AJA's Director of Product Marketing, Bryce Button, goes in-depth about FS-HDR and how it's used in the production space today.
PH: What is FS-HDR?
Bryce Button: FS-HDR is AJA’s versatile converter/frame synchronizer for transforming SDR to HDR, HDR to HDR and HDR to SDR for multi-channel 2K/HD and 4K/UltraHD production and post. A “Swiss army knife” for HDR workflows, it combines AJA’s proven FS frame sync and conversion technology with the Colorfront Engine™, an award-winning video and color space processing solution, to allow real-time HDR transforms and 4K/HD/2K/HD up, down, cross-conversions. FS-HDR can also be tapped to convert a range of camera Log formats to HDR/SDR as well as to/from BT.2020/BT.709.
PH: Why did AJA develop FS-HDR?
Bryce Button: Content creators are increasingly drawn to HDR because of its high production value at little to no bandwidth cost. At the same time, consumer interest in HDR is taking off as more affordable, high-quality TV sets and mobile devices hit the market, and platforms like Netflix and Amazon continue to release a steady stream of OTT HDR content. With all of this momentum, the production community is embracing HDR at breakneck speed; however, HDR production often requires more than one deliverable, which has introduced a new set of challenges for our customers in the field.
We saw a need for a real-time tool that could help professionals maintain the look they’ve worked so hard to achieve across HDR and SDR and 4K and HD, and FS-HDR was our answer. To bring FS-HDR to market, we engaged with Colorfront’s color science experts, whose Colorfront Engine color space processing algorithms have been used on major productions and bring extensive HDR and WCG processing support to FS-HDR.
PH: How is FS-HDR being used in production?
Bryce Button: In terms of customer applications, a number of FS-HDRs are already out in the field, powering conversion and frame sync for everything from live broadcasts to post, ProAV and sports productions. Mobile TV Group, for instance, is using 14 FS-HDRs in its 4K/UltraHD HDR production truck, which has been used to deliver NHL and other sports broadcasts for DirecTV.
Italian Production Company Beta Media also integrated 24 FS-HDRs into its new 4K HDR OB van, the Esterna, to be able to blend incoming and outgoing signals for 4K/UltraHD HDR, HD HDR and HD SDR broadcasts. As more FS-HDRs appear in the field, we’re working with customers to develop new features that simplify day-to-day tasks. For instance, at NAB, we just released FS-HDR v2.5 firmware, which includes a range of powerful new features based on customer feedback.
PH: What’s new in the FS-HDR v2.5 firmware update?
Bryce Button: We’ve packed a lot of great new feature enhancements into FS-HDR with our latest update. To name a few, we’ve added support for ITU BT.2408-0 Operational Practices in HDR Television, and a new simultaneous 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD output mode with independent SDR/HDR controls. Users who download the update will also be able to utilize new BBC Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) Look Up Tables (LUTs) for basic mathematical HDR transforms.
Additionally, new Infoframe generation on the HDMI monitor output offers an easy, cost-efficient solution for local monitoring on HDR-capable displays. The update also integrates new HDR test patterns and delivers Tangent Element Kb panel support for remote parameter control, offering a separate hardware control for the adjustments over FS-HDR’s key conversion parameters.
PH: When will FS-HDR v2.5 be available, how much does it cost and where can production pros find more information about it?