Heading towards brightness regulations


Bruce Devlin TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online

I like IBC in the same way that I find NAB grating. Maybe I have been living in the UK for too long, but the bright morning Amsterdam sun breaking through clouds and reflecting off the canal while fit young things on bicycles pedal to college; snapchatting with their friends and avoiding collisions with practised ease has a certain charm. You just don't see that in the after-party morning-after haze of the Las Vegas Strip in the harsh desert sunlight.

I have photos of IBC going back nearly 3 decades that completely fail to capture the dynamic range of this Amsterdam scene. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the dynamic range of my eyes today is a few stops short of the (probably) 12 to 14 stops that they could achieve in the early 1990s. Camera technology has overtaken the ability of my eyes to see these scenes and looking around IBC there were visible improvements in the quality of High Dynamic Range (HDR) presentations compared to NAB.

And here in lies the quandary for the future. Assuming that we can support HDR in the whole broadcast and distribution chain (more of that later), how should we acquire imagery so that we both optimise the user experience and prevent a "brightness arms race" to win new viewers as this new story telling technology rolls out?

Looking at the various IBC screens showing HDR content, there were many more displays that seemed to show dark blacks, specular highlights, bright whites and good detail. Many of the clips were shot especially for the show with a great many being night shots where HDR seems to give a lot of "Bang for the buck" compared to Standard Dynamic Range (SDR).

And there's the rub for acquisition. If the brave new world is going to be HDR UHD (or maybe even HD) in the high value markets within the next 2 years, then what should you be shooting today if that's your target market? Not everyone has the technically skilled team to recreate Ang Lee's 120fps HDR masterpiece Billy Lynn's Half Time Walk (https://youtu.be/mUULFJ_I048) and maybe the HDR / HFR combination won't suit every genre. If HDR does become the mainstream technology that I think it will, then a Standard Dynamic Range title shot today will have a very "2016" look compared to its HDR cousins within a few short years.

;

Modern Cameras can shoot 13 to 16 stops of dynamic range and the RAW and HDR compression codecs used in edit software can keep most of this dynamic range through to the final transcode for distribution. At that stage I can see the need for Dynamic Range transcoding to up-convert SDR for HDR consumptions as well as to down-convert HDR for SDR consumption. Looking around IBC there were a number of algorithms on display that did a decent job of retaining the creative intent of the original material and if you had no access to that original then you probably wouldn't notice anything strange.

What we haven't seen yet is a body of converted material shown back to back (as in a broadcast or stream) with the option of switching channels to a parallel stream of parallel content. In the audio world we have still not quite mastered the challenge of consistent loudness within a channel and between channels despite 5-6 year of regulation and operational struggle to get it right. Will brightness be next on the list? If HDR is likely to use its higher brightness range to show specular white rather than average-white then will a station's SDR white level on a domestic screen be shown at a brightness of HDR peak-white or HDR average white? Who chooses and where in the chain do they choose?

I would love to have all the answers and if anyone out there really knows (and how the ITU regulations are likely to affect inter-station operational practise), then I'd love to have a chat. Until then I'm going to sit back and enjoy some radio.


Tags: iss118 | class | mr mxf | hdr | Bruce Devlin
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin

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
  • Classic tubes reinvented by Kino Flo at IBC 2018

    Classic tubes reinvented by Kino Flo at IBC 2018

  • Winner of the LP54 Miller Classic

    Winner of the LP54 Miller Classic

  • HDR and BT Sport with Phabrix at IBC 2019

    HDR and BT Sport with Phabrix at IBC 2019

  • Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

    Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

  • SMPTE 2110, UHD and HDR solutions from Phabrix at NAB 2019

    SMPTE 2110, UHD and HDR solutions from Phabrix at NAB 2019

  • Lynx Technik Evie 4k HDR to SDR Conversion at NAB 2019

    Lynx Technik Evie 4k HDR to SDR Conversion at NAB 2019

  • FS-HDR from AJA at NAB 2018

    FS-HDR from AJA at NAB 2018

  • All you need to know about the Sony FS5 Raw and HDR Upgrade and more from NAB 2017

    All you need to know about the Sony FS5 Raw and HDR Upgrade and more from NAB 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

  • IP, 3G-SDI + HDR generation, analysis and monitoring from Phabrix NAB 2017

    IP, 3G-SDI + HDR generation, analysis and monitoring from Phabrix NAB 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

  • Tektronix at IBC 2016

    Tektronix at IBC 2016

  • BBright at NAB 2016

    BBright at NAB 2016

  • Elemental Technologies at IBC 2015

    Elemental Technologies at IBC 2015

  • Inmarsat at NAB 2014

    Inmarsat at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

    Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013


Related Shows
  • KitPlusTV summarise the Broadcast and Pro Video News 21st December 2020

    KitPlusTV summarise the Broadcast and Pro Video News 21st December 2020


Articles
AJA Video Systems - Ki Pro GO User Review with Spellbinder Films
Ben Sherriff The Ki Pro GO is a portable multi-channel H.264 recorder offering up to 4-channels of simultaneous HD and SD recording to off the shelf USB drives with redundant recording capabilities. Our friend Ben Sherriff tales a look
Tags: AJA | ki pro go | dit | h.264 | recorder | live events | usb recording | 10bit | Ben Sherriff
Contributing Author Ben Sherriff Click to read
ERA IaaS at University of Salford
KitPlus The University of Salford (UoS) is widely recognised in both academic and professional circles as a leading educational establishment in acoustics and media production. In 2011 the University moved its television and radio courses from its main campus just outside Salford city centre into the Orange Tower on the main piazza of MediaCityUK (MCUK).

This purpose-built hub for broadcasters, facility houses and production companies was created when redevelopment of the old Salford Quays docks area began in 2007. UoS was among the first institutions to consider moving to MCUK, along with the BBC, which had already committed to transfer many of its departments from London.

Tags: era | salford university | university of salford | seagate | mcuk | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
In Ear Monitors Help The Cast And Crew of Americas Got Talent Cope With Covid19 Restrictions
KitPlus Capturing performances for television is a stressful business, especially if the programme is being filmed live. You want everything to be perfect but you are also aware that many things can go wrong, even with the best laid plans.
Tags: bubblebee | inear | sidekick | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
ITN using Densitron Intelligent Display System across multiple news programmes
KitPlus Impressed by the system’s flexibility, ITN has gradually rolled-out the IDS solution for display and control applications across ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 news output
Tags: ids | densitron | itn | newsroom | display | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
Using Modern Technology at Envy Provides a View into the Future of Post Production
Michael Darer ENVY’s use of modern technology, including remote edit capabilities and their expansive use of Signiant Media Shuttle, enables them to collaborate with customers and partners around the world, and made the transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic any easy one. Although project files and media are stored securely on-premises at ENVY’s facilities in London, they are able to collaborate globally thanks to their forward-thinking approach to post production.
Tags: envy | signiant | media shuttle | assetts | Michael Darer
Contributing Author Michael Darer Click to read