Sony announced in November that it worked with the Centro Televisivo Vaticano (CTV – Vatican Television Centre) and other technology partners again to support the live worldwide production and broadcast in 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) of the Ceremony of the Closing of the Holy Door by his Holiness Pope Francis. This brought the “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” opened on December 8th, 2015 to a close. With these technologies and the latest generation of TV sets, Sony brought stunning, fully-immersive viewing experiences into homes worldwide, engaging viewers at an emotional level never seen before.
Sony’s technologies were at the heart of the technical infrastructure set up for the broadcast of the two ceremonies. CTV utilized 12 units of Sony’s latest 4K HDR cameras alongside its HDR S-Log3 system for the live production as part of its end-to-end 4K HDR live system. The workflow provided a simultaneous feed in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) with Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) and in High Definition (HD) with SDR. The S-Log3 dynamic range curve can master content with more advanced information both in terms of dynamics and chromatic range, ensuring full, real-time compatibility with all broadcast platforms currently used by the Vatican.
The recent November broadcast utilized the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) profile for delivery, an HDR standard approved in July by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which was used in the pioneering broadcasting test carried out during the Opening of the Holy Door on December 8, 2015.
Sony’s Technologies used for the Broadcast
12 HDC-4300 cameras from Sony were deployed by CTV to capture the live events. The 2/3" 4K imaging system provides excellent picture quality, superb dynamic range and low light performance - a critical element for indoor image capture.
The live production workflow was supported with Sony’s MVS-7000X production switcher and the PWS-4400 replay server system. Powerful features of the MVS-7000X include up to 6ME operation with up to 8 high-performance keyers per full ME bus, 8 format conversion channels with frame synchronization support and two channels of multi-viewer output. The PWS-4400 replay server system is one of the key elements of Sony’s 4K/HD live production system. With the capability to record images in Sony’s highly-efficient XAVC recording format, flexible I/O configurations, High Frame Rate (HFR) recording capability and intuitive user interface, it can create exceptional slow motion replays in both 4K and HD infrastructures.
"For the first time ever in history, we see live television broadcast of Papal ceremonies in Ultra High Definition with High Dynamic Range, which ensures the highest quality of images available today," said Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications for the Holy See. “This is a state-of-the-art set up that reflects Pope Francis’ aim to keep up to speed with the rapid developments in global technology, to support the Catholic’s Church communication mission.”
"A live production workflow called "SR Live for HDR" was used at this historic event," said Peter Sykes, Strategic Technology Development Manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. "The production infrastructure is based on Sony's S-Log3 transfer function for simultaneous creation of 4K HDR and HD SDR pictures of the highest quality."
"We continue to work closely with CTV to develop and provide technology that supports its mission to capture all activities of the Pope and the Holy See, through immersive images that have the highest emotional impact possible. This is the first live POC (proof of concept) 4K HDR S-Log3 production by CTV, showing how a single production line can support distribution of multi-format broadcasts,” said Benito Manlio Mari, Country Sales Manager, Sony Europe.
Additional background information
Distribution of the UHD format took place through Eutelsat’s HOTBIRD satellites, making the broadcast directly available to all users with 4K1 compatible equipment on Channel 200 of the Tivùsat free satellite platform. Globecast used an innovative satellite SNG van to Uplink the UHD signal produced by CTV using the new HEVC compression format. Ericsson, NTT Electronics and Vislink provided advanced coding and decoding equipment for HEVC Ultra HD signals.
Images of the Closing of the Holy Door were broadcasted live in the Paolo VI Auditorium at the Vatican where they were seen in UHD SDR side by side with UHD HDR. The signal also reached the Republic of San Marino by satellite where it was routed over the fibre optic network to the Kursaal Congress Centre for live UHD viewing. The event inaugurated the first segment of San Marino’s FTTH fibre optic network, which during 2017, will bring ultra-high-speed internet to 80% of the 24,000 households in San Marino over the electricity metre.
For more information on workflow proposals for 4K HDR and HD SDR simultaneous Live Production, download Sony’s What’s "SR Live for HDR" whitepaper.