Production Sound & Video

Summer 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 39

by James Delhauer 30 there are very real logistical quandaries that filmmakers need to consider. For Local 695 data engineers in particular, whose responsibilities can include media playback, on-set chroma keying, off-camera recording, copying files from camera media to external storage devices, backup and redundancy creation, transcoding, and syncing, digital real estate is a growing concern. At four times the number of pixels as Full High Definition, 4K UHD means four times the amount of data is captured over the same amount of time. The impending move to 8K will multiply this amount by another factor of four, as 8K is double the number of both horizontal and vertical lines of 4K and not just double the number of pixels. In practical terms, productions will need to spend sixteen times as much money on media. But drive space isn't the only issue. Just because our data quantities are increasing does not mean that the films and series we make can accommodate turnaround times that are four and sixteen times longer. Therefore, we need faster drives and more powerful computers. In simplest terms, a hard drive's read and write speeds determine how quickly it can access the data stored within and add new data onto itself. For data engineers, this is of critical importance when transferring media from one location, such as a camera card, to another, such as a production shuttle. A standard spinning disk hard drive's speed is determined based on how fast the disk inside of it spins. Typical work drives spin approximately seventy-two hundred times per minute when brand new. In theoretical terms, these drives are capable of transferring between eighty and one hundred and sixty megabytes of data per second. Unfortunately, even at this speed, these drives are not always suited for high-definition work—let alone the more intensive labors of 4K and beyond. A convenient way to get around the problem is through a process known as Redundant Array of Independent Disks, or RAID. Though RAIDing can be done in a variety of ways, the basic concept is that multiple drives are used to accomplish a single task. By using two hard drives (or more) instead of one, the task being performed can use the performance speed Adapting to When looking at the history of the technology that defines our industry, the acceleration of progress that has occurred in the recent past is truly staggering. In 1953, the National Television System Committee (NTSC) introduced the color television broadcasting format, which is colloquially known today as NTSC Standard Definition. Though minor variations on the format were introduced over time, it remained mostly unchanged until the first high-definition television standards were officially adopted in the United States more than forty years later in 1994. But just twenty years after that, in 2014, that resolution was made obsolete when the first digital streaming services began to widely distribute content in a 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) television resolution. Though 4K UHD is the current highest standard of content distribution, current speculation suggests that mainstream adoption of even larger 8K displays will begin in the United States in 2023 and that distribution platforms will start officially supporting it shortly thereafter. If accurate, this would mean that the amount of time between home media standards has halved between each leap forward. And in the not-so-distant future, that could be a very real challenge. A digital image is made up of what we call pixels—tiny dots that come together in rows and columns to make up a single image. What we call resolution is a measurement of the number of pixels in a given image. NTSC Standard Definition format images are made up of six hundred and forty vertical lines and four hundred and eighty horizontal lines, commonly represented as 640x480. Though a variety of different high- definition formats do exist, the one referred to as True HD increased those figures to one thousand, nine hundred and twenty vertical lines by one thousand and eighty horizontal lines. This is referred to as 1920x1080 or simply 1080 for short. This increase in pixels results in substantially more dots being used to make up the same picture, allowing for more detail, precision, and color shading when replicating what a camera's sensor captures, making for a more nuanced product. But while we all love to be dazzled by the absolute clarity, color, and sharpness that high-resolution imagery can offer, & BEYOND

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Production Sound & Video - Summer 2018