The buzzwords of the 2015 IBC show were 4K, IP and HDR. OK, they’re not words exactly, rather the acronyms that pass for conversation at these events. Here’s my quick and totally subjective guide:
4K production is already established, and offers a big jump in resolution over HD – 4 times as many pixels, and a full 50 or 60 frames per second. Even if the customer continues to view mostly in HD or even SD, it makes sense to shoot big sports & music events in 4K for mastering.
Sending all this data from camera to switcher and beyond is a challenge, which is where IP comes in. IP is all about connecting your cameras, switchers and everything else by one simple ethernet cable instead of many expensive multicored coaxes. Pretty much all the big manufacturers were offering solutions, with Sony launching a new 4K switcher processor – the XVS-8000. More details in this blog.
Finally, HDR – High Dynamic Resolution. Maybe you didn’t know it, but your smartphone has had this feature for a while, combining the best bits of multiple exposures to make a single almost perfectly exposed shot. The technology is different for moving images, but manufacturers are now incorporating HDR in their 4K TV sets, hoping that the zingy pictures will put them on our Christmas lists. Personally, some of the demos reminded me of Spinal Tap’s volume control, which was always turned up to 11, but I guess things will calm down in the future. And if not, you can always dust off that old pair of 3D glasses, and wear them as shades.