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4K, HDR, HFR, 3D, Internet - where does the future lie?

4K, HDR, HFR, 3D, Internet - where does the future lie?

4K, HDR, HFR, 3D, Internet - where does the future lie?
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cadence Dog Wagging TailCadence Dog Wagging TailIn my recent webinar, I outlined where I thought the future was going. I covered quite a lot of the technicalities and a little of the market dynamics. If you missed the webinar then please sign-up to request the recording

It is interesting to me that one of the big drivers for 4k is the consumer electronics industry. Essentially these hi-tech, covetable pieces of furniture are being used to drive the sensor-size of the devices used to make films and TV shows. Compared to a decade ago, I feel the tail is starting to wag the dog quite violently.

We're not doomed though. Over the last couple of years, there has been an increasingly vocal group of expert individuals and companies that I respect who have been talking in detail about HFR (High Frame Rate), HDR (High Dynamic Range), 3D (not-quite-dead-yet), OTT (and its business models) and fractional frame rates (aaarrrggghh) in terms of the real problems that we're solving as an industry.

In an ideal world, our industry is an entertainment pipe that transfers great ideas from creative people to the consumer. It doesn't matter if the genre be fiction, news, sports or other, but it does matter that the consumer sees value in the pipe. 4k will be wonderful if the compression scheme used gives enough bandwidth to see all the pixels. HFR will give better results for certain genres like sports and some documentaries, but may make other genres less immersive. HDR improves dramatically the signal to noise of the transmission pipe and allow much greater viewing latitude for the furniture (sorry) screen makers. The camera folks at RED have put together a neat page that shows some of the issues.

I don't think there is any one-size-fits-all technology that works for every genre all the time. Radio did not kill off the newspapers. Cinema did not kill off Radio. TV killed neither Radio nor Cinema. The internet has, so far, not killed TV. I think we'll see increasing fragmentation on the distribution channel side and thus an increasing demand for "Squeeze this HFR, HDR HD content into that 4k LFR Channel and make it look good" pieces of software. This makes me happy because that's what we set up AmberFin to do - make great video processing software that joins the economic uncertainty of distribution to the technical choices made in production.

It would be nice, along the way, to prevent commercial drivers introducing unwanted and unnecessary technical degradation. Fractional frame rates and film-cadence errors are my current bug-bear. We have just released our new adaptive cadence correction software in our v9.7 of iCR. This performs an Inverse telecine function to correct for inappropriate handling of cadence in a TVworkflow. This is important because if you're going to put that content onto the web, or 4k or up-frame-rate to 120fps at some distant time in the future then the visibility of the plague of blended frames and mixed video-filmic degradations will be enhanced.

I try not to wear my "sales-hat" in these blog posts, but we do have a pre-NAB special offer ontranscode nodes with this new high quality cadence corrector that has received rave reviews from our beta testers. Why not get in touch with your local sales rep or download the white paper to see why I think this is an important topic for toady and for the future.

'till next time.'

CTA Standards Conversion Mixed Cadence Whitepaper

Posted by Bruce Devlin

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