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Workflow boost for UHD

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) – a not for profit company founded by UK pubcasters ITV, BBC and Channel 4 – has unveiled a technical standard for the delivery of Ultra High Definition (UHD) programmes. The new standard is supported by the publication of two guides for DPP Members: a UHD Production Workflow Guide, and an insight report from the DPP AT HOME event, UHD – For Real.

The Technical Standards Supplement for the delivery of UHD Programmes is the first future-focused delivery standard to be announced by the DPP. It builds on the existing HD delivery standard, and is designed to help minimise the challenges to the industry when adopting the new UHD format.

The DPP worked closely with the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AWMA) to extend the widely adopted AS-11 standard to include UHD parameters, and to revise the way that metadata is carried within a programme file.

The new standard will be adopted by all major UK broadcasters when they move to UHD programming.

“When the DPP defined a common standard for file-based HD programme delivery, we were replacing the use of videotape for HD delivery,” explained DPP Managing Director Mark Harrison. “But UHD is the first delivery format that has never existed on tape; and it is very exciting for the DPP and its Members to be able to help the industry get ready for this major upgrade in television picture quality.”

New formats require changes to how programmes are made. So the DPP has produced a UHD Production Workflows Guide, which outlines the key considerations when producing content in this new format. The Guide builds on the DPP’s 2012 report The Bloodless Revolution: A Guide to Smoother Digital Workflows in Television and uses the same high level workflow as a framework to provide information, guidance and direction to production teams making UHD content.

The final document to be released is UHD – For Real. The report is the output from the latest DPP AT HOME event, which focused on how and when UHD will enter the mainstream. Among the key insights in the report is the identification of late 2017 as the projected ‘take off’ moment for the UHD format.

Over the last nine months, DPP Members from across the industry have come together at various workshops, forums, review panels and working groups to help set the direction for UHD adoption in the UK and beyond. In doing so they have enabled a proactive approach to adopting this new technology.

Sony is one of the DPP Members that has provided key input into the work on Technical Standards and Production Workflows, as well as DPP AT HOME. “We’re seeing an increasing number of our professional customers looking to introduce UHD services, with many already capturing in 4K Ultra HD,” said Morgan David, Director Research and Development, Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “We very much appreciate the opportunity to have contributed within the DPP working groups that created the standards and guidelines being published today.”

The DPP notes that the UHD format is still evolving, and will be subject to changes in the years ahead. The main industry standards bodies are still working to define some associated aspects of the format, such as High Dynamic Range; and the development of equipment for use in UHD production, delivery and distribution is still at an early stage.

The DPP suggests publication of the documents represents the beginning, rather than the end, of a process. The DPP is therefore also releasing a UHD Roadmap, alongside the Technical Standards Supplement, which outlines the key areas for further development and refinement over the coming months and years.

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