year’s gathering promises rapid maturation of 4K acquisition, workflow,
infrastructure and delivery strategies. (4K-related product and demo announcements follow article
is finally shipping its Blackmagic Production Camera, introduced during the
2013 show at $3,995, but reduced in price to $2,995. For the DSLR crowd,
Panasonic will be shipping the GH-4 with optional interface unit in May. The
camera itself is priced under $1,700 and the interface unit is under $2,000.
The combination will enable resolutions up to 4096x2160 via SDI at 4:2:2
sampling. In the digital cinema range, Sony
will be upping the ante with
add-ons to their F5/F55 cameras.
Jumping the gun a
bit to the next level, Hitachi
will even be showing a demo of terrestrial
broadcasting with its joint NKH 8K camera.
though, is Panasonic’s
entry into 4K for digital cinema and broadcast with its
4K Varicam. Price and availability will be announced at a later point—maybe
even at NAB. Expect to see a prototype on display at the Panasonic booth.
Sony’s F5-F55 Cine Alta camera
There will no doubt
be other announcements in the camera department, even as the field of external
recorders will expand, such as Convergent Design’s
Odessey 7Q, which is
expected to gain added functionality.
While the 2014
International CES 2014 saw the
introduction and price reductions of a number of 4K-capable televisions, the NAB
Show should see expansion of higher-end 4K production monitors and i/o devices
to drive them. Blackmagic Design
has been shipping its $995 UltraStudio 4K
capture and playback box and AJA is now shipping its $1,995 Io 4K. Both of
these devices have Thunderbolt interfaces making them suitable to the newer
Macs as well as those PC’s adopting chipsets which support Thunderbolt.
, Sony, Canon,
are already shipping 4K production monitors. Definitely look
for new products and new manufacturers entering this market space.
Thorpe of Canon
and archival solutions will increase in both speed and capacity to handle 4K
requirements. Last year, vendors such as Ericsson
H.265/HEVC encoding solutions, so expect to see additional hardware as well as
software encoding products. The ability to encode and deliver 4K ultimately is
what will drive the adoption of the format which in turn will drive acquisition
and editing platforms.
WIDE FIELD OF
Larry Thorpe, senior fellow at the Imaging Technologies & Communications Group for Canon
USA said the combination of content creators, technologies, delivery media and home
viewing are stronger for 4K than at this same point in time during the
introduction of HD.
“Interest in 4K is growing.
Movie studios, broadcasters, and cable and satellite operators all see 4K
production as augmenting the shelf life of high-end program assets while
offering superior HDTV derivation for today’s distribution,” Thorpe said. “Sporting
leagues, mobile TV producers, and broadcasters and cable have all been active
in adding 4K cameras to their coverage of major sporting events, creating
wide-angle shots that can be digitally zoomed into to offer enhanced images
that are integrated into the HDTV coverage.” Thorpe added that Canon has been increasingly
systemizing its EOS C500 4K camera and 4K zoom lenses for such sports
Kim, a Holmdel, N.J.-based DP can attest to the demand for 4K content. Kim, who
has just added two Canon C500 cameras to his tool kit, notes that “on the
independent side, as a working DP I’ve been asked to shoot in 4K as
distributors are now requesting 4K delivery. It’s not a deal breaker to
shoot 1080 or 2.5K if the movies are good enough, but our potential clients are
now specifically requesting 4K.”
The trend toward 4K will accelerate as consumers feel comfortable with
UHDTV set prices and as content becomes more widely available. Netflix
major hit on its hands with
confirmed in January that it plans to stream its original series “House of
Cards” in 4K to specially equipped UHDTV sets this year.
“House of Cards” and its delivery in 4K is just the
kind of content needed to drive consumer demand. Netflix’ agreement with
Comcast not to throttle bandwidth opens the door to agreements with other
carriers. That in turn increases exposure of the format.
Bandwidth is the key which drives the entire production cycle. Internet
providers continue to offer greater bandwidth even as compression efficiency
increases. Watch for these trends at this year’s NAB Show.
Late last year, TV Technology
reported on Advanced Systems Group’s
annual workshop on 4K and large raster production workflows. The workshop
stressed the need for roadmaps and plans as broadcasters and other content
delivery organizations produce and deliver 4K content. Dave Van Hoy, ASG
president, expressed concerns that it is not yet time to bring broadcast news
operations to 4K. Such an observation may be perfectly consistent with the move
to HD since many stations continued to acquire and post-produce in SD
resolutions, up-rezing to HD only for delivery. An obvious reason for not
acquiring news footage in 4K is again, the sheer volume of data in an
environment demanding fast turnaround.
Cameras, software, delivery and indeed the very concept of 4K will rise
front and center at this week’s show. Expect not only surprises but, more
significantly, refinement of the total production cycle.
The following is a sampling of 4K product announcements as well as sessions and events on 4K/8K production.
4K and Next Gen Home Entertainment—Which
Experiences Will Most Excite Them?
Monday, April 7, 2:30 p.m.–3:30, S222
MLB Network: Advancing the Way Audiences View Baseball
with 4K Technology,
Tuesday, April 8,
9:00 a.m.– 9:30, S227
In Depth: Moving Beyond HD: 2K, 4K, 6K & More,
April 8, 10:00 a.m–1:00
4K: A Strategic Approach,
April 8, 4:00 p.m.–4:30,
4K and Copper Cable,
Wednesday, April 9, 9:00 a.m.–9:30,
The Future of 4K UHD: Examining Methods to Acquire,
Exchange and Distribute Content
April 9, 10:00 a.m.–10:30, S228
4K Arrives! A Perspective from a Real UHDTV Broadcasting
April 9, 11:30 a.m.–noon, S228
At the NAB Futures Lab,
present the latest iteration of its Super Hi-Vision system (pictured above, left
), including a
closed-circuit demonstration of over-the-air transmission of 8K content in a single
6 MHz UHF TV channel and show newly shot Super
Hi-Vision content (8K video + 22.2 channel sound) in a special presentation
will demonstrate its Z8, a video server with 8K resolution and
60 fps playback in one chassis.