4k testing in todays world


Adam Schadle TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Adam Schadle
Issue 86 - February 2014
1. With the need to ingest and process video from a number of sources, broadcasters are faced with a multifaceted need to handle all types of formats including 4K. What is your multi-resolution strategy?

With the emergence of new compression standards such as High-Efficiency Video Compression (HEVC), which offers a potential bit-rate reduction of up to 50 percent over H.264, 4K services are looming on the horizon. Broadcasters and service providers are now researching the technology requirements of delivering 4K content to a wide range of services: real-time TV channels delivered through cable IPTV or satellite, file-based delivery of VOD content, and streaming content over the Internet. The ability to test and analyze video quality remains as critical as ever, but the task will be complicated by efficient encoding standards that enable additional channels over the same or smaller data rates.

At Video Clarity, weve always been proactive about delivering video quality testing and analysis tools to support any current and emerging formats our clients require, and 4K is no exception. Our core capabilities are based on the notion that testing and QC must take place not only after the content goes live, but before, with testing tools that can ingest video from any source and then play it back in every resolution for delivery to every screen.
2. When dealing with 4K files, streams, and uncompressed video, what capabilities need to be present in a testing solution?

The most important capability is the ability to ingest, record in 4K resolution, and test content from any compressed or uncompressed video source using todays SDI-type interfaces. This is including signals coming from IP network, file, or uncompressed video infrastructure feeds.This also includes files from the editing suite, such as multiple frames of uncompressed sequences of any length, or lightly compressed mezzanine-level files. A secondary requirement is the ability to decode any encoded file in the current MPEG or JPEG standards as well as emerging encoding standards such as HEVC. Finally, the system must be able to play back the content in every resolution required for delivery to every screen, from UHDTV and HDTV to mobile device resolutions.

Video Clarity provides the testing and monitoring foundation that can handle a large array of original file formats, with the ability to record and play back content up to 60Hz. Its what we do and do well.

3. What types of streams are being propagated in current delivery networks that need to be part of the type of testing a broadcaster/network might do?

In todays typical delivery network, a media operation might receive an original uncompressed stream from a satellite or an existing network, or a file from a post-production process. The operation then needs to be able to output these adaptive streams as a number of different profiles, in different bit rates to support any number of platforms including high bit rates for HDTV. Although some of these streams might consist of SD content, theyre now primarily high-definition pictures that must be decoded on the fly, recorded, ingested for QC testing, and encoded using the compression codecs required by the target devices. During the testing phase, the system must provide an automated means of testing a number of key attributes against industry-adopted standards. These include video quality, audio quality, lip sync, loudness, and ancillary content.
4. What are the primary resolutions that they have to deal with?

As we said, there is still a certain amount of SD content in the broadcast chain. However, most tools that have practical application in todays media operations are focused on prevailing HD formats, while also including support for SD. We design our testing solutions around four key resolution levels. At the bottom are the streaming formats for handheld devices and PCs, and just above that are todays most active broadcast-level HD formats, including 720p or 1080i. A step up from that is 1080p 50- or 60-frame rate, a format thats often required for a live event thats being transmitted over a dedicated network, in-production dailies, or an HD camera feed that needs to be transmitted for production purposes. Then above that is the 4K level.

All of these resolutions are included in every tool we make. In addition, we maintain a wide variety of input and output capabilities to enable customers to test individual devices and then place them into a test network architecture, either at a live broadcasting plant, a content delivery network, or in the lab of the products manufacturer/developer.

5. Considering that audio requires more types of testing than video, what type of audio measurement is required?


In general, weve found that our customers require three key audio measurements. The first is perceptual quality, which simulates a human perception test and creates a measurement that is as close as possible to an actual subjective study done in a standardized environment. An important benchmark for this is Perceptual Evaluation of Audio Quality (PEAQ), an ITU standard that enables the most accurate audio quality measurement in the industry today. Our products enable this testing by establishing a PEAQ record documenting the top-end perceptual quality level.

Next, we offer audio performance measurements in our real-time systems that identify performance issues with audio devices or audio in the network chain. These tests enable operators to find audio faults such as silences and glitches, and the testing system logs the failure and simultaneously records the offending video in a real-time test session. Audio performance testing also covers lip sync measurements with millisecond accuracy using the same logging and time-stamped recording function that captured the out-of-specification portion the A/V signal.

The third area is a test for audio loudness, which has become extremely important with the adoption of global loudness standards. Effective loudness testing involves applying loudness standards to every individual audio channel and reporting a measurement for a program as a group. We also offer a true-peak audio measurement as part of the loudness testing.
6. What are the differences between real time and non-real time testing?

There are fundamental differences between the two. Real-time testing involves measuring performance over time of an audio and video signal as it goes through a device or over the air. With our solutions, an operator can monitor a signal according to certain test parameters and then determine its performance over time. We provide a reference signal and compare it to the downstream version, and then provide a very accurate measurement of video or audio quality without having to use invasive techniques such as placing tones or markers in the audio. We have also developed an exclusive technique to perform non-invasive lip-sync measurements, and we provide real-time loudness testing. When an event takes place outside of a set threshold that was predefined by the operator, our system records the stream in question for later review and creates a log of the failure measurement that is associated with the recording.

Non-real-time quality testing is a repetitive process that is useful for fine-tuning a device codec design, setting or network path to achieve a desired level of quality. Typically, it involves recording sets of audio and video content that have certain error-prone characteristics, such as high motion, and then putting them repeatedly through a testing process and measuring the quality against a certain variable, such as encoding bit rate. In this manner, the operator can reset or revise the variable to determine the optimal setting of a given device for delivery to a given end-user device.


Tags: iss086 | Adam Schadle | Video Clarity | 4k | testing | non-real time | Adam Schadle
Contributing Author Adam Schadle

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Matrox Unveils Monarch EDGE 4K Contribution Encoder at IBC 2018

    Matrox Unveils Monarch EDGE 4K Contribution Encoder at IBC 2018

  • 12G 4K microMUSA Jackfield and Fibre Termination Solutions from Canford at IBC 2018

    12G 4K microMUSA Jackfield and Fibre Termination Solutions from Canford at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Apantac 4k UHD HDMI/DVI Multiviewer with KVM at IBC 2018

    Apantac 4k UHD HDMI/DVI Multiviewer with KVM at IBC 2018

  • JVC 4K Connected Camera GY-HC550 and 500 at IBC 2018

    JVC 4K Connected Camera GY-HC550 and 500 at IBC 2018

  • IMT Vislink HCAM 4k UHD transmitter at IBC 2018

    IMT Vislink HCAM 4k UHD transmitter at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • 4K UHD Multi-viewer HDMI 2.0 from Apantac at NAB 2018

    4K UHD Multi-viewer HDMI 2.0 from Apantac at NAB 2018

  • Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

    Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

  • 4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

    4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

  • 6K Sony Venice and Sony 4k Palm Camcorders at IBC 2017

    6K Sony Venice and Sony 4k Palm Camcorders at IBC 2017

  • JVC 4K UHD Monitors at IBC 2017

    JVC 4K UHD Monitors at IBC 2017

  • The CFU5 4k Transmitter from Vislink at IBC 2017

    The CFU5 4k Transmitter from Vislink at IBC 2017

  • Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

    Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

  • AJA Thunderbolt 3 IO 4k Plus at IBC 2017

    AJA Thunderbolt 3 IO 4k Plus at IBC 2017

  • HDR, 12G, 4k, IP - the range expands from Phabrix at NAB 2017

    HDR, 12G, 4k, IP - the range expands from Phabrix at NAB 2017

  • Quad 4k Capture and Stream with Maevex from Matrox at NAB 2017

    Quad 4k Capture and Stream with Maevex from Matrox at NAB 2017

  • 4k 60 Matrix from GDSYS at NAB 2017

    4k 60 Matrix from GDSYS at NAB 2017

  • HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

    HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

  • Apantac 4k live demo at NAB 2016

    Apantac 4k live demo at NAB 2016

  • Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

    Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

  • Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

    Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

  • MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

    MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

  • Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

    Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

  • Garland at BVE 2017

    Garland at BVE 2017

  • Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

    Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

  • Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

    Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

  • Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

    Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2015

    AVIWEST at IBC 2015

  • BBright at IBC 2015

    BBright at IBC 2015

  • Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

    Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

  • Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

    Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

  • JVC at BVE 2015

    JVC at BVE 2015

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2015

    Grass Valley at BVE 2015

  • Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

    Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Tektronix at IBC 2014

    Tektronix at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

  • JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

    JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

  • MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

    MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

  • BBright at IBC 2014

    BBright at IBC 2014

  • Hitachi at IBC 2014

    Hitachi at IBC 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

  • Ateme at IBC 2014

    Ateme at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

  • Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

    Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

  • Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

    JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

    Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy at IBC 2013

    Cinegy at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

    MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

    Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Facilis at NAB 2013

    Facilis at NAB 2013

  • AJA at BVE 2013

    AJA at BVE 2013

  • JVC at BVE 2012

    JVC at BVE 2012


Related Shows
  • Philip Bloom chats 4k: BVE Day 2

    Philip Bloom chats 4k: BVE Day 2


Articles
An Obituary to Timecode
Bruce Devlin - new A stoic and persistent character that stubbornly refused to change with the times, Timecode has finally passed on, but no-one has noticed. A long-lasting industry veteran, Timecode was brought into this world at an uncertain date in the late 1960s due to the needs of analogue tape workflows and the demand for synchronisation between audio and video devices. A joint activity between SMPTE and the EBU led to the work on Time and Control codes starting its journey to standardisation in the early 1970s.
Tags: iss134 | timecode | smpte | ebu | edit | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read
Sony HDC-4800 Review
Andy McKenzie First announced at NAB 2016, the Sony HDC-4800 is a studio camera system capable of shooting 4K/UHD at up to 8x or full HD at up to 16x. With a price point upwards of £250,000 it is a very high-end product with a wide feature set. In Sony's own words, "This is the future of live production, designed to satisfy the storytelling aspect of modern sports production.” Deliveries began in mid 2017 and, after careful preliminary evaluation, we invested in several systems for our hire fleet ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Tags: iss134 | review | hdc-4800 | sony | finepoint | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation - November 2018
Dick Hobbs - new There is an interesting seminar called Size Matters at the KitPlus Show – organised by the publishers of this fine magazine – at MediaCityUK in Salford on 6 November. It’s a talk by cinematographer Alistair Chapman on the way that camera technology is changing, and in particular the size of the electronic device which creates the image is growing.
Tags: iss134 | cmos | 35mm | AJA | Arri | Blackmagic | Canon | Datavideo | GoPro | Grass Valley | Hitachi | Ikegami | JVC | Kinefinity | Nikon | Panasonic | Red | Sony | jpeg2000 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
AI in Media and Entertainment
David Candler Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term appearing everywhere these days. What is happening in media and entertainment (M&E) that makes the industry ripe for AI? In other words, why does the M&E industry need AI?
Tags: iss134 | AI | wazee | David Candler
Contributing Author David Candler Click to read or download PDF
Shedding Light on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k BMCPP4K
Garth de Bruno Austin “What is it about light that has us craving it?” Is the question asked in the opening seconds of Garth de Bruno Austin’s latest short, The Colour of Light. Exploring this natural, human need as well as our innate desire to control it, Garth’s film showcases everyday people going about their lives in differing degrees of luminance, whether that be an artificial streetlight or a natural morning sunrise.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | cinema camera | 4k | cpp4k | Garth de Bruno Austin
Contributing Author Garth de Bruno Austin Click to read or download PDF