SMPTE’s latest newsletter has a major report on High Dynamic Range technology as part of the shift towards 4K/Ultra HD. Although written prior to the July 5 news that the ITU had issued its fresh REC 2100, writer Michael Goldman, in a piece headlined, “Acquisition HDR” praises the industry’s efforts to acquire 4K “as broadcasters pivot into 4K/UHD”, but also quotes Dr. Peter Centen, VP/R&D for cameras at Grass Valley, who reminds SMPTE members that it took some 10 to 15 years for broadcasters to move from 4 x 3 format images to 16 x 9.
“The world did not change overnight. Now, all of a sudden, we have 4K, mainly because display manufacturers saw the market going down for HD displays, and the easiest step forward for them was to copy and paste more pixels, because if you do four quadrants of HD, then you have UHD. The other option was to put higher dynamic range (HDR) [into HD displays], but that wasn’t as easily done by [display] manufacturers because that meant they would have to take measures to get more light out of displays to get better contrast. In my opinion, in terms of perception of sharpness for the human eye, if they had done so, people would have perceived contrast in such displays as resembling what we now call 4K, even if it would have still been HD and not 4K.”
Centen is concerned that people are now looking to make a 4K change “within a year, and that is difficult to keep pace with.” He adds that the industry is moving from a slow-changing technical world to a fast-changing world”.
Centen is also worried that camera manufacturers are able to adopt the assorted HDR systems (Dolby, BBC/NHK, and others) into a single HDR proposal.