IBC 2014 – Did Interlace Die or Was it Just Wounded?
One of the most interesting topics of conversation at IBC was 4K and HEVC. Find out what it's all about.By Bruce Devlin | 09/23/14
I delivered the last paper of the show in 1988 in Brighton, UK and it was raining. This year the rain was plentiful too and I was up on stage again talking to young people as part of the Rising Stars program. It’s refreshing to talk to people who are new to the industry. It gives you a good perspective on the future:
One of the most interesting topics of conversation was 4K and ultra HD. A young producer, Tim Pool, remarked how it was easy to make UltraHD with mobile technology. The latest Nokia phone has a 4k video camera in it which enables you to shoot and upload to the internet in amazing resolutions with clean progressive pictures and get them displayed on 4k TV sets. So if it’s easy for the amateur, why is it hard for the professional?
Ever wondered why we have progressive cameras that are forced to do interlace that feed compression codecs which are less efficient with interlaced material going into an interlaced transmission system that illuminates a progressive display that is forced to do interlace? Seems a bit weird when you say it out loud.
And that’s what I did. Everyone I talked to at IBC thought it weird that we all just accept interlace and we’re not actively designing it out of our workflows. Instead the buzz at IBC (if there was one) was focussed on 4K and HEVC. Strangely, both of these technologies work best with progressive pictures (and there is no 4K interlaced standard that I know of yet). AmberFin’s HEVC demo showed a lot of people about the effects of interlace on compression and all the 4K imagery at the show was in progressive.
Spookily, one of the most interesting demos was in the new technology area where frame rate changes were shown. Images at 60fps looked so much better than 30fps. 120fps looked even better and 240fps had a lifelike quality that was awesome.
For my money, super-high frame rate HD that is up-converted to 4K will make my man-cave the perfect place to hang out and watch sports. Native 4k resolution movies in my man-cave will be awesome if I can have a Dolby Atmos object based sound system. Unfortunately, my man-cave is still a dream and until that day, AmberFin’s new transcoder farm will have to continue removing interlace from 1080i pictures. Maybe I was a little premature in predicting the death of interlace. I think for now, it is just wounded.