There are certain unique special effects that can best be accomplished on a large canvas such as 4K, 8K and beyond. Just as 1920 x 1080 HDTV is generally considered to be 2K, the 4K format is actually a number of formats, all derived from a 4096-pixel-wide native resolution raster. (See Table 1.) One of the original 4K devices, the RED ONE camera, recorded at 4096 x 2304. The 4K Ultra HD television (UHDTV) format is actually 3840 x 2160.
The most obvious production advantage of 4K ultimately destined for HDTV distribution is the ability to pan and zoom with an HDTV window in a 4K space. One of the easiest concepts to relate to is the ability to properly frame up a poorly framed camera shot at a live sporting event. If the action was captured in the corner of a 4K screen being downconverted for HDTV broadcast, the replay can zoom in and center the action with scalable downconversion that maintains a full HDTV image. Imagine how well that could enhance the effectiveness of instant replays, not only for viewers, but for referees and umpires as well. It’s almost a mistake eraser.
Another facet of 4K, 8K and higher resolutions is the benefits they offer the emerging market for huge screens in venues such as sports stadiums and other public places. While the average living room viewer might find it difficult to fully appreciate the difference between 4K and 8K 60in displays, fans in stadiums watching screens such as the recently installed 11,425sq-ft Panasonic Lighthouse HD video display at Safeco Field in Seattle won’t be able to miss it. Again, the ability to electronically pan and zoom without resolution compromise at the display will be a huge advantage for those producing closed-circuit sports venue feeds.
Let’s not forget the many nonbroadcast users hungry and willing to spend money for higher resolutions. Expect the medical industry to continue to be willing to pay for increased resolutions. It would also make sense that the security industry, both private and government, will be eager to take advantage of the benefits of higher resolutions as the technology progresses.
If 4K doesn’t sway the consumer TV market, HEVC technology also opens the door to doubling the number of traditional HDTV channels without increasing bandwidth. Either way, everyone benefits
—Ned Soseman owns LAKETV LLC in Camdenton, MO, and is chief operator at KRBK-DT, Springfield/Osage Beach, MO.