4K HDR production can elevate the quality of content and help it stand out in a crowded marketplace, but requires a workflow equipped to handle vast amounts of complex data. Since launching in 2016, China-based 4K Garden has focused on providing solutions that alleviate common pain points when working in 4K and now HDR. As the popularity of 4K HDR content has grown, so has demand for its services. 4K Garden’s clients include the top two 4K channels in China, offered by national public broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) and provincial broadcaster Guangdong TV Station, each featuring a range of live 4K programming. To ensure reliable, quality 4K HDR outputs across productions, 4K Garden relies on an array of sophisticated gear, including AJA’s FS-HDR real-time HDR/WCG converter, HDR Image Analyzer 12G, and the Ki Pro Ultra 12G recorder/player. These tools also play a crucial role in a 4K/UltraHD HDR training program that 4K Garden provides to up-and-coming talent.
“For 4K and 8K production, 12G-SDI can decrease a lot of time, work and complexity when building out your workflow, and using only one cable of 12G-SDI for 4K/UltraHD compared to 4x 3G-SDI cables is more secure and easier to troubleshoot for checking signals compared to 3G-SDI, especially 2SI mode,” said Lu Yu, CTO, 4K Garden. “The 12G-SDI capabilities of Ki Pro Ultra 12G were a key factor in our decision to use it, as the single cable decreases the chances for mistakes. Also, we can record continuously for a long time because it includes two slots for long recordings with Ki Protect support, the connections are reliable, and we can alternatively record four HD channels simultaneously on a single unit. Since it also records to an SSD drive, getting material to the DIT is a lot more convenient and efficient.”
When broadcasting 4K HDR content live, 4K Garden relies on FS-HDR, primarily using it in an OB truck that receives signals from a 4K HDR or HD SDR camera or recorder. The team then genlocks the signals with FS-HDR, which converts them to the appropriate gamma and color space and syncs the audio. “FS-HDR is powerful for processing signals and supports a wide range of standards with ideal outputs. Its logic is easy to understand, and it works well with different camera brands, so we might also use it for the downconversion process in the future,” noted Jia-Xing Ma, Broadcast Engineer, 4K Garden.
Each piece of 4K HDR content that 4K Garden helps to produce must be in the HLG format with BT.2020 color space to meet standards set by the National Radio and Television Administration. By tapping AJA’s HDR Image Analyzer 12G for quality control of HDR content in broadcast trucks, at color correction stages, and for 8K production signal monitoring, the 4K Garden team can be confident that captured footage meets the required standards, and with detailed data for HDR and downconverted outputs.
“Productions require different levels of brightness, and some have colors that are rich, but they can’t be over the limit. The accuracy of HDR Image Analyzer 12G allows us to closely monitor the process, and ensure the footage is where it needs to be by using the Pixel Picker feature to look at important image data,” explained 4K Garden Senior Technical Manager Liang-Hong Zheng.
Along with designing and implementing production workflows, 4K Garden also offers training for rising technical talent. Partnering with schools and industry professionals, the company’s efforts are aimed at increasing education and understanding around 4K and HDR technologies as well as best production practices. “4K/UltraHD is now the delivery standard for channels across China and though not yet a requirement, a number of stations are also embracing HDR to help set their content apart. At the same time, HDR technologies and techniques are still very nascent, so we decided to launch this educational program for our customers just starting to dip their toes into HDR,” noted Yu. “Having reliable high-quality gear like AJA’s FS-HDR, Ki Pro Ultra 12G, and HDRIA12G in our arsenal is central to the program’s success, as it delivers pristine results yet is intuitive to use operate, configure and control, not to mention it’s compatible with a range of an emerging range of HDR formats.”