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TECHNOLOGY 4k at NAB T by Bob Pank he long term NAB veterans will be well aware of just how quickly new technologies can come and go in the television industry. For instance, only a couple of years ago, 3D was still the hot topic, now it has gone quiet, but not altogether gone away. So it is good to report that 4k had another very good NAB, probably its best yet as it is still gaining wider industry support. The headlines have been full of new cameras but there has to be infrastructure, post production and suitable delivery systems, as well as, crucially, enough screens and viewers, to make economic sense of the format. So it was significant that a specialist in a different area, namely signal measurement technology, should take a serious interest. Noboru Kitagawa, President of Leader Electronics described his company’s LV5490 picture and signal monitor that allows ensuring precise focus - absolutely essential in 4k! At the technical sessions 4k was also a hot topic. New technology is one thing but, in our industry, it is typically a big sporting event that galvanizes broadcasters to actually use it. Looking beyond the FIFA World Cup, the 2016 Olympics is an obvious target for the format. Interestingly 8K was on show at London 2012, but 52 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 89 MAY 2014 only on a very small scale, with the main broadcasts being produced in HD 1080/50. 4k should be ubiquitous at the 2016 event as, according to Thierry Fautier of Harmonic, “This year should be a transition period for UHD, preparing for video infrastructure deployments in 2015 in order to be ready for the 2016 Olympics.” DVB Executive Director Peter Siebert’s paper, co-authored by BBC R&D, Panasonic and Teracam, looked at two possible routes to suitably modify DVB-T2 for 4k terrestrial transmissions. There were also a number of papers looking at using IP in post production and delivery. For the latter, it seems to me there’s huge work to be done to speed up the internet, specifically my internet (4Mbits/s at the moment) to get a reliable 4k service to all viewers. There is an increasing choice of products at either end of the 4k workflow. For the consumer, TV set prices have tumbled and surely will reduce further... which brings us back to the ever-popular subject of cameras. Here the choice, and competition, was considerably expanded with several new arrivals at the show. Perhaps the biggest surprise was AJA’s entry into this market. But when you think about it, the role of the camera has massively changed in recent years with a serious focus on workflow, which AJA has its feet firmly in, as well as creating great images. So maybe that’s part of the reason AJA has expanded into the camera market. The Cion was introduced by AJA’s Product Marketing Manager Bryce Button as the company’s ‘new baby’, as a ‘camera that actually looks like a camera’ has a PL mount and puts together the technology that AJA has been developing for years. So this is a lot more than just a camera. As a shoulder mount camera it is said to be OK to use all day, and shoot in 4k, 2K or HD... not by cropping the images to produce the smaller formats but by oversampling, using all the 4k pixels and applying AJA’s estimable processing power to produce clear images in the smaller formats. Frame rate go up to 120 f/s. It offers AJA RAW and a ProRes workflow using all five codecs including the popular PL level and up to the top 444. Button claims “It’s a big deal for editors.” To simplify the workflow AJA Cion’s pack drives are HFS formatted and so can go straight into Apple via a an AJA Thunderbolt dock. It sounds very good and well suited to fit right in with many workflows so, surely, it’s going to cost a packet? Not so. The press gasped when the price was announced as $8,995. But there were plenty more new 4k cameras at the show. JVC introduced three all with 4k Super35mm image sensors - a mini camera system with interchangeable Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mount, a compact camera/ recorder and a shoulder-mount camera with PL interchangeable lens mount. Blackmagic Design added two new 4k cameras to its huge product range. The first thing I heard about the Blackmagic URSA was its 10- inch fold-out on-set monitor! Indeed many manufacturers have realised that you have to provide a larger