February 07, 2018

From the Winter Olympics to ATSC 3.0 Standards, HDR Is Ready for Full-Scale Production in 2018

The broadcast industry put High Dynamic Range (HDR) through the prerequisite hoops, trials and field tests during 2017. But this year will see a major commercial shift, as HDR technologies and standards mature and get integrated into more widely available products. Or as Kirk Barker, Technicolor’s Senior Vice President of Emerging Products, puts it, “Last year was a year of learning; 2018 will be a year for HDR to transition into deployment!” Technicolor has already participated in a number of HDR trials, including its first single-truck production for both HDR and Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) in mid-2017. Working with Spectrum Networks:

  • Technicolor ran a live, end-to-end HDR broadcast of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
  • The trial used Technicolor HDR Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) to up-convert all SDR video feeds to HDR and complete the mix in HDR.
  • Technicolor technology was leveraged to ensure all SDR partner productions and monitors were receiving a proper SDR version of the game.

“The trials have proved a treasure trove of insight for how to create cost-effective, quality HDR productions; how to capture a director’s intent and perspective; how to shade the cameras correctly; and how to really get the most out of HDR,” said Barker, adding, “We’re still learning. But as we move into 2018, HDR will start to gain more momentum beyond trials. Expect to see a lot more coming out of the Winter Olympics this year with HDR.”

HDR standards initiatives are also advancing, with Technicolor technology being accepted by the ATSC 3.0 standards body. According to Barker, this will provide the broadcast industry with a range of solutions to help ease implementation costs and the migration from SDR to HDR.

For example, Advanced HDR by Technicolor, which integrates HDR and SDR content in a single stream, is an open HDR distribution solution that is format agnostic. It takes all HDR and SDR formats as inputs and then normalizes the content to deliver video to any HDR or SDR device, ensuring a consistent experience in both environments.

“Our distribution technology works in a couple of different ways, but the big picture is that it can work with any EOTF (electro-optical transfer functions), including Hybrid Log Gamma, PQ EOTF, S-log3 from Sony, and others,” explained Barker. “We can take all of those formats in, put it all into a standardized distribution stream, and then have that distributed in a way that’s efficient and cost-effective for the network.”

Looking forward, Technicolor will continue to work with operators to ensure they have the infrastructure, technologies, and capabilities in place to not only run HDR trials today, but broadcasts in 2018 and mass production going into 2019. To hear all of the interview with Technicolor’s Kirk Barker, visit:

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