprise more than 40 staff with 30 based at the company's offices in Basingstoke. A further ten will be based in Montreal. There will also be bases in the US, the Middle East and Asia.

Derry said: “The company will comprise business development and marketing specialists as well as experts in image processing.”

AmberFin iCR is a software platform that incorporates all of Snell and Wilcox's technologies, enabling file-based digital workflows and delivering time and cost reductions.

Snell and Wilcox released iCR in September 2006. Customers include Sony Pictures, Technicolor, RTM, Ascent Media Group and BT.

A software version of Snell and Wilcox's frame rate converter the HD Alchemist was created for the iCR platform three months ago. More applications will follow.