New Postproduction Tools Equip Workflows for HDR & 4K Surge

Video postproduction teams are facing challenges posed by new dynamics in coloration, luminance and pixel density which can only be met with the aid of quality management tools that have been designed for the tasks at hand.  

The most far-reaching changes involve content formatted to various high dynamic range (HDR) and HDR-related wide color gamut (WCG) templates now in commercial operation. These bring into play a mind-boggling array of complexities that need to be addressed with meticulous attention at new levels of frame-to-frame and in-frame granularity.  

But there are also many new nuances apart from HDR that must be addressed with content mapped to the pixel densities of 4K ultra HD. And there are even new considerations that need to be given to color- and luminance-related details associated with standard dynamic range (SDR) formatting resulting from up and down conversions between HDR and SDR. Complicating matters, postproduction teams must process content in all these formats while maintaining a consistent look with close adherence to artistic intent.  

Considering all these developments, distributors are setting new requirements to ensure the best possible viewing experience on UHD displays and with all displays when HDR is in play. Standards of acceptance on completed work orders are more stringent than ever.  

These demands have important bottom-line implications for postproduction operations. Teams that rely solely on tools that weren’t designed to support the management of contrast and coloration in conformance with these new parameters incur higher risks of rejection by distributors. Moreover, there’s a cost that comes with work order completion delays when editors and colorists lack automation support for time-consuming manual processes. Such concerns are about to become far more significant to postproduction balance sheets.  

While the evolution to 4K- and HDR-formatted content progressed slowly at first, the pace is accelerating now that 4K TV set penetration has reached mass-market proportions worldwide. With first movers like Netflix and Amazon leading the way, content producers of every stripe realize there’s a price to pay in lost audience appeal if they don’t deliver the kinds of viewing experiences subscribers to these OTT services have come to expect.  

As a result, what was a trickle is about to become a flood of content tuned to new display parameters that have the potential to overwhelm under-equipped postproduction workflows. Getting things right the first time through is becoming harder but more essential than ever.  

Clearly, the time has come to make the adjustments in toolsets and workflows essential to addressing these developments. Rather than depending solely on Vector displays and other basic QC tools used in SD and HD workflows, technicians must have solutions that can expedite much more detailed evaluations and corrections of elements related to 4K, HDR, and WCG. 

As post managers contemplate their options, it’s also important to recognize that the pace of technology-driven change has greatly shortened the generational cycles in TV formats. With 8K UHD sets now in commercial production and more extraordinary advances in display technology on the horizon, new challenges won’t be long in coming. Toolsets acquired to meet current quality-assurance requirements should be designed for upgradeable adaptations to future needs.  

Get the white paper titled “New Postproduction Tools Equip Workflows for HDR & 4K Surge” that begins (Part 1) with an exploration of how the changes in display technology are impacting content strategies. Part 2 shares the implications of those strategies for postproduction processes and Part 3 explains how Telestream has made it possible for postproduction professionals to address these challenges. 

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