Alchemist File Applications

Alchemist File Applications

Explore the possibilities

4K digital cinema

World’s 1st 4k 25p to 24p frame rate conversion.

Virtual Post, a cutting edge post-production facility, used Alchemist File to transform the latest One Direction concert to the 4K cinema screen with breathtaking results. This involved the ultimate challenge, 25p to 24p frame rate conversion on the big screen. Traditionally, low temporal conversion is achieved by a process of off-speeding. The consequence of this technique is that program duration is affected – the concert duration would have been increased by 4%. Off-speeding also affects the associated audio content, in this case the audio pitch would have been lowered by approximately a semitone.

In cases involving performing arts, like the One Direction concert, the quality of the audio is as important as the images. Pitch correction could be used to fix the audio but this is “an art to do and you still end up with content that is longer than the original”, Virtual Post CTO, Jon Lee explains. Therefore, off-speeding was not an acceptable option.

For such a challenging low frame rate conversion, it was the cleanest output I have ever had the pleasure to attend, quite remarkable. I can’t recommend Virtual Post and Alchemist File highly enough,” Jim Parsons, One Direction Producer

VOD package delivery

Unrivalled quality for a premium TV service.

An internationally branded US broadcaster chooses Alchemist File to seamlessly deliver premium content via their On Demand TV service. They have a number of SD and HD interlaced files in 525 59i and 1080 59i which need converting to 720 59p.

Such format conversion relies on a two stage process, deinterlacing followed by image scaling. Low quality deinterlacing can introduce unwanted artifacts such as jaggies and tearing, and suffer from loss of vertical resolution on both static and moving regions.

There are many competitive solutions our there but nothing else comes even close to the quality that Alchemist File delivers

To stay ahead of rival broadcasters and protect their brand value, they are seeking a competitive edge in the image quality of their premium On Demand service. Using Alchemist File, the broadcaster has confidence that they will deliver unrivalled picture quality for their audience, regardless of the format of the incoming content source.

Since Alchemist File can be used in an automated workflow, conversion can be performed 24/7, enabling efficient use of all valuable processing assets. Alchemist File offers simple integration using a Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) approach in accordance to the standardized FIMS (Framework of Interoperable Media Services) SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) interface.

Global program exchange

Content repurposing to any format, for any platform.

An international broadcaster relies on Alchemist File for their frame rate conversion needs. They are catering for many international clients, meaning they receive content from every part of the world which they need to convert from one frame rate to another.

Frequently, the facility also receives content in progressive low frame rates. This is due to the increasing trend in production to capture content natively at a progressive low frame rate (< 30Hz), even when electronic cameras are used. Typically, this low frame rate content would be converted to another low frame when for global distribution to maintain creative look, for example 1080 25p drama shot in the UK would converted to 1080 29p for US distribution.

Phone and tablets

Even the most complex content can be converted from one frame rate to another, allowing images to be enjoyed globally in their full beauty.

Such transformations present a number of unique challenges to motion compensated frame conversion. Superior motion estimation is required, as the source fundamentally contains larger motion ranges than those typically seen in interlaced content and the motion must be tracked extremely accurately. Inferior frame rate conversion results in frame jumps, double imaging, poor object integrity and general failure to portray smooth motion.

Often there will be only one opportunity to create a new master for global distribution and once artefacts have been introduced they are virtually impossible to remove without incurring significant time and effort.

Alchemist File provides a safe pair hands, offering the broadcaster the ability to guarantee the quality of their deliverables and removing the risk of having work rejected on the grounds of quality control.

This sets a new benchmark for the conversion of performance content for digital cinema and films for television and DVD, without ever needing to slow down or speed up again."  Virtual Post CTO Jon Lee

Technical Specification


File Wrapper
  • MXF OP1a
  • MOV (Apple ProRes / DNxHD / XDCAM HD/ JPEG 2000 / XDCam / DV)
  • MJ2 (JPEG 2000 only)
  • MP4 (H.264 Long GOP only)
  • MPG/TS (MPEG2)
Video Codecs
  • DNxHD
  • DV - DV25/DVCPro25/DVCPro50/DVCPro100
  • XDCAM HD (Open GOP / Closed GOP)
  • D10 (IMX 30/40/50)
  • AVC-Intra 50/100
  • AVC-Intra RP2027 50/100/200
  • DPX* 10bit
  • Apple ProRes
  • JPEG 2000 (Lossy / Lossless / DCI)
  • XAVC (I-Frame / Long GOP)
  • MPEG2
Video Formats
  • SD, HD and 3Gbps broadcast video including 1080 23/24/25/29p and psf
  • 2K/4K
HDR Conversion Modes
  • Motion Compensated Interpolating
  • 2:2/2:3/custom film cadence insertion and removal
  • 2:2/2:3/custom film cadence repair
  • Mixed video / film 2:2/2:3 output cadence
  • Video off-speed with audio pitch correction/re-sampling
  • PCM audio pass-through
  • Audio channel / stream shuffle
  • Audio gain and delay
  • AAC (48KHz only)
Video Utilities
  • Auto color space conversion
  • Aspect ratio conversion
  • RGB legalization 700/721/735
  • Luma Clipper
  • Luma / Chroma / Black Level
Operating Systems
  • Windows (64-bit) server 2012/2008 R2
  • Linux (64-bit) (RedHat / CentOS 6.5/6.6)
  • OSX 10.9 and 10.10 (Client only)
HDR Processing
  • HDR (PQ / S-Log3 / HLG / HDR10) to SDR (BT709) using SAM's Advanced Tone Mapping
  • HDR (PQ / S-Log3 / HLG / HDR10) to HDR (PQ / S-Log3 / HLG / HDR10)
  • SDR (BT709) to HDR (PQ / S-Log3 / HLG / HDR10)
  • Timecode handover
  • Closed Caption 608 / 708 SMPTE 436M support in MXF (not including XAVC)
  • Closed Caption Line 21 IMX only
  • SAM File framework Client (Win 64bit / Linux 64bit)
  • Watch Folder
  • FIMS Media SOA Framework V1.0.7.
Minimum Configuration*
  • 1 x 4 core 2.5GHz processors
  • 1 or more GPUs (Multiple cards should be matched)
System Memory
SD/HD up to 3 GPUs, 16GB
up to 6 GPUs, 32GB
4K up to 3 GPUs, 64GB
up to 6 GPUs, 128GB
  • NVIDIA DRIVER (See NVIDIA website)
  • AMD DRIVER (See AMD website)
  • AMD Driver FirePro™ (See AMD website)
NVIDIA GPU support (min. 2GB memory)
AMD GPU support (min. 2GB memory)
AMD FirePro
AMD HD6000
AMD HD7000
AMD R7 Series
AMD R9 Series
AMD Pro WX-series GPU

* Trial feature
** Conversion times will vary depending on hardware specification. 
*** Not all variants of each range have been verified by SAM Engineering.

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