Live From NAB 2018: Mobile TV Group Taps AJA for HDR Support
AJA’s FS-HDR provides flexibility in up/downconversion
AJA has stepped up to discuss its role working alongside Mobile TV Group’s 4K and HDR production efforts. According to MTVG Director, Engineering, Peter Wehner, AJA’s FS-HDR has helped MTVG advance the quality of content for audiences.
“Our clients also love the extra punch that HDR offers, and, from a production standpoint, you get more bang for your buck, so the move to HDR has been a win-win for us,” he says. More specifically, MTVG makes use of 14 AJA FS-HDR’s for real-time HDR conversion and 4K/Ultra HD/HD frame-synchronization as well as 12 AJA FS1-X’s and 12 AJA UDC’s for HD up/down/crossconversion and frame-syncing.
HDR displays, however, are not standard in most homes yet, so, when MTVG delivers an Ultra HD HDR broadcast, it simultaneously produces a live HD 1080i or 720p SDR feed, which a majority of the audience sees, in addition to the 1080p HDR feed. Although most of MTVG’s cameras are HDR-capable with wide dynamic range, the team also works with a number of SDR sources and camera formats from in-arena POV to robotic or overhead cameras and beyond, making the flexibly of FS-HDR crucial. FS-HDR’s function on the truck varies depending on show requirements. One day, it may feed and convert a 4K HDR signal to 1080p SDR and, the next day, upconvert an HD SDR feed to HD HDR, all in real time.
“Our needs change daily, and, at every location, we’re working with a different set of sources, but FS-HDR makes it easy to adapt,” says Wehner. “We can handle nearly anything that comes into the truck and convert SDR to HDR, HDR to SDR, UHD to 720p/1080i, 720p/1080i to UHD, 720p to 1080i, and 1080i or 1080p to 720p. I find it amazing how much AJA can cram into 1RU: we get not only HDR and format conversion but also live color correction. It helps us ensure a consistent look for 4K HDR and HD SDR feeds, even when working with mixed camera sources and formats.”
Confident that HDR is the future of live production, Wehner expects that FS-HDR will be integrated into most of MTVG’s newer trucks moving forward, starting with 43FLEX.
“FS-HDR gives us the flexibility to do more with less. Rather than investing in multiple converters to do what the FS-HDR can, we can bank on one unit to do four channels of HD HDR conversion, making it a great fit as we ramp up for more 4K HDR productions,” he explains. “The per-channel cost is so much lower than that of competitive tools, which are often tailored to one purpose; with FS-HDR, you get so much more and with a smaller footprint, which is key on a production truck where space is at a premium.”
AJA FS1-X converters/frame-synchronizers are also deployed regularly on the truck when MTVG brings in HD feeds for live color correction, and the UDC Mini-Converters are leveraged to help convert a range of formats from 720p to 1080i and 1080p.