Wimbledon: Japan's NHK Testing 8K Production Of Tennis Matches With 'Tomorrowland' Camera

Plans are to produce two matches per day from Wimbledon's No. 1 Court.
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Japan public broadcaster NHK is testing production for its 'Super Hi-Vision' 8K resolution system – a whopping 16 times the resolution of HD – during this year's Wimbledon tournament.

That includes a trial run with Sony's top of the line F65 4K camera, a model more widely known in feature film circles, where it has been used for titles including Warner Bros.' Oblivion and most recently Disney's Tomorrowland. At Wimbledon, NHK is using the Sony camera in 4K and upconverting the images to 8K using a specially-designed Sony processor.

In partnership with the All England Lawn Tennis Club, NHK intends to produce two matches per day from Wimbledon's No. 1 Court. For demonstration purposes, these can be viewed in Super H-Vision by broadcasters in a tent at the event's Broadcast Center. The muticamera production is using four cameras: Two are Ikegami SHV8000 Super Hi-Vision cameras, one is a FOR-A FT-1 with an Astrodesign upconverter, and one is the Sony F65.

Japan's government and NHK are leading an effort to bring Super Hi-Vision – which combines 8K with a 22.2 surround sound system and a high frame rate of 60 frames per second – to Japan. Plans are to start some satellite 8K broadcasting, beginning next June with the Rio Olympics. The intent is to have Super Hi-Vision ready for wide use in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

For further 8K testing of sports, NHK plans to shoot several MLB Yankee games in the fall, as well as next year's Super Bowl. It's also ramping up to provide 8K content such as dramas and documentaries.

Most recently, NHK tested live 8K broadcasting from the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, which was transmitted to sites in Los Angeles, New York and Japan.

In much of the world there's more attention on 4K, which is four times the resolution of HD. But the U.S. over-the-air broadcast standard, for instance, doesn't support 4K or 8K – and that's not likely to change, at least in the near future. U.S. broadcasters who are examining 8K are currently considering it for uses such as blow-ups, reframing or slow motion replays for sports production.

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