Lorient, France − Envivio, Images & Réseaux, Orange, SeaEvents, TDF, Technicolor and Thomson Video Networks put their talents together to televise the French leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lorient to the general public and professionals in ultra high definition high dynamic range (HDR) video and 3D audio. This test of image quality from capture to distribution allows these Breton players to remain at the forefront of innovation.

This world premiere of an offline UHD HDR broadcast at 50 frames per second on existing networks is visible at the race village in Lorient, in the Brittany region of France. It relies on cutting edge technologies (UHD, HEVC, and DVB- T2) to optimize image quality and throughput on a complete chain of capture. UHD cameras and Ambisonic microphones allow video streams in standard UHD HDR and HFR (high frame rate) along with spatial sound. Post-processing, optimization of flow and compression standards also represent a technological advance.

The film, presented at the exhibition in Brittany, was shot by SeaEvents with the support of the Orange Labs teams. It takes into account the most advanced technologies, including binaural sound that enables immersive 3D rendering, and HDR which improves the video quality experience by displaying a greater number of light intensity levels in one image. At the exhibition there is also a demonstration of the same footage, presented in 4K UHD, to call attention to the contribution made by HDR, particularly for low-light filmed images. The use of high frame rate (HFR) technology, shooting 50 frames per second, makes fast traveling camera movements appear more fluid.

After shooting and editing the film, the images were received by Technicolor, which carried out the color calibration in HDR mode, followed by a specific treatment to improve the encoding performance and ensure compatibility with all content screens, HDR or not. Then the images were compressed with HEVC encoders from Envivio and Thomson Video Networks before being multiplexed with 3D sound, which went through a software binauralisation at Orange Labs, to finally be transported over existing broadcast networks and disseminated via the latest HDR 4K set-top box from Technicolor.

As part of this experiment Images & Réseaux played the role as a catalyst to bring local technology providers together to innovate.

“With this demonstration of the use of 4K for the Volvo Ocean Race, TDF enriches its mastery of the UHD broadcast on DTT platform. With this ramp-up of UHD production, TDF is proud to advance this technology by disseminating such content to the viewers,” said Alain Komly, managing director of the audiovisual division.