WRAL-TV Completes First Local 4K Project

RALEIGH, N.C.—WRAL-TV has produced a local documentary in 4K, the first TV station in the United States to do a local production in the high-resolution format. In conjunction with Sony USA, WRAL’s local documentary production unit has just completed “Take Me Out to the Bulls Game,” an up-close and personal look at one of the top Triple-A baseball teams in America, the Durham Bulls. WRAL was the first station to broadcast a digital signal in high definition in 1996, the first to produce an all-HD newscast in 2000, and now the first local station to produce a program in ultra HD, the station said. (TV Technology knows of no other station that has done or is doing a local production in 4K.)

“We believe 4K is the next major development for broadcasters to enhance the viewing experience for our audience,” said Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting, owner of WRAL and the Bulls. “The simple truth is, the only way to learn what we don’t know and be able to design the transition is to just do it.”

WRAL-TV Director of Engineering and Operations Pete Sockett and Station Manager Jim Rothschild assembled a team of leading experts on the technology to assist the station’s documentary unit with shooting, editing and post-producing the program. Producer Clay Johnson and photographer/editor, Jay Jennings, led a group of WRAL production personnel capturing everything that happens behind-the-scenes and on-the-field on a Durham Bulls’ game day.

The images and rare glimpse into the inner workings of the organization make up “Take Me Out to the Bulls Game.” The first public viewings of the program was this week at Durham Bulls Athletic Park during events surrounding the Triple-A Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.

4K ultra HD images have four times the resolution of high-definition video. Sam Matheny, former vice president of Policy and Innovation for Capitol Broadcasting, and new executive vice president and chief technical officer for the National Association of Broadcasters, views 4K as the future of broadcast television.

“One of the great promises of the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard is support of 4K UHD,” Matheny said. “WRAL’s work on this documentary gives the industry early insight into the next generation of broadcasting, and the stunning pictures and improved storytelling it will bring.”