Ikegami Completes New 8K OB Truck for NHK

Japanese broadcaster NHK has launched a new 8K OB truck designed to operate as a fully equipped mobile production facility. Newly completed by Ikegami, the truck is capable of producing 8K live or recorded television content complete with 22.2 channel surround sound. The 8K OB vehicle was delivered to NHK in September. Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 11.02.42 AMOriginally proposed by NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories and defined and approved by the International Telecommunication Union, the 8K television format has a picture resolution of 7680 pixels wide by 4320 pixels high which is sixteen times greater than the number of pixels used in high definition broadcasting. It has the same 16:9 aspect ratio as HD and 4K UHD but allows very much larger display screens to be used in public viewing theatres and, ultimately, in the home.

The road map for the introduction of 8K broadcasting in Japan, announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications, specifies that trial broadcast transmissions will commence in 2016. Regular 8K broadcast services are planned to begin in 2018. Many elements of 8K television production infrastructure are much larger in size, power consumption and complexity than their HDTV equivalent, particularly the number of cables involved. This is because 8K broadcasting production captures 16 times more image information than HDTV. An 8K OB vehicle is therefore much more challenging to design and build than that a traditional OB vehicle.

NHK Truck ExteriorThe 8K OB vehicle’s electronic, electrical and structural specifications allow operation not only in Japan but worldwide. It can be operated for major events of any scale, including global sports such as the Olympic Games. Additional equipment can be incorporated as and when required.

11.93 metres in length and 3.33 metres high, the 8K OB vehicle has a transit width of 2.5 metres. An expanding side section extends the width to 3.5 metres for normal operation. Up to 10 Ikegami 8K cameras such as models SHV- 8000 and SHK-810 can be connected to a 16-input 4-output 1-mix/effects switcher housed in the production control suite. Technical infrastructure on board includes an 8K/4K/2K router, 8K downstream keyer and an 8K recorder. Up to three additional recording channels can be added. Picture monitoring is via a 55 inch master screen plus a 55-inch auxiliary display which can be used in multi-view mode.

Ikegami introduced its SHK-810 fourth-generation 8K television camera in March 2015. Developed in co-operation with Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), this is about one tenth the size and weight of Ikegami’s first generation 8K camera and offers significantly improved operability. It incorporates a 33 million-pixel Super 35 CMOS single sensor delivering 4,000 television lines of horizontal and vertical resolution. The SHK-810 has 8K, 4K and 2K outputs, all in native quality. It can be used in a fully 8K production environment or alongside 4K and/or 2K cameras.

Ikegami has long experience in producing mobile television production trucks, having produced more than 800 OB vehicles. Its efforts to develop 8K broadcast production equipment have focused on achieving extremely high resolution combined with the company’s proven ability to deliver very wide dynamic image processing.