Gearing up for latest in VR, HDR & Dolbyvision at NAB

A vision of Dolby Vision

April will be here soon and that means one thing in our industry. Vegas, baby! — the NAB  Show April 16-21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the exhibit floor and its 1,700-plus exhibitors not opening its doors until April 18.

Undoubtedly, the biggest topics at 2016 NAB will be about VR and HDR, with the amazing possibilities of High Dynamic Range creation and delivery dominating the discussion.

Starting at this past CES, manufacturers like LG Electronics, Microsoft’s Visio, and China’s TCL are already delivering “DolbyVision” television sets for the home.

While it’s expected that those sets will carry a premium price tag to match the color and clarity onscreen, the reality is far different. Many of these “prosumer” grade TVs are shipping. The cost starts at under $2,000, but quickly rises to a wallet-crushing $6,000-$8,000 range for the top-of-the-line models.

On the production side, however, there a very few tools that actually support the HDR process onset, particularly monitoring the actual latitude of the image.

One of the first of these tools to be announced prior to 2016 NAB is the Atomos Flame, a 10bit OLED display, with a brightness of 1,500 nits. The Flame products are both a monitor and onboard recorder using Atomos’ proprietary AtomHDR technology to allow the display to show the full brightness in your image on screen.

Available in two models, the Shogun supports both SDI and HDMI for I/O, while the lower cost Ninja model only HDMI for its connectivity.

Yet the one part of the HDR schema that people do not mention much is the added data load that will be required. See, the higher bit depth imagery needed to produce HDR means that the camera originals need to be at 10bit or higher quality, something that many cameras in use today cannot deliver.

RAW and Log workflows that many have avoided this will be required for HDR deliverables.

I can’t say much yet about what is coming because of the mountain of NDAs I have signed prior to the show. Yet, I feel this is the NAB that Intel’s Thunderbolt technology has waited for. With Thunderbolt 3 utilization across multiple Windows- based PCs being the tipping point for a single cable of connectivity may, finally be here.

And this would push portability into a level of performance previously available only to the Mac crowd. But wait, there’s more to come.