Super Hi-Vision Workflows, Delivery Come Into Focus at SMPTE

“Super Hi-Vision,” which offers 16 times the resolution of HD, will take a major step out of the lab next summer when NHK and the BBC put the system to use covering the London Olympics. Although production professionals may never actually have an opportunity to work with the format, two presentations at SMPTE’s annual Tech Conference in Hollywood this week laid out why and how the it may become a reality.

“It’s the ultimate two-dimensional TV and offers an increased sense of presence,” reported Takayuki Yamashita, of Japan Broadcasting Corp.’s Science and Technology Research Laboratories. “And the sense of being there is related to the field-of-view angle and the higher the resolution per degree of angle.”

Much work has been done in Japan to find out what relationship of resolution, frame rate, motion blur, and stroboscopic produces the feeling that an image represents reality rather than just an HD-quality representation of reality.

Among the findings? Spatial resolution needs to be 7,680×4,320 lines; frame rate needs to be 120 Hz or 120 frames per second; bit depth needs to be 12 bit; and colorimetry needs to include RGB monochromatic primaries on the spectral locus.

Of course, being able to produce and distribute content at such quality will take much in the way of R&D. But Japan Broadcasting Corp.’s Kentaro Higashijima followed Yamashita’s presentation with an overview of a Super Hi-Vision–capable eight-input switcher.

Transmission and signal transport is made possible by dividing the original 8K image across 16 1.5-Gbps SDI signals. The signals are first split in half vertically and horizontally into four channels — two green, one red, one blue — to create images of 3,840×2,160. Those images are then halved into 1,920×1,080 HD signals.

The switcher has a 21.5-in.-high mainframe and an operational panel that is the same as an HD switcher. The DVE panel is independent, and images can be adjusted using a preview panel.

The switcher has eight inputs for five cameras, playback, and a character generator as well as four Super Hi-Vision outputs, two 4K outputs, and six HD outputs. The HD outputs are crucial to allow the production team to produce the content using standard HD monitors instead of 8K monitors.

“The switcher was developed for live programming production,” Higashijima explained, adding, “That is imperative for the format.”