Century Han Tang Leverages AJA Technology to Streamline 4K HDR Production
February 25, 2021
Based in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, China, Century Han Tang services the local broadcast community as a rental equipment provider and production company. On average, the production outfit creates and delivers more than 100 hours of content per month, a majority of which is programming for China Central Television (CCTV). To ensure the highest quality picture for audiences, Century Han Tang prefers to work in 4K HDR. Even though its workflow varies from project to project, every production harnesses a range of equipment from AJA Video Systems, including the FS-HDR real-time HDR/SDR frame sync and converter; an HDR Image Analyzer HDR waveform, histogram and vectorscope monitoring tool; KUMO 3232-12G and KUMO 6464 routers; and Ki Pro Ultra Plus digital video recorders.
A Swiss Army knife for 4K HDR production, AJA FS-HDR gives Century Han Tang the flexibility required to handle a range of HDR standards and camera formats, and meet each production’s unique needs. For instance, in color and gamut conversion for multi-view monitoring, they often use FS-HDR to down-convert HLG HDR content to the BT.709 color space and adjust the brightness in the BT.709 environment. Century Han Tang also leans on the device to ensure all of its video footage matches the intended color style when capturing multi-cam footage from ARRI AMIRA cameras in ARRI Log C. Working with 16-bit files, the Century Han Tang team uses a color correction and non-linear editing program to create a 33-point 3D LUT, then imports it into the FS-HDR. With the program recorded in 1080p25 and four channels of processing accessible via a single FS-HDR, they can then feed all signals, including the PGM (clean and embedded) and multi-view, through the FS-HDR.
While working on-set for a recent 4K HDR production, Century Han Tang also tapped FS-HDR to assist with monitoring needs. Unable to output a 4K HDR PGM for real-time monitoring on-set given monitor budget limitations, the team used the FS-HDR to down-convert an UltraHD signal to 1080p and convert the color space from HLG BT.2020 to 2.2 Gamma BT.709. After conversion, they used the FS-HDR’s proc amp controls to ensure the image’s look appeared similar to that of HLG HDR's color style for on-set monitoring.
“FS-HDR is our go-to for solving a range of bottlenecks that 4K HDR production introduces, and we love the incredibly low-latency it provides in the conversion process,” shared Nan Ma, CTO, Century Han Tang. “It’s a workhorse that we can depend on for everything, from color space conversion and stylized color adjustment to LUT import and submissions. The configurable embedded audio delay time for each channel is impressive and having four channels of independent processing in one unit proves a huge advantage.”
For greater image consistency across the production chain, Century Han Tang also opts to connect an AJA HDR Image Analyzer to the PGM from its Ki Pro Ultra Plus digital video recorders and output the signal to a 4K monitor. The setup allows its team to control the quality of the signal in real-time and easily configure the light ratio of the LED background and the foreground in the HDR environment. It also supports real-time exposure control with the lighting for the person in the foreground and allows the team to adjust the color range of the whole image. Using HDR Image Analyzer, the team can also add 203 nits white level reference to the WFM and evaluate the luminance of the whole image.
“HDR Image Analyzer is one of the most important tools in our production toolbox. With an intuitive and user-friendly interface, it’s easy to deploy and maintain control over the picture quality we deliver,” added Ma. “With configurable layouts, a robust color and exposure toolset and so much other great functionality, it’s a versatile piece of gear that simplifies our day-to-day, which is a win, given the inherent complexity of 4K HDR production.”
As the demand for high-end production continues to surge alongside growing consumer appetite for 4K HDR content, Century Han Tan expects its AJA gear will only grow more valuable. Ma concluded, “We’re constantly adding AJA gear to our equipment pool and leaning on it for productions because it’s stable, easy to use, and supports nearly every production format imaginable. When you buy AJA gear, you know it’s been tested and verified and will live up to rigorous production demands day in and day out.”
About AJA HDR Image Analyzer 12G
HDR Image Analyzer 12G delivers a comprehensive toolset for the effective analysis of the latest 4K/UltraHD HDR standards, over a single cable with 12G-SDI – including HLG, PQ, Rec.2020 and Rec.709 – for 8K/UltraHD2/4K/UltraHD/2K/HD content in a convenient real time 1RU device. Developed in partnership with Colorfront, AJA HDR Image Analyzer 12G supports a wealth of inputs from camera LOG formats to SDR (REC 709), PQ (ST 2084) and HLG and offers color gamut support for BT.2020 alongside traditional BT.709. AJA hardware prowess ensures high reliability and performance, with four 12G-SDI bidirectional I/O, and DisplayPort connections. Specifically designed to be used anywhere, the 1RU form factor fits into a range of environments, providing the confidence you need for consistent and predictable HDR production and mastering. https://www.aja.com/products/hdr-image-analyzer-12g
About AJA FS-HDR
FS-HDR, a 1RU, rackmount, universal converter/frame synchronizer, is designed specifically to meet the High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) needs of broadcast, OTT, production, post and live event AV environments, where real time, low latency processing and color fidelity is required for 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD workflows. Developed in partnership with Colorfront, the FS-HDR’s HDR/WCG functionality is powered by Colorfront Engine™ proprietary video processing algorithms. FS-HDR also serves as a full, single-channel up, down, cross-converter for 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD HDR transformation, conversion and frame sync needs and in four-channel mode, offers four independent channels of 2K/HD conversion including HDR transformations. https://www.aja.com/products/fs-hdr
About AJA Video Systems, Inc.
Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional, broadcast and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.