Technicolor Adds HDR Grading, Develops Pay-TV STB

Technicolor is expanding its colour grading service to include high dynamic range (HDR) grading for films, TV shows and advertising. The company is also licensing an Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) plugin, which broadcasters can use to create HDR content in their own facilities.

HDR dramatically increases the detail in an imageThe HDR grading services expand content’s dynamic range to increase video quality. The services will be launched at Technicolor facilities this year, starting in Los Angeles. They will include solutions for both existing libraries and newly-created content from camera-captured RAW footage. Projects will be graded to the HDR specifications set forth by the UHD Alliance.

Broadcasters and content owners will be able to use the ITM plugin to efficiently produce HDR content. It works by analysing content in real time, providing colourists with direct control of luminance in shadows, mid-tones and highlights. It will be licensed across multiple colour grading platforms, including Autodesk’s Lustre and Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve. An OpenFX version will also be available.

Technicolor has also announced that – to ensure that content is delivered to consumers as accurately as possible – it is developing the ‘world’s first’ UltraHD high frame rate and HDR set-top box. The box is designed for pay-TV operators; it will decode both high- and standard definition range versions of the same content, using Technicolor’s HEVC solution for HDR delivery.

In related news, Technicolor recently conducted a successful trial of a live, over-the-air broadcast using HDR and UltraHD, with the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The broadcast was based on the proposed ATSC 3.0 platform.

Sinclair integrated the broadcasts into its experimental OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) transmission system. The signals were transmitted in real-world conditions, not in a laboratory. HDR content at HD and UltraHD resolutions was delivered in a single layer, with backwards-compatible SDR. New and legacy devices (including TVs and mobiles) were all able to receive and display the broadcast signal.

The broadcast was said to meet the most ATSC 3.0 requirements of any previously-demonstrated system. Mobile tests yielded a received signal up to 60 miles away and, separately, the receipt of the mobile broadcast signal at up to 120mph.