Content Comes to Life at NAB 2015

Just wrapped up a whirlwind week at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas. If you are not familiar with the show it’s a massive annual gathering of professional content creators and the people who make the tools they use from cameras to displays to distribution networks. It was my first time attending and I was shocked to learn it’s nearly as large as CES with around 100,000 visitors squeezed into all three halls of the venerable Las Vegas Convention Center.

The show’s slogan is “where content comes to life” and I certainly found that to be the case. High Dynamic Range and wide color gamut were hot topics here. Nearly every booth I visited featured incredible new tools and workflows that are making it easy for creators to make optimized HDR content. This is a great sign that content creators are in sync with TV makers like Samsung who are already starting to put HDR-ready sets on the market. As a result, we should start to see lots of optimized content that takes advantage of all these new TVs can deliver.

These were a few of my favorite demos that highlighted HDR and wide color gamut from the show:

ARRI Alexa and Samsung SUHD Make a killer combo

Images captured on the ARRI’s latest Alexa SXT cameras looked stunning on Samsung’s Quantum Dot-enhanced SUHD TVs at the ARRI booth at NAB 2015

It was really cool to see ARRI, who make some of the world's best movie cameras, showing off what their amazing cameras can do on Samsung SUHD Quantum Dot TVs. The SUHDs are among the few commercially available TVs that can actually show off much the rich color and dynamic range that the ARRI Alexa camera captures.

I thought these TVs looked fantastic at their CES debut but here, with content from the Alexa which captures 14 f-stops of dynamic range and the rec.2020 color gamut, it was an entirely different level of experience.

Out of gamut

Eizo’s ColorEdge reference monitors have an out of gamut warning feature turns colors that fall outside of rec.709 grey.

Another of my favorite demos from the show was Eizo’s hardware “out-of-gamut color” warning feature. This is a hardware mode in their ColorEdge monitors that highlights out-of-gamut colors on screen by turning them grey. They told me the content on display here was shot in rec.2020 (UHD broadcast) and the warning was set for rec.709 (HD broadcast). It was a great demo of the value of wide color gamut displays and surprising to see that even relatively commonplace colors like the red of a boxing glove could not accurately be reproduced in rec.709.


Finally, Dolby had some big progress updates on their Dolby Vision format, which promises to bring content with HDR and wide color gamut into our living rooms. We learned that Vizio will be the first TV maker to ship Dolby Vision-enhanced sets when they debut their new 65” and 120” Full-Array UHD Reference Series TVs later this year. There will also be some content to watch on that new Vizio– the 2014 Tom Cruise action pic “Edge of Tomorrow” was announced as the first movie to be streamed in Dolby Vision on Vudu. And, of course, all of this content looked great on the second generation 32” Dolby PRM Quantum Dot reference monitors on display at their booth.