Going beyond 4K broadcasting: Super Bowl 50 was shot in 8K resolution by NHK of Japan
Stephan Jukic – February 9, 2016
Both the World Cup and the Olympics have been covered in 8K test broadcasts and now, as of this Sunday, the unique technological innovation of shooting and transmitting in this resolution fell to the Super Bowl as well, America’s largest single sports event.
In an ultra HD broadcast project that goes way beyond the still nascent needs of live 4K ultra HD event broadcasting, Super Bowl 50 was filmed by Japanese State broadcaster NHK with six different 8K cameras as part of a larger 8K mobile unit designed and run by the broadcasting giant. On the other hand, while the game was completely filmed in this massive resolution of 16 times the pixels of Full HD, the video transmission feed could only be viewed live in the compound at Levi’s Stadium or at NHK headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.
The mobile production unit from NHK is the largest of its kind in the world for recording live events in 8K resolution and consists of entirely cutting-edge equipment, including Sony 8K production swtichers, Lawo audio consoles and several 8K cameras in the FOR-A FT-1, SHK-810 and SHK-8000 series, from the manufacturer Ikegami along with a blend of Canon and Fujinon lenses.
The Ikegami SHK-810 cameras in particular are the newest of their kind on the market and make use of a single 33 million pixel Super 35 CMOS sensor. Additionally, a System Expander allows for large viewfinders and full studio lenses that can convert the portable cameras themselves into full studio/field units.
Furthermore, the FT-1 cameras on the Super Bowl 50 site had on-board recording capacity for easy transmission of slow-motion replay broadcasts in 8K to NHK’s studio and headquarters in Tokyo.
According to Kohei Tabata, from NHK’s engineering department within the Outside Broadcast Engineering Division speaking at the Sunday, February 8th Super Bowl Event, “It’s not over-the-air broadcast yet but will be seen at a live public viewing on a huge 300 inch 8K screen at the NHK headquarters in Tokyo. It is completely sold out, and there will be a second viewing on Monday night.” Thus, the experimental broadcasts were already successfully delivered to their intended and limited audiences as of Monday evening.
This entire overall effort represents a single part of a much larger NHK effort to bring 4K live broadcasting to public audiences in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and to public audiences in a more continuous general sense following that particular event.
NHK is quite possibly the media agency most seriously delving into the 8K future as of today, with multiple experimental video shoots in the Super UHD resolution under its belt already and further planned live 8K broadcasts coming to events such as the Rio Summer Olympics in Brazil in August of this year.
Story by 4k.com