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post #1 of 27 Old 10-27-2013, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Last week, SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) held its 2013 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition at the Loews Hollywood Hotel next door to the TCL (formerly Grauman's, then Mann's) Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. Most of the conference was aimed squarely at the technical side of making movies and TV shows, with seminars like "Analysis of PTP Locking Time on non-PTP Networks for Genlock over IP" and "Playout Automation in a Virtual Environment."

 

But before the conference officially started, there was a day-long symposium called "Next Generation Imaging Formats: More, Faster, and Better Pixels"—in other words, UHD/4K. In fact, there were two simultaneous tracks: technical and business. Naturally, I was eager to attend the technical track to see what the professional creative community had to say about UHD.

 

The presenters included many high-level technocrats, including (L-R) Hanno Basse (Fox), Jim Helman (MovieLabs), David Brooks (Dolby), Wendy Aylsworth (Warner Bros.), Hans Hoffmann (EBU), Annie Chang (Disney), Peter Putman (Kramer Electronics), and Patrick Griffis (Dolby)

 

And man, did they have a lot to say! First of all, it's clear that increased resolution is only part of the story—and probably not the most important part, though a few presenters stressed its importance in heightening the sense of "being there," especially when the screen occupies a larger field of view. However, many presenters agreed that increasing the resolution has less impact than other factors on the viewing experience. What's more important—what produces a real "wow" factor—is increasing the dynamic range, color gamut, color subsampling, color bit depth, and frame rate, none of which have been settled in terms of content creation or display.

 

Of course, humans can perceive a much wider dynamic and color range than is reproduced on any current screen. In terms of dynamic range, most of the discussion was aimed at increasing peak brightness from the currently common 100 nits (about 30 footlamberts) to as much as 10,000 nits (nearly 3000 fL)! Of course, a full-screen white field at that brightness would sear your retinas, but that's not what the presenters meant—they were talking about small "specular" reflections, such as the sun reflected in a wine glass, as opposed to diffuse reflections from most surfaces. If specular reflections on a video display could be that bright, the entire image would look much closer to what we see in the real world.

 

Expanding the color gamut of UHD was another hot topic. Much as already been said about the gamut known as Rec.2020, which encompasses a significantly wider range of colors than HDTV's Rec.709 and even the digital-cinema P3 gamut. (Actually, color gamut is only one part of Rec.2020, which is more formally known as ITU-R Recommendation BT.2020 and also includes parameters such as display resolution, frame rate, color bit depth, and color subsampling.)

 

Rec.2020 encompasses a much wider range of colors than HDTV's Rec.709.

 

Some presenters advocated going much farther by using the XYZ color gamut, which extends well beyond the entire range of colors visible to the human eye. By using XYZ, the system would be entirely future-proof, accommodating any display technology that might be developed without having to create a new system all over again. In this case, metadata could be used to represent the gamut of the content and the display's capabilities, allowing the source device to adjust its output accordingly.

 

The XYZ color gamut includes the entire range of visible colors and much more.

 

Another aspect of color is called subsampling. As you probably know, full-color images are reproduced on virtually all displays by combining red, green, and blue (RGB) elements. RGB can be transformed into another representation called YCbCr, which consists of a black-and-white brightness channel (Y) and two so-called color-difference channels (Cb and Cr). After this transformation, the YCbCr signal is also known as 4:4:4, because for every four Y pixels on each horizontal line of the video signal, there are also four Cb and Cr pixels on the even-numbered lines and four Cb and Cr pixels on the odd-numbered lines.

 

RGB can be converted to YCbCr 4:4:4. (Graphic courtesy of Spears & Munsil)

 

That's a lot of data, so the number of Cb and Cr pixels is often reduced, which works fairly well because the human visual system is far more sensitive to brightness than it is to color. For example, 4:2:2 indicates that for every four Y pixels on each horizontal line, there are two Cb and Cr pixels on the even lines and two on the odd lines. This is equivalent to cutting the horizontal resolution of the color information in half.

 

4:2:2 cuts the horizontal resolution of the two color channels in half. (Graphic courtesy of Spears & Munsil)

 

Even more color pixels are removed in 4:2:0, which indicates that for every four Y pixels on each line, there are two Cb and Cr pixels on the even lines and no color pixels on the odd lines. This is equivalent to cutting the horizontal and vertical color resolution in half. In either case, the full-color information is reconstructed using interpolation, in which a video processor re-creates the missing pixels with varying degrees of accuracy. DVDs and Blu-rays store video data as 4:2:0, and it's not yet clear which subsampling scheme UHD will use—probably not 4:4:4, but hopefully 4:2:2, which looks better than 4:2:0 because more of the real image information is in the signal.

 

4:2:0 cuts the horizontal and vertical resolution of the two color channels in half. (Graphic courtesy of Spears & Munsil)

 

Then there's color bit depth—that is, the number of bits used to represent the brightness of red, green, and blue. The current standard is 8 bits per color, which represents 256 steps of brightness. Everyone hopes that UHD will use at least 10 or 12 bits per color for smoother color gradients, especially with higher peak levels. For example, with a peak luminance of 100 nits, people with normal vision can see banding below 50 nits with 10-bit color; with a peak luminance of 10,000 nits, banding is evident below 100 nits with 12-bit color.

 

Part of the problem here is the opto-electronic transfer function (OETF) used to convert optical images to electronic signals in the camera and the electro-optical transfer function (EOTF) used to convert those signals back into image in the display. Both are currently based on the behavior of CRTs, which gives rise to the gamma function used in all TVs. The issues of bit depth, luminance, and banding cited above are all related to gamma. Interestingly, neither Rec.709 nor Rec.2020 specify an EOTF—a gamma of 2.4 is specified in Rec.1886, and Rec.2020 uses it for now, though there's a clause that says if a new, better EOTF is developed, Rec.2020 can use it.

 

In order to reduce banding with high peak-luminance values, Dolby is developing a new perceptually based EOTF called Perceptual Quantization (PQ). Dolby claims the new EOTF can handle bright highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources like the sun, lights, and fireworks, as well as low-level details better than a gamma-based EOTF. In fact, the company claims that 12-bit PQ equals the banding performance of 14-bit gamma.

 

Frame rate is a hotly debated issue. Of course, higher frame rates result in sharper motion detail, especially if the camera's shutter aperture—the fraction of the entire frame duration that the shutter is open—is low. (The longer the shutter is open during each frame, the blurrier moving objects appear.) However, a low shutter aperture also increases visible judder, a stuttering in what should be smooth motion. Also, higher frame rates look less like film and more like video, which many cinephiles object to. Still, many presenters said, in effect, "Get over it, this is the future we're talking about!"

 

Richard Salmon of the BBC brought some demo material comparing standard and high video frame rates—50 vs. 100 frames per second for Europe and 60 vs. 120 fps for the US. In the European clips, the 50 fps material was shot with a 50% shutter aperture, while the 100 fps footage was shot with a 33% aperture; in the American clips, both 60 and 120 fps were shot with a 50% aperture. In all but one case, the objects in motion were much sharper at the higher frame rate, and I did not see any judder. The only exception was a side shot of a woman juggling three bowling pins, and in that case, there was no improvement in the motion sharpness because, we were told, the human visual system cannot resolve rotating motion very well.

 

There are quite a few concerns about higher frame rates other than removing the "filmic look" of 24 fps. For one thing, the color and editing tools are not widely available yet. Also, there's the difference between multiples of 24 for commercial movies and multiples of 60 for home video (not to mention the difference between these American standards and the 25 and 50 fps frame rates used in Europe and other countries with the PAL video system). Finally, there's the issue of fractional frame rates (23.97 and 59.94 fps), which are a legacy from the days when television transitioned from black-and-white to color. Most pros agree that, for the American market, 120 fps is ideal (it's a multiple of both 24 and 60), while 100 fps is best for the PAL market.

 

Jim Kutzner of Fox talked about a new broadcast standard for UHD called ATSC 3.0, which is being developed by the Advanced Television Standards Committee, the organization that brought us HDTV broadcasting. Kutzner said that ATSC 3.0 will most likely be incompatible with the current broadcasting system, which means it had better provide a significant improvement if it's going to be worth doing. He expects a proposed standard to be ready for evaluation by the end of 2015.

 

Surprisingly, two items were not discussed much—data compression and delivery from the source device to the display. In terms of data compression, most people seem to be hanging their hat on H.265 (aka HEVC, or High-Efficiency Video Coding), which is roughly twice as efficient as H.264, though if parameters like frame rate, color gamut, bit depth, and color subsampling are all increased, that means way more than twice the amount of data will have to be compressed. Plus, there are other codecs that could offer better performance, such as eyeIO, which Sony has licensed to use with its online UHD delivery service, and the one developed by Red Digital Cinema for its RedRay 4K media player.

 

Richard Salmon shared the results of some preference tests performed by the BBC with 60 fps content compressed using HEVC at 5, 7, and 9 megabits per second and 120 fps at 7, 9, and 12 Mbps. As expected, viewers' preferences increased along with bit and frame rate. The only exception was a clip of a carnival ride with very complex motion—the preference rating dropped sharply at 120 fps/7 Mbps, then rose again with bit rate. Clearly, that particular clip required less compression to look good.

 

HDMI 2.0 was mentioned by Peter Putman, a well-known industry analyst and journalist whose presentation focused on the consumer-display side of the equation. According to his calculations based on using the RGB color space, HDMI 2.0 with 18 Gbps of available bandwidth can convey UHD at 60 fps with 8-bit color but not 10-bit, while DisplayPort 1.2 with 21.6 Gbps of bandwidth can handle 2160p/60 with 10-bit color using RGB coding.

 

Although it wasn't discussed at the symposium, I want to clarify what manufacturers mean when they claim their current displays have "HDMI 2.0" capabilities. Some of these capabilities can be implemented by updating the firmware of existing chipsets, but other capabilities can't be implemented without new hardware, which we won't see in consumer products until next year. For example, current HDMI hardware, which has a bandwidth of 10.2 Gbps, can support UHD (2160p) at 60 fps, but only with 8-bit color and 4:2:0 subsampling.

 

Anything above the double line in this table can be conveyed with current HDMI hardware; anything below the double line requires new hardware that isn't available yet.

 

Most of the presenters advocated for UHD to adopt the entire Rec.2020 suite of parameters, including a resolution of 3840x2160, the specified color gamut (if not XYZ), frame rates up to 120 fps, at least 10-bit color (preferably 12-bit), and 4:2:2 subsampling (if not 4:4:4). However, HDMI 2.0 at 18 Gbps can't accommodate all these upgrades, so we face a dilemma—increase HDMI 2.0's data rate, abandon HDMI for DisplayPort, or accept lower standards for UHD. In my view, HDMI is too entrenched in the consumer-electronics market to be supplanted by anything else, so I'm afraid we may have to settle for less than the best possible UHD experience, at least until HDMI is upgraded yet again, which I can't imagine happening any time soon.

 

In any event, it's clear to me that high frame rates, high dynamic range, expanded color gamut, high color bit depth, and less-aggressive color subsampling all make more difference in the picture quality than higher resolution, yet resolution is the only settled issue. All the other improvements are still being discussed and will not be finalized for some time to come, which means the TV manufacturers have jumped the gun by introducing UHDTVs with 8-bit color, Rec.709 gamut, and the ability to accept a maximum frame rate of 30 or, in some cases, 60 fps. (Many UHDTVs can reproduce a larger gamut, but it is not well-defined, varying from one set to another.) Of course, they want to sell TVs, but the models they sell now will be obsolete in a couple of years as these other issues are settled and content is created using the new standards.

 

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post #2 of 27 Old 10-27-2013, 03:21 PM
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Thanks for this!

I think I am starting to get the hang of what UHD can represent in addition to resolution. I know this is all to come up with compelling reasons for folks to buy a new 4k TV. I am a fron projection guy, so just the prospect of 4k resolution is exciting on a ten foot wide screen. from ten feet away. Still, sounds like there is a lot to get ironed out before we are seeing new release movies on non proprietary 4k bluray.
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post #3 of 27 Old 10-27-2013, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for the article Scott. Given the state of tech today and lessons of the past, one would have hoped that the CE industry would have worked all these issues out before rushing UHD to the market. I say rushing as really HD is a fairly young tech. But obviosly too old for the CE industry. They have to keep pushing for more to increase sales and profits, forgetting that people for the most part don't upgrade TV sets that often. Rather than wait, we now have the specter of spending a ton of money for sets that will be obsolete in a couple of years. That is just dumb. Set the standards first then bring out the sets. I for one won't be buying until they do. I also find it interesting that they want to come out with a incompatible ATSC system, less than 20 years after the last one. I don't see much of a future for OTA broadcast tv. That spectrum is better used for wireless, not yet another broadcast system, when the one we have is just fine.
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post #4 of 27 Old 10-27-2013, 05:37 PM
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Give me OLED 1080/60p with 12-bit and I'm good!

 

Until I can get this, I ain't buying any new TVs.

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post #5 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 03:27 AM
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Set the standards first then bring out the sets.

That is one issue that drives me nuts in this hobby. I couldn't agree with you more, especially on the video side. One would think all these smart CE companies would have learned this by now. And why the vast majority of people don't jump on the bandwagon right away.

TV's & projectors without the latest HDMI spec, either no content of proprietary connection content, color gamut & bit depth in flux. We all got burned, to one degree or another, in the HD-DVD/Blu-ray war. How many want to sign up for more ultra-high priced gear obsoleted in 1 year?

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post #6 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 04:44 AM
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Scott: Thank you very much for this. Any insight gained into what will be in the 4k BD spec? I read an article ( no link) quoting the BD committee chair saying he hoped to have the spec by year end. IMO that will set the standard for what GOOD 4k displays will have to offer.
If my opinion is correct we are all in for a severe case of buyer beware since as ss9001 states some sets will be obsolete regarding 4k BD. Thanks
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post #7 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dsinger View Post

Scott: Thank you very much for this. Any insight gained into what will be in the 4k BD spec? I read an article ( no link) quoting the BD committee chair saying he hoped to have the spec by year end. IMO that will set the standard for what GOOD 4k displays will have to offer.
If my opinion is correct we are all in for a severe case of buyer beware since as ss9001 states some sets will be obsolete regarding 4k BD. Thanks

my thanks to Scott, too. I forgot that in my post, sorry Scott! redface.gif

I have one $5000 CRT RPTV with DVI - that interface lasted 1 year before HDMI became the "standard". I have multiple high $$ 1st & 2nd gen players which lacked one thing or another before BDA & mfgs got their act together and provided the whole spec.

some have the money to be early adopters and afford to lose lots of money on obsoleted products. been there done that. waiting "4K" out a year seems prudent, until 4K BD players get finalized wink.gif

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post #8 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 09:35 AM
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Scott - thx for this great thread, you pulled together all fact based info to make very clear UHD.
I've subscribed to this thread just for your 1st post detail.

Sorta related, watching movies I see many directors using relative shallow depth of field (DOF) techniques to focus the viewers attention onto what they want, to "tell the story" in their viewpoint.

This begets the reality of how much "real" increase detail we will truly see in movies shot in UHD and viewed in same.

For those other things that are shot for maximum detail, like sports, landscapes, etc. Sure.

>>So, with UHD becoming a reality will directors continue to use shallow DOF, or will they be tempted to lessen that for the possible desire for 4k/8k "effect"?

Sorta like the early Pixar movies, where everything appeared in too fine detail, then later movies by them (and others) used DOF to make them appear more life like.
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post #9 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dsinger View Post

Scott: Thank you very much for this. Any insight gained into what will be in the 4k BD spec? I read an article ( no link) quoting the BD committee chair saying he hoped to have the spec by year end. IMO that will set the standard for what GOOD 4k displays will have to offer.
If my opinion is correct we are all in for a severe case of buyer beware since as ss9001 states some sets will be obsolete regarding 4k BD. Thanks


Nothing was said about a 4K BD spec, other than the Blu-ray Disc Association is "talking about it." I seriously doubt they will have a spec by year's end.


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post #10 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 04:39 PM
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Fantastic article Scott - thanks so much.

Personally I can't wait to see things like BBC nature docos at higher frame rates and better subsampling / less compression.
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post #11 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 04:43 PM
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Thanks Scott. I find the increased maximum brightness from 100 nits to 10000 nits to be intriguing. How will projectors, especially HT projectors, ever be able to do this even on a short peak basis? Here is your audio analogy (something old guys like you and me can understand), its like an amplifier having a short duration head room or peak.power. Its too bad we don't have a light or flux capacitor capacitor to store the peak light for the brief instance it is needed. Great reporting.

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post #12 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 04:45 PM
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That was a really terrific article detailing all the technical aspects of the proposed new systems. Really great work. I don't think I would have gotten all those details if I had attended the conference myself.

I do have to strenuously disagree with the "get over it - this is the future" comment from the panelists. I really do not want my movies to look like video. Even most dramatic TV shows are shot to still have the warmth of film. There's a reason for that - it provides a level of believability (not reality) that video doesn't have. You can easily see this when you see scenes in "making of" documentaries. The action looks totally fake in the documentary, but totally believable in the finished film. We need that blur. There's frequently a misconception about this. You don't want movies to look "real" - we want them to look "believable". There's a big difference.

I attended a SMTPE meeting some time back where Douglas Trumbull proposed shooting digitally at variable frame rates. He's built a studio to test this. It all sounded good in theory, but when he showed his test shots, the high frame rate footage still looked terrible to me - the dreaded "soap opera" effect. I was very pleased when people were unhappy with the HFR for the Hobbit movie and other filmmakers did not follow suit. I still don't understand why Peter Jackson, who I think is a great director, likes that look. When I saw the film, I felt like I was watching a recorded stage play, not a movie.

I also think that the industry is fooling itself if it thinks that television, especially broadcast television, is going to once again change broadcast formats anytime in the near future. It can only happen, if at all, at the end of a replacement cycle for the current generation of HDTV equipment - maybe 20 years out. The TV industry did not even want to convert from SD to HD because they saw no return on investment - more people don't watch TV and they didn't get more ads or ads at higher rates. They are not going to spend the capital necessary to once again redo the infrastructure, especially as the media audience is ever becoming more fragmented and the broadcast/cable TV audience continues to decline, unless there's an accompanying revenue stream to justify it. And for OTA TV (if it even exists in the future), the FCC is not going to provide more bandwidth because they're far more interested in providing bandwidth for telephones and internet services. So unless there's some method of compression to squeeze those advanced formats into the same 6MHz signal, forget it.

The push for new, higher technical quality is being driven by the hardware manufacturers. They're the only ones who benefit from this. And since more and more people are watching media on small portable devices, I have to wonder whether consumers, especially future consumers (aside from the hardware geeks and those with "man caves" who populate sites like this one), really care. Now it may be that when today's geeks settle down, they'll want the same large screen TV experience that today's old couch potatoes want and they might want that improved experience. But maybe they'll be so used to watching movies on small screen portable devices that they won't care at all and just as most young people see physical media as an obsolete concept (when they walk into my living room and see the two reel-to-reel tape decks siting on my floor and many hundreds of LPs, CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays on the shelves, they either think I'm nuts or perceive me as the equivalent of someone who collects cylinders and 78s), they'll also perceive "large screen" watching the same way. Only time will tell.

As for me personally, consistent with the article, I believe that improved color rendition and increasing the gamut will have far more of a positive effect on perceived quality than more resolution. I've looked at both the Sony 4K set (which seems to have exactly the same color as my HD Sony TV) and at PhotoExpo last week, Samsung displayed their monster of a 4K TV, but neither blew me away as much as the first time I saw a Kuro.
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 04:52 PM
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One more note: I don't understand the need for more brightness in a TV screen. Any calibrated TV has the brightness turned way down from "demo mode". Projectors (both home and theatrical) are a different story. We need far more brightness in those situations, especially in 3D. In the theatre, laser driven lamps are coming. One of the first is going to be installed at Paul Allen's Seattle Cinerama theatre.

I can understand the need for higher contrast ratios and more accurate greyscale rendition, but not brightness for the sake of brightness. The default modes of most TVs is blinding already.
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post #14 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

TV's & projectors without the latest HDMI spec, either no content of proprietary connection content, color gamut & bit depth in flux. We all got burned, to one degree or another, in the HD-DVD/Blu-ray war. How many want to sign up for more ultra-high priced gear obsoleted in 1 year?

I already have, and it's a TV with a spec that's getting worse with every passing day! biggrin.gif http://www.avsforum.com/t/1496510/sony-xbr-55x900a-consumer-reports-shares-a-review-with-avs

Seriously though, I'm a serial upgrader and if my 4K set is severely lacking when all the relevant UHD issues are settled then I'll just move on to the next one. That said, I'm not too concerned by HFR at this point in time, and as it is the TV will be able to convey 2160p24 @ 10-bit 4:2:2 which, as a movie nut first and foremost, will suit me down to the ground.

And besides, HDMI 2.0 isn't the home run that videophiles were hoping for; Scott's summary above is not the first time I've heard grumblings about the bandwidth. So UHD may well be nobbled out of the gate with regard to a combination of HFR, higher bit depth and better chroma subsampling, and the powers-that-be will probably decide that making certain compromises is better than creating a two-tier UHD standard. And I've read that the Rec.2020 colour gamut doesn't track linearly to the Rec.709 standard, which may make it very difficult to create one piece of UHD software that could service the poor schmucks who bought the early gear AND the smug bastards who sat it out and bought the finished article. (Unless, in the intervening years, someone comes up with a very clever algorithm to be able to accurately translate one to the other on the fly...)
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post #15 of 27 Old 10-28-2013, 07:22 PM
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No reason a standard should be limited by the technology available when it's written. The standard will exist for many years to come. It would be short sighted to compromise the standard for 2020 based on tech available in 2013.

We already have 40Gb in the datacenter. The bandwidth will come. The standard should have "low end" provisions which are attainable now, but also have room to grow and something to strive for.
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post #16 of 27 Old 10-29-2013, 06:15 AM
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i really hope they go with XYZ for everything from the production capture chain all the way through reproduction 4k UD displays!!!

to the edge of eternity and depth of infinity, stupidity knows no bound.
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post #17 of 27 Old 10-29-2013, 08:36 AM
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Most pros agree that, for the American market, 120 fps is ideal (it's a multiple of both 24 and 60), while 100 fps is best for the PAL market
Is there data from their video tests that confirms these would be best? Wouldn't 150 or higher be better for the "PAL" market? What about the ITU tests which went up to 240 fps?
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post #18 of 27 Old 10-29-2013, 11:23 AM
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While I'm looking forward to all of these technological improvements, there remains a problem with many TV producers tinting the colors and crushing the blacks on their shows. Perhaps they thing it is artsy but only a in a very immature sense. These are the very conditions that plague LED LCD displays. I don't watch all of the CBS dramas but there must be a company policy as they do this on CSI (included the now defunct CSI Miami and CSI NY), Criminal Minds and the new Hawaii 5-0. One can't adjust their TV to get rid of what they have ruined. For these pathetic producers they are headed in the wrong direction both artistically and technologically.
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post #19 of 27 Old 10-29-2013, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bilguana View Post

While I'm looking forward to all of these technological improvements, there remains a problem with many TV producers tinting the colors and crushing the blacks on their shows. Perhaps they thing it is artsy but only a in a very immature sense. These are the very conditions that plague LED LCD displays. I don't watch all of the CBS dramas but there must be a company policy as they do this on CSI (included the now defunct CSI Miami and CSI NY), Criminal Minds and the new Hawaii 5-0. One can't adjust their TV to get rid of what they have ruined. For these pathetic producers they are headed in the wrong direction both artistically and technologically.

It's a nighmare, and often we as DPs are pushed out of the process. We're trying to contract ourselves through post, but episodic schedules just don't easily permit that. One practice is LUTs are being created on set by the DP with the DIT. The DP can email the paramters to the colorist, and they can look at it on an iPad. etc.. Interesting.

My all-time "favorite" is the Viagra spots that turn perfectly beatiful exterior color photography to cyan-tinted crap. rolleyes.gif
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post #20 of 27 Old 10-29-2013, 11:24 PM
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That was a really terrific article detailing all the technical aspects of the proposed new systems. Really great work. I don't think I would have gotten all those details if I had attended the conference myself.

I do have to strenuously disagree with the "get over it - this is the future" comment from the panelists. I really do not want my movies to look like video. Even most dramatic TV shows are shot to still have the warmth of film. There's a reason for that - it provides a level of believability (not reality) that video doesn't have. You can easily see this when you see scenes in "making of" documentaries. The action looks totally fake in the documentary, but totally believable in the finished film. We need that blur. There's frequently a misconception about this. You don't want movies to look "real" - we want them to look "believable". There's a big difference.

I attended a SMTPE meeting some time back where Douglas Trumbull proposed shooting digitally at variable frame rates. He's built a studio to test this. It all sounded good in theory, but when he showed his test shots, the high frame rate footage still looked terrible to me - the dreaded "soap opera" effect. I was very pleased when people were unhappy with the HFR for the Hobbit movie and other filmmakers did not follow suit. I still don't understand why Peter Jackson, who I think is a great director, likes that look. When I saw the film, I felt like I was watching a recorded stage play, not a movie.

I also think that the industry is fooling itself if it thinks that television, especially broadcast television, is going to once again change broadcast formats anytime in the near future. It can only happen, if at all, at the end of a replacement cycle for the current generation of HDTV equipment - maybe 20 years out. The TV industry did not even want to convert from SD to HD because they saw no return on investment - more people don't watch TV and they didn't get more ads or ads at higher rates. They are not going to spend the capital necessary to once again redo the infrastructure, especially as the media audience is ever becoming more fragmented and the broadcast/cable TV audience continues to decline, unless there's an accompanying revenue stream to justify it. And for OTA TV (if it even exists in the future), the FCC is not going to provide more bandwidth because they're far more interested in providing bandwidth for telephones and internet services. So unless there's some method of compression to squeeze those advanced formats into the same 6MHz signal, forget it.

The push for new, higher technical quality is being driven by the hardware manufacturers. They're the only ones who benefit from this. And since more and more people are watching media on small portable devices, I have to wonder whether consumers, especially future consumers (aside from the hardware geeks and those with "man caves" who populate sites like this one), really care. Now it may be that when today's geeks settle down, they'll want the same large screen TV experience that today's old couch potatoes want and they might want that improved experience. But maybe they'll be so used to watching movies on small screen portable devices that they won't care at all and just as most young people see physical media as an obsolete concept (when they walk into my living room and see the two reel-to-reel tape decks siting on my floor and many hundreds of LPs, CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays on the shelves, they either think I'm nuts or perceive me as the equivalent of someone who collects cylinders and 78s), they'll also perceive "large screen" watching the same way. Only time will tell.

As for me personally, consistent with the article, I believe that improved color rendition and increasing the gamut will have far more of a positive effect on perceived quality than more resolution. I've looked at both the Sony 4K set (which seems to have exactly the same color as my HD Sony TV) and at PhotoExpo last week, Samsung displayed their monster of a 4K TV, but neither blew me away as much as the first time I saw a Kuro.

Huge +1

Agree on every point. But...I think that Gravity could have benefitted from HFR. It would have given the events a "Holy S***, this is happening RIGHT NOW!" feel. IMHO smile.gif
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post #21 of 27 Old 10-30-2013, 04:15 AM
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its been long time ago when i read such good Information here.
thanks for posting scott
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post #22 of 27 Old 10-30-2013, 06:15 AM
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Thanks a million for posting this article Scott because all it has done is saved me money from buying a 4K set anytime soon or in the near future. Excellent article and loved reading it.
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post #23 of 27 Old 10-30-2013, 06:19 AM
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Thanks for the article Scott. Given the state of tech today and lessons of the past, one would have hoped that the CE industry would have worked all these issues out before rushing UHD to the market. I say rushing as really HD is a fairly young tech. But obviosly too old for the CE industry. They have to keep pushing for more to increase sales and profits, forgetting that people for the most part don't upgrade TV sets that often. Rather than wait, we now have the specter of spending a ton of money for sets that will be obsolete in a couple of years. That is just dumb. Set the standards first then bring out the sets. I for one won't be buying until they do. I also find it interesting that they want to come out with a incompatible ATSC system, less than 20 years after the last one. I don't see much of a future for OTA broadcast tv. That spectrum is better used for wireless, not yet another broadcast system, when the one we have is just fine.


Well said.

+1
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post #24 of 27 Old 10-30-2013, 03:32 PM
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Thanks Scott, great article, very informative.
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post #25 of 27 Old 10-31-2013, 11:21 AM
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So, help me out if I am wrong here. Studio masters are in 4K, right? So the big thrill of 4k is that we will see what we see in the theaters, 4K. The problem is that 4k UHDTVs are 16:9 and thus movies will be letter boxed. This will lower the resolution of the movie to fit your UHDTV. It will not be encoded in 4k, but scaled down. So, we will not be seeing the same thing we see in the theater. This is much like how a 1080p bluray that is letterboxed is not actually in full 1080p.

THE ALL MIGHTY MACACASIAH HAS SPOKEN!
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post #26 of 27 Old 10-31-2013, 12:24 PM
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So, help me out if I am wrong here. Studio masters are in 4K, right?
Some, yes.
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So the big thrill of 4k is that we will see what we see in the theaters, 4K.
Unless we get 3840x2160 which is less than 4K. Plus we can potentially have all the other advantages of UHDTV: better colour, frame rates... It doesn't mean we'd get high enough bitrates or that we'd see exactly what was in cinemas though. They could still use different colour grading/colour standards or subtitles...
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The problem is that 4k UHDTVs are 16:9 and thus movies will be letter boxed.
And they're less than 4K.
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This will lower the resolution of the movie to fit your UHDTV. It will not be encoded in 4k, but scaled down. So, we will not be seeing the same thing we see in the theater. This is much like how a 1080p bluray that is letterboxed is not actually in full 1080p.
I agree, it won't be 4K. It won't be 3840x2160. It will be less than that for everything that isn't 1.78:1. Assuming 3840x2160 square pixels is what the BDA/other content producers use and you use a 3840x2160 UHDTV.
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post #27 of 27 Old 10-31-2013, 03:20 PM
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Sure, but letterboxed 4K DCPs don't use the full 4096x2160 resolution either, e.g. 4096x1716 for a widescreen feature. So that's a moot point IMO. They also use XYZ colour space, which needs to be regraded for the Rec.709 we use at home.

It's the horizontal resolution that is the issue, because 4096x2160 (17:9) won't fit into 3840x2160 (16:9) without cropping or scaling. The same thing occurs when going from a 2K master to HD, and some people in the biz (like VFX producer Mr.D who used to post on here quite a bit) said that they would rather crop to HD res, because of how scaling can affect the image.
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