Embracing an HDR workflow process comes with its own set of apprehensions, as with the deployment of most disruptive technologies. Most notable is the need for a parallel SDR/HDR production workflow,
one where the signal can be adapted with up/ down mapping as required, to mix and match incoming content formats and output signals without sacrificing quality. “Operators may need to integrate existing SDR content into new HDR productions, or may need to send HDR content to SDR multiviewing screens in the studio. In either case, the producer’s intent for each individual signal must be maintained,” explained Weber.
According to him, upgrading to 4K UHD and HDR, however, doesn’t come without a cost implication. For some broadcasters and media organisations, the cost is not worth the benefit to viewers. For many, adding HDR to 1080p HD footage is an attractive alternative strategy in the shorter term. From a viewer perspective, there is still an improvement in image quality and disruption to existing workflows is minimal.
UHD/HDR PROMISE ENHANCED BRIGHTNESS, A HEIGHTENED RANGE OF SHADOW, COLOUR AND LUMINANCE FOR A CLEARLY DIFFERENTIATED VIDEO EXPERIENCE, WHICH IS WHY SO EVERYONE FROM CREATIVES TO BROADCASTERS AROUND THE GLOBE, WHO WANT TO INCORPORATE UHD/ HDR VIDEO CAPABILITIES INTO THEIR OFFERINGS, HAVE TRANSITIONED TO UHD/HDR.
– DILIP KATHURIA, CEO, CDM TECHNOLOGIES
“There are multiple types of UHD/HDR systems and the standards committees have not all agreed upon the specifications of these systems. Each studio is responsible for initiating their own specs, which can cause issues when it comes to standardisation. The two main HDR systems (HDR10 and Dolby Vision) were recently introduced and some of the challenges faced by the community are now trying to be addressed with HDR10+ and DV 4.0,” explained Dilip Kathuria, CEO, CDM Technologies.
It is fair to say that the implications of the use of UHD/HDR would have to be considered at every stage of production, from on-set to post-production and delivery. Filmmakers will have to be careful while zeroing in on tools, making sure that the cameras not only deliver a dynamic range, but also provide an expanded colour gamut required for UHD/HDR.
It is not about ‘more pixels’ anymore, but about ‘better pixels.’ Once UHD/HDR is accessible fully to the consumers, and majority of them shift to viewing content on their UHD/HDR devices, studios will have to take a look at their libraries and deliberate on what titles should be remastered for UHD/HDR.
When asked about what he foresees, Kathuria said, “I am hoping that standards will be introduced in the next five to ten years, so the workflow and deliverables become consistent for all studios. Once a true standard is introduced, the consumer market will create displays to hit this standard and we won’t have a plethora of devices with different peak luminance levels to choose from.”
“We are expecting a rise in 4K UHD and HDR uptake across sports and entertainment production. We have seen significant investment coming from broadcasters as well as production companies, OB and rental houses globally and we expect this trend to continue in the months ahead,” concluded Klaus Weber, principal - Camera Solutions and Technology, Grass Valley.
UHD/HDR is an end-to-end technology. As a takeaway, it is crucial to remember that every stage from creation to reproduction on the screen, has to be in tandem with the compatibility of UHD/HDR.