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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ready For 8K ?

I've seen 8K and its amazing. Now NHK is showing a camera that looks a lot like other current cameras in size, except its 8K 60FPS max ( for now ) and uses h.265 for recording.

At its recent Open House, NHK showed the new 8K AH-4800 camera head, co-developed with Tokyo-based AstroDesign, which is much lighter and more compact than previous models. It has a 2.5in, 33-megapixel “single plate” CMOS image sensor and processing circuitry in a 125mm (W) x 125mm (H) x 150mm (D) housing (about 5in square). Total weight, with lens, is said to be 4.4lbs, and it captures images at up to 60fps.

NHK, in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric, has also developed the world’s first HEVC/H.265 real-time encoder for 8K Ultra HD. HEVC is the latest video encoding system, which became an international standard this year. It has four times the compression efficiency of MPEG-2, which is widely used in current digital HD broadcasting.

The video is encoded at 85Mb/s, compressed by a factor of 1/350 from 30Gb/s. To encode Ultra HD video, which has high spatial resolution, encoding is done in real time by dividing the screen into 17 strips. Compression to 85 Mb/s enables one Ultra HD channel to be transmitted using one satellite transponder.

I guess if you want to product for 4K delivery a higher res camera is good but the data rates get insane. Its not so much this 350:1 compression is bad enough to make it managable, but once its on the NLE you have to pass those big uncompressed frames around when doing anything with the image. Pushing that image onto a GPU becomes a monster. While technology will eventually bring computers that can deal with this, even 4K remains challanging. In some ways its depressing because just as computers got good with 1080 we're leaving that behind for more... and more... and more. How about staying put for a little while, or at least saying 8K is the end game for the next 10 years and thats where we are going. At that point then decide if there is another step to something higher or not.