We’ve been following the progress of UHD for a little while now and so far we like what we’ve been seeing… especially from NHK. Take look at what we just found out they’re up to with 3D.
Since its first demo in 2003, the Super Hi-Vision format (also known as Ultra HD or 8K) has made rapid progress in recent years. Back then, NHK captured 30 minutes of test footage using 16 HDTV recorders; now NHK have miniaturised the technology enough to create an ‘over the shoulder’ Super Hi-Vision camera. The compact camera (pictured) uses a single-chip colour imaging sensor to produce 33MP video and finally takes Super Hi-Vision capture out of the labs and into the hands of creatives.
NHK will develop a camera control unit to perform signal processing specifically for this head which will enhance image quality and functionality of the camera.
Following Sharp’s 85” 8K screen showcased at IBC last year, Panasonic recently revealed a massive 145” 8K screen (the world’s largest), which was showcased at NHK’s Science and Technology Research Laboratories in Tokyo this month.
NHK have also enabled prototype Super Hi-Vision displays to be multi-touch screen sensitive allowing people to zoom into certain parts of the image up to 16 times still at today’s HD standards.
On February 23, 2012, NHK announced that, with Shizuoka University, they had developed an 8K (7680 x 3840) sensor that could shoot video at 120 frames per second meaning scenes filmed in Super Hi-Vision will be ultra smooth.
For those of you who have not seen Super Hi-Vision yet, it really is something to behold. The picture quality is simply jaw-dropping, even leading some to suggest it is ‘too clear’. The demo at last year’s IBC also proved how efficient the compression has become as a live broadcast was achieved between London and Amsterdam. Super Hi-
Vision is incredibly data intensive so the challenge for the NHK engineers was to compress the stream in a way that was not detrimental to the picture quality.
With a 120fps frame rate , 22.2 sound and a 7680×4320 picture (16 times that of current HD standards), the image quality is obviously stunning but what about 3D – will this replace 3D? Well, NHK believe it could enhance 3D. Many people who have seen Super Hi-Vision say “It almost looks 3D”. The reason for this is unknown. However, it is likely to be due to the visual clues the format offers.
If you close one eye, you still see a ‘3D’ image, it is just not a stereoscopic 3D image. This is because there are several factors that your brain uses to process a 3D image. It is thought that, because the image is more akin to a natural view, your brain is more inclined to register the visual clues.
However, this is not to say stereoscopic 3D will be a legacy of a third attempt as NHK are working on a system called Integral 3D, as part of the Super Hi-Vision format. A spatial imaging technology, it promises to provide a heightened sense of presence without the eye strain.
A 3D image is created via an array of small lenses which is set to improve glasses free 3D displays. The lenses bounce the light around in many different directions for each pixel unlike the limited viewpoints offered by existing lenticular displays.
Combined with the super high resolution of 33 million pixels, the image is described as indistinguishable from the real thing by people who have seen integral 3D. It even allows people to move their head and ‘look around’ objects. There are no sweet spots plus the viewer can see the 3D effect naturally, even at an angle (current 3D displays require the viewer to view the display horizontally).
To capture the image, the scene passes through the micro-lens array which is scanned over 8000 lines by a Super Hi-Vision camera. The image is processed using ‘pixel offset’ techniques to reduce blurriness. This is reversed on the other side to produce a 3D image via the micro-lens display. The 3D effect can be achieved as the micro-lenses capture so many different viewpoints, in a similar way to how the consumer Lytro camera automatically captures 3D images using light-field technology.
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