4K ultra-HD TV wireless remote production systems
The CELTIC project 4KREPROSYS developed a new integrated cost-effective approach for the production of 4K TV content. The solution is capable of covering the needs from indoor studio production up to difficult mobile outdoor production at large events. High-performance video compression for low-bandwidth usage, remote production capabilities and “all-IP” connectivity are the principle of the solution.
The production system was built by developing an integrated IP-based wireless system that can be used in the event production venues to capture audio-visual content in HD and Ultra-High Definition (UHD), including High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats ideal for covering large-scale sporting events, which require high outdoor mobility, with state-of-the-art image quality.
The evolution of multimedia content and associated services towards improved user experience must rely on higher resolutions and more immersive and interactive formats. However, this is only possible if the production of such contents is economically viable and fully compatible and scalable with the production of traditional content formats. Previous production technologies and systems were the results of an “ad-hoc patchwork” of different components based on often non-compatible or non-appropriate legacy technologies that need to be integrated with difficulties and deployed in the field with very heavy and costly logistic means. New emerging and powerful technologies such as MPEG HEVC video compression, Internet/IP based wired and wireless connectivity with high bandwidth and low latencies, provided the motivation to re-think and re-design the essential components of TV content production infrastructures in a unified integrated approach.
The project focused its investigations and developments on the integration of MPEG HEVC and IP-based communications carrying content and service signals for both wireless and wired production components. The goals were to study, develop and experiment in the field production systems that support high performance (i.e. very high bitrates) for high-quality UHD and advanced multi-view formats, including high robustness for reaching high levels of reliability for indoor and highly mobile outdoor settings. Major challenges were to implement very powerful processing systems in compact and battery-operated assemblies. Moreover, the systems were required to answer to the new location approach of the TV studio infrastructure, traditionally deployed in the field, which is becoming a “virtual” component that can be locally or remotely deployed according to the best logistic (i.e. economical) solution for the specific production operation.
New HEVC low-delay wireless system used during FIFA world cup
The technologies developed to design the new 4K production systems are:
› Ultra-low latency MPEG HEVC encoding and decoding (the only compression standard that provides the necessary performance to compress 4K TV signals to reasonable bitrates with full studio quality).
› Low-latency IP-based wired and wireless communication links for local and remote production for both audio-video UHD and service signals.
› Low latency switching and synchronization of compressed streams without packet loss for the mixing and multiplexing of wired and wireless content and service streams.
› Low-latency content protection for on-line encryption of compressed streams.
The new audio-video codecs and wireless transmitters developed by the project made possible to master a complete RF recording & transmission infrastructure supporting 4UHD resolution. Another innovation on the production side was the approach based on integration and transmission of IP signals for both content and services. Multiplexing of audio, video and service data managed at the very beginning of the chain enabled the reduction of the number of frequencies needed for production events. By realizing robust and reliable bi-directional full-IP connectivity, the project has made it possible to deploy production configurations with full remote studio control.
Applied to a post-production distribution chain, the technologies developed in 4KReProSys can also be used for increasing QoE in broadcast services and support new contribution concepts.
Conclusion and outlook
The major result of the project is a fully integrated production system, controlled by a remote studio via a low-band width communication infrastructure, for the production of UHD TV resolutions capable of covering highly mobile outdoor sport events. In July 2018, AMP-VISUAL-TV was able to set up and manage with full success the transmission of all wireless 4K cameras used for one month to cover 12 stadiums during the FIFA World Cup event in Russia.
The most visible European business perspective will be the possibility of all television and production companies to profit from the new 4K wireless and all-IP production capabilities associated to the new low-bandwidth remote production possibilities.
For the results achieved, the 4KReProSys consortium won a prestigious European distinction, the CELTIC Excellence Award for Multimedia.
› Further information
› 4KReProSys project page – https://www.celticnext.eu/project-4kreprosys/