One of the speakers at the recent 4KHDR Summit in Malaga was our own Chris Chinnock, who is the Executive Director of the 8K Association (8KA). Given the mixed messaging about 8K this year, I thought it was a good chance to get up to date on where we are.
The Association has a mission statement to educate consumers and professionals about 8K and to encourage the whole ecosystem. There is a certification programme and the Association is interested in every application of 8K, not just traditional video broadcasting. The group helps to get hold of good 8K content for evaluation and testing.
After covering the organisation and members (over 30 companies), Chinnock looked at the activities of the Board of Directors and the Working Groups which cover different area.
Work Groups are Active
The Technical Work Group (TWG) looks at all the specifications that go into the evaluation of sets for the logo programmes. The first spec was issued publicly (in overview – the full spec is only available to members) in September 2019 as version 1.0 and that was amended to add audio and streaming media requirements in Jan 2021 as V2.0. V2.1 arrived in December 2021 and covered the increasingly important gaming mode requirements as well as defining an ambient contrast ratio metric. A new version is on its way from the TWG.
The ambient contrast ratio concept was pioneered by the 8KA as a key part of really understanding the way that consumers see the set, rather than using the normal methods of contrast measurement that are done in very dark environments.
The Certification Work Group define and maintains the certification process as well as authorising test centres and also auditing certified products in the market. Close to 100 TV models have been certified and audits will start in early 2023.
The Marketing Work Group (MWG) has a couple of websites as well as a YouTube channel and newsletter. The 8KA website has a lot more new content this year on 8K production and workflows. The YouTube channel has news that is especially useful videos from major trade shows and includes news that is not published anywhere else. The newsletter is sent to 12K readers and the 8KA is active on social media.
The MWG was at NAB in 2022 and is looking to be at other shows in 2023 as well as participating in a range of live and virtual events.
The Content and Delivery Work Group (C&D WG) is aiming to understand and help the development of the creation of 8K content. Capturing 8K can mean that content becomes ‘future-proof’ even if it is not needed in 8K now. The C&D WG has a content creator member class of membership, but there is a pause to new memberships for now as Chinnock said ‘We have enough content for now’.
There is a 4K/8K Evaluation committee that is working on content to validate the value of 8K content, where it is different from 8K. That’s quite a task as, among other things “It matters what lens you use, how you encode and process, the set and many other variables”. Understanding which are the key variables is key.
An Encode-decode committee has published two versions of its “8K Live Production” report and is working with the developers of codecs, encoders and decoders. The C&D WG has looked at the 8K production at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 8K VR from the 2022 Beijing Olympics. This kind of 8K live capture event can be done and cost effectively and the C&D WG is working on a report to investigate what is needed to ensure that content captured in 8K today (and plenty is, even if it’s not delivered in that resolution) and may be needed in 8K later. It is looking at formats, cropping and scaling that can maintain the quality.
For VR, the quality of the headsets is getting better and 8K capture is a minimum when looking at 360 degree images. The group is also looking at volumetric capture and virtual production as well. There is a hope to create a live 8K end-to-end capture demo next year if the rights issues can be negotiated. (BR)