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Tip #1829: Compressor Limits Frame Sizes to 4K

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Compressor limits almost all compressed files to 4K or smaller.

Topic $TipTopic

Vince asks:

“I’ve got a 360 project (filmed on GoPro Max) that is 5376×2688 and need the best quality compression setting to create a 5376×2688 .mp4 (or .m4v) for playback on a pair of Oculus Quest 2 goggles. I can’t find any setting in FCP or Compressor that allows me to custom set the resolution to match. Actually, I can’t get anything larger than 4k, which is killing me and the image quality when viewing on the goggles.”

The short answer is that Compressor limits compression frame sizes to 4K for both H.264 and HEVC codecs.

NOTE: HEVC was specifically designed to support frame sizes larger than 4K, but Compressor does not currently allow it.

Because Vince is interested in high-quality, the workaround is to use the ProRes 422 codec. This supports frame sizes up to 8K, along with non-standard aspect ratios.

NOTE: However, if you import a 4K 3D clip, Compressor won’t upscale it larger than 100%, even into ProRes.


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Tip #1832: The Inside Tips Take a Hiatus

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The Inside Tips will return in September.

Photo credit: Jonas Ferlin, Pexels.com

Topic $TipTopic

The Inside Tips are taking a hiatus for the month of August. We’ll be back the first week of September with more Inside Tips.

Thanks for your readership and comments. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Feel free to contribute some tips of your own here.


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Tip #1825: Adobe Media Encoder Supports 8K

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Adobe Media Encoder supports frame sizes up to 8K.

Codecs such as HEVC and ProRes support video frame sizes up to 8K.

Topic $TipTopic

Not all codecs support large frame sizes, but for those that do – such as ProRes and HEVC – Adobe Media Encoder will compress them.

In Tip #1829, we learned that Apple Compressor limits compressed file sizes to 4K, except for ProRes.

But, Adobe Media Encoder will support up to 8K UHD (7680 x 4320 pixels) for some formats, such as HEVC and Apple ProRes.

NOTE: H.264 is limited to 4K due to the design of the codec.

To compress a file that large, you’ll need to create a custom preset (see screen shot) and select a codec that supports frame sizes that large. HEVC is a good choice for compressed files, while ProRes 422 is a good choice for higher-quality files.

NOTE: Keep in mind that HEVC will take significantly longer to compress than H.264, so be sure to allow extra time for compression.


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Tip #1814: NHK: 200 Hours of Olympics in 8K

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8K coverage available only in Japan.

Image credit: NHK.

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TVTechnology.com reports that, with the start of the Olympics, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK will achieve a major milestone on its roadmap for 8K UHDTV as it presents the international spectacle to Japanese viewers on its BS8K (Broadcast Satellite 8K) channel in 8K.

For the 2021 Summer Olympics, NHK plans about 200 hour of 8K UHD coverage, including broadcasts of the opening and closing ceremonies and seven events, including swimming, athletics and judo. It also plans 8K coverage of four Paralympics events: athletics, swimming, badminton and wheelchair rugby.

NHK began work on its Super Hi-Vision 8K television system in 1995, showing the world the incremental progress it was making on development of the concept and technology at special exhibits during major international industry gatherings, such as the NAB Show and IBC.

8K UHD is the pinnacle of the TV viewing experience. From a resolution point of view, it creates pictures with four times more pixels than 4K UHD (7,680 x 4,320 pixels vs. 3,840 x 2.160 pixels, or 33 million pixels vs. 8 million) and 16 times more than HDTV.

NHK’s 8K UHDTV coverage of the 2021 Summer Olympics will only be available to viewers in Japan.


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Tip #1815: The Early Years of Cable TV

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Local cable TV in the ’70’s meant small budgets and a lot of patience.

The author operating a Shibaden/Hitachi camera in 1979 at 16 years old. (Image credit: Dan Slentz)

Topic $TipTopic

Dan Slentz writes in TV Technology about the early days of cable TV, which got its start providing a shared television antenna to communities with no access to broadcast television.

NOTE: My first paid position out of school was working in cable TV in Billings, Montana. I got hired and fired the same day. But, that’s a different story…

In 1977, the author writes, I was 14 years old and desperately wanting to work in radio or TV. At that time, being 14 really eliminated radio, plus I had a squeaky “kid voice.” Our local cable TV system was one of the earliest in the country and the local person with foresight to start a cable system, Claude Stevanus, would recognize the need for “local TV.”

In the mid-70’s, cable TV local origination/access was more common, but the facilities seemed to run about 10 years behind the technical curve of broadcast TV. In 1977, we had quads, film chains with color Norelco cameras, and our TBC was an Ampex and probably 8RU tall. We had two B&W General Electric cameras with lens turrets, and one Sony Color Trinicon; yes… a studio with two B&W and one color, (plus color film chain: 16mm film and 35mm slide).

If we were doing multi-camera work, this meant we put the main TBC in monochrome, or we were switching between color and B&W cameras! Yes, even in monochrome, you could certainly see a difference in quality between the GE B&W and Sony color camera running in monochrome.

My job was to get there as quickly as I could to help put together the news. This included putting removable plastic letters “in a menu board” for stocks, weather, etc., since we had no CG for this use. This method required luminance keying a camera tilting down while keyed over a slide. A steady arm was needed for the tilt or the words/letters would slightly bounce side to side.

Though it was cable TV, the cable operator ran some return copper paths to the headend and would end up putting a channel 2 modulator in our production truck. On the events where we would go LIVE from a remote location, we’d have to connect to a known return-path location. Someone would turn off the cable modulator at the station and the remote modulator would turn on. This would be like a TV broadcaster driving around with a back-up transmitter and turning it on from their remotes, but it worked!

EXTRA CREDIT

Reading this was like reading about my younger self. If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ll appreciate the retrospective. If you are new to media, you’ll wonder how we ever survived.


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Tip #1816: Synchrimedia Updates MovieCaptioner

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MovieCaptioner creates, imports and exports captions.

Image credit: Synchrimedia.

Topic $TipTopic

Captions are increasingly important, not just for new media, but existing files as well. Synchrimedia makes MovieCaptioner, an after-the-fact caption software for Mac or Windows computers.

NOTE: I’ve used this software on my own projects.

It can create captions manually, or import 18 different caption formats. It supports 25 different caption export formats. Last week, they released a free upgrade optimized for Big Sur. Other new features in the upgrade include:

  • New 1-Minute Intervals Transcripts option under the Edit menu. Displays all captions for each minute of video instead of timecode for each caption. It is also an available option under the Multi-File Export option.
  • Restored the left/right arrows for the buttons that maximize or minimize the share of the screen either for transcribing or editing (the 2 buttons next to the Duration timecode display above the movie). With Catalina and Big Sur, these arrows were missing.
  • Fixed a bug where the Caption Row is sometimes unpopulated, preventing captions from displaying in Preview mode.
  • Fixed a bug where the last transcribed caption was not being displayed if all captions were not yet transcribed.
  • Timecode will now continue to run in Preview mode even past the last caption.
  • Removed a stray alert in the Split Caption button that was for development purposes only.

The software is $49 single-user – 50% off from now til Sept. 6, 2021. (10-user and site licensing is also available.)

Here’s the link to learn more. A free trial is available.


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Tip #1804: Ten Tech Innovations at the Olympics

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The Olympics are legendary for their use of technology. This year is no different.

Logo of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by George Winslow, first appeared in TVTechnology.com. This is a summary.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics won’t have fans in the seats, but the games will be offering up a host of tech milestones that the organizers and broadcasters hope will keep audiences cheering at home.

This week, the Olympic Broadcasting Services, OBS, which will be producing a record amount of content for rights holders, came out with its own list of the top ten tech innovations for the Summer Games.

  1. OBS will have a full native UHD HDR production, with 5.1.4 immersive audio (only the coverage of the seven outside Tennis courts will remain in HD). OBS has transitioned its contribution and distribution networks to an all-IP infrastructure to support the UHD HDR production workflow.
  2. The games will see more content in more formats than ever before. OBS will produce additional Multi Clip Feeds (MCFs), as well as fast-turnaround sports highlights, short-form content and mobile-generated clips.
  3. As part of its efforts to provide more content in more formats, OBS will also deliver a record 9,500+ hours of content in support of the rights holders’ multi-platform strategies.
  4. New technologies being deployed include: Multi-camera replay systems (several sports); 3D Athlete Tracking (Athletics 100m) in partnership with Intel and Alibaba; True View (Basketball) in partnership with Intel; Biometric data (Archery) in partnership with Panasonic; Live and on-demand immersive 180° stereoscopic and 360° panoramic coverage (several sports); Virtual 3D graphics (Sport Climbing); 2D image tracking (several sports).
  5. Remote production, both to ensure safety and to provide more coverage, is a big part of the tech game plan. OBS will cover the seven outside tennis courts, as well as certain press conferences, via remote production. The remote production gallery will be set up at the IBC.
  6. Behind the scenes, in an effort to provide more flexible workflows that will allow it to deliver a much wider array of content in more formats to more platforms, OBS has rolled out a set of cloud-based solutions specifically designed for high-demanding broadcast workflows, called OBS Cloud, which allows for greater flexibility and remote production in partnership with Alibaba.
  7. As part of its embrace of cloud and IP technologies, OBS has transitioned part of its broadcast workflows in the cloud. The OBS video server will be extended to the cloud with increased capacity and worldwide accessibility.
  8. Amid growing concerns about climate change and carbon footprints, OBS has been looking for efficiencies in the design of the IBC, notably introducing mini data centres known as Centralized Technical Areas (CTAs).
  9. OBS has introduced new positions close to the field of play and in back-of house areas at selected venues to help rights holders to engage their audience on social media.
  10. OBS has created an innovative digital fan engagement suite, which allows remote viewers to interact with live events in Tokyo and right holders to connect athletes with their fans.

Here’s a link to a 62-page deep-dive into all the innovations at the Olympics. (Be patient, this can take a while to download.)


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Tip #1805: The Challenge in Broadcasting the Olympics

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

It’s not about consumption – it’s about the experience.

Olympic Broadcasting Services head: Yiannis Exarchos.

Topic $TipTopic

In simple terms, the broadcast footprint at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be 30 per cent smaller than it was at Rio 2016, while content production will be up by about 30 per cent. Add the fact that technology is enabling a host of new ways to tell the stories of the Games and you can see that Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) boss Yiannis Exarchos is excited about uncovering new opportunities.

This article was written by the International Olympics Committee (IOC). This is a summary.

The challenge of producing more than 9,000 hours of sports content over 17 days in the current climate is clearly very real. But, “you should never let the opportunity of a major crisis go unused and unexploited,” Exarchos said. “Look at the learnings and uncover every opportunity so that we do what we do in a way that is far less impactful for the environment and the host cities, but at the same time is exciting.”

“Technology provides this through the world of data, through the world of augmented reality, through the world potentially of virtual reality – all things we will try and start introducing in Tokyo and in the next Games,” Exarchos explained.

In content terms this means more coverage in different formats, with the needs of social media and digital outlets high on the agenda. For instance, Content+, a web-based platform primarily dedicated to short-form and digital content, will be far more prominent in Tokyo than ever before. “Broadcasters can use this content, repurpose it; they can practically do it from their mobile phones in the back of a car,” Exarchos said, smiling.

This focus will mean there will be far more behind-the-scenes coverage than ever before, with consumers getting a real insight into what it means to be an Olympic athlete. Not that innovations are limited to off-field action – Tokyo 2020 will also be the first Games coverage to be natively produced in 4K HDR, something Exarchos was “not sure could actually be done” just a matter of months ago.

“It’s not about consumption of technology,” the OBS boss explained. “It’s about experiencing a better way of telling the stories of the greatest athletes of the world.”

“The major thinking, and what we want them to do and help them to do, is reduce the presence [of broadcast staff performing work] that can happen anywhere in the world,” Exarchos stressed. “To be shipping servers and setting up equipment in a city for things that can happen on the cloud is one of the things we want to avoid.”

The entire article provides more details and is well-worth reading.


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Tip #1806: NBC Olympics Selects Avid for Games

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Avid to provide content production and media management.

The logo for the NBC Olympics.

Topic $TipTopic

NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, has selected Avid to provide the content production and media management platform, tools and solutions for its production of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, which take place in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23-August 8. The announcement was made by Darryl Jefferson, VP of Post Operations and Digital Workflow, NBC Sports & Olympics, and Jeff Rosica, CEO and President, Avid.

Over the past two decades, Avid has supported NBC Olympics in its ongoing technical innovation to present the American audience with state-of-the-art coverage of the Olympic Games. Building on their most recent success with platform-based media management workflows for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, NBC Olympics continues to use Avid’s MediaCentral systems for the Tokyo Olympics. To support expanded Olympic production from NBC Sports’ facility in Stamford, Conn., NBC Olympics will deploy Avid’s MediaCentral solutions to drive Tokyo-based remote and on-site workflows that will generate content for linear, OTT and social media platforms serving enthusiastic audiences in the U.S.

NBC Olympics is also using Avid NEXIS shared storage, Media Composer Ultimate and the Media Composer Cloud VM option to empower its team in multiple international locations, including editors based in Stamford, the International Broadcast Centre in Tokyo, and numerous Olympic venues, to connect and collaborate in real-time for content production and delivery.

Here’s the full press release.


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Tip #1774: Media Production Shifts to the Cloud

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The cloud is more than storage, it’s now media apps.

Image credit: Karl Paulsen

Topic $TipTopic

TV Technology reports that “A paradigm shift in media-production technologies is changing how the cloud is perceived, used, presented and applied to media production. The lines between ground-based and cloud-based media production are becoming blurred.” (This is a synopsis.)

This in-depth article, written by Karl Paulsen, starts by looking at cloud computing, an application-based solution known also as an “infrastructure in the cloud.” Cloud computing is divided into a front-end part and a back-end part. To the user, these details don’t need to be thoroughly understood—but it is helpful to know that the end-to-end ecosystem is changing so that acceptability of these differences can be evaluated and adopted.

Today, cloud providers offer hundreds of specific services ranging from compute and storage to cloud consulting (through partners) and management. Each provider aims to enable users to deploy their compute and storage requirements in the cloud offering various competitive platforms, all eager for users to experiment in any way conceivable.

The article covers media-specific and cloud forward applications and Cloud-based automation.

It concludes by saying: “Reliable, secure, scalable, protected and cost-effective media production—without the annoyances of managing a complex local infrastructure—is changing the face of media from one end to the other. Whether the production services are hosted in a public cloud, regional co-lo site or even in your own private data center, the concepts developed (and being perfected all the time) are real, available and are here today.”

EXTRA CREDIT

The article goes into more detail with interviews and illustrations.


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