AWS Elemental Blog

Video Processing Perspectives

A Day of 4K at the Heart of Television

A Day of 4K at the Heart of Television

Elemental returned to London this week, a city noted in the video industry for showcasing the world’s first broadcast television transmission. On January 26, 1926, John Logie Baird demonstrated a live television broadcast for members of the Royal Institution and a reporter from The Times of London in his laboratory at 22 Frith Street in the Soho district.

A Day Of 4K

Over the past year, Elemental has tackled a series of innovations in 4K Ultra HD video transmission, culminating in Japan at the Osaka Marathon in October with the first-ever demonstration of real-time HEVC 4K compression at 30 frames per second. Less than two months later, we’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible again as we showcase another world’s first – real-time 4Kp60 video compression using the HEVC codec and the full power of Elemental Live. For this demonstration, like Baird’s nearly 90 years ago, industry luminaries and press from the UK were invited to the Hotel Pullman St. Pancras (alas, the staircase at 22 Frith is not conducive to an 84” monitor).

It is early days for 4K Ultra HD video, with the ecosystem, including required delivery and viewing infrastructure, just emerging. 4K UHD video promises higher quality on larger screens, and a near immersive experience for viewers. Sports, arguably the most monetizable form of media content, demands an ever-increasing level of quality. But, to date, industry demonstrations of 4K video have been stuck with orchestrated content, often in slow motion with scenes of colorful, highly artistic intent, but with little connection to the killer app for 4K – sports.

Sixty frames per second is critical for the fast motion of sports shot in native 4K. It eliminates the judder associated with 24 and 30 frames per second. To date, a dearth of source material is available to showcase full frame rate 4K sports content. So Elemental took the matter into our own hands.

For our “pitch” in London, Elemental went to the pitch in Portland and filmed some serious football, futbol, soccer – the one with the round ball and ravenous fans. The event was the semi-final of the western conference playoffs between Major League Soccer’s most heated rivals – the Portland Timbers vs. the Seattle Sounders. Elemental came to the match with a 4K RED Epic camera and top of the line Canon lens in hand and shot video of the game with the blessing of the Timbers’ organization. In the end, the footage was mesmerizing, and needless to say challenging to encode.

4K Timbers Capture

"The moment I hit record, I can usually concentrate solely on the composition of a shot and sharpness of the focus, but this time I found that a little difficult. Just how cool and fun the experience was shooting on a RED Epic was too exciting to ignore! Knowing that what I was doing was going to alter the business added a lot of weight to the task.”

— Gil M., Videographer at Elemental

To learn more about the demonstration Elemental debuted in London and the future of live 4K Ultra HD HEVC content delivery, read our white paper.