NASA, Harmonic Explore Boundaries of UHD at ISS Resupply Launch

NASA and Harmonic documented the launch of the Orbital 4 mission, carrying supplies to the International Space Station with 4K and UHD capabilities.

HARMONIC_RGB_LRAs an industry first on Dec. 3, the teams shot the launch for release using an array of six 4K+ cameras, shooting at high frame rate (HFR) and in high dynamic range (HDR). The footage was then rapidly post-produced into a program on the entire process of the launch, that aired on NASA TV UHD the next day. HDR reference UHD video clips of the launch will also be published at the beginning of next year.

“We are thrilled with the industry reaction to NASA TV UHD, and hope television service providers carry the channel, in their growing UHD offerings, for the public to experience,” said Fred Brown, executive producer of NASA TV. “This launch provides more compelling content for the channel and allows us to demonstrate the technology by using high frame rate and high dynamic range UHD equipment, better documenting another milestone in the NASA story.”

NASA and Harmonic worked with key industry players to leverage and showcase emerging HDR capabilities and standards. Clips were published in both HDR-10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) HDR schemes. HLG content is backwards-compatible with non-HDR televisions and displays, and were played on the NASA TV UHD channel.

“NASA and Harmonic developed NASA TV UHD to give consumers ready access to out-of-this-world content that shows the breathtaking beauty of space and the various facets of NASA’s space program in visually stunning Ultra HD. The channel has been operating since early November, and we’ve been adding content regularly ever since — including this launch, which we will air just 24 hours after it happens,” said Peter Alexander, chief marketing officer at Harmonic. “Our end-to-end UHD production workflow is what makes it possible to go from the live shoot to on-air UHD delivery, within a persistent scheduled channel, in such a short time. Most UHD channels today are not run like their HD counterparts; they simply spool pre-compressed files. NASA TV UHD is built with UHD playout and live/linear encoding for professional channel operations, and supports HDR.”

The NASA TV UHD channel is the first of its kind in North America. It uses an end-to-end solution that includes Harmonic’s Ellipse 3000 contribution encoder, ProView 7100 integrated receiver-decoder (IRD), MediaGrid shared storage system, Polaris playout management suite, Spectrum X advanced media server system, Electra X2 and Electra X3 advanced media processors, ProMedia Origin packager and streaming video server, and NSG Exo distributed CCAP system.

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