Netflix is Giving this Show Away for Free to Make TV Better for All

It might not be the next Daredevil or House of Cards, but Netflix's latest production, called Meridian, might end up having the biggest impact on the world of video streaming. It attempts to do this by virtue of how visually complex it is, combining multiple sources of visual noise such as cigarette smoke, fog, and some film footage for good measure into a single shot of its 60 fps, 4K, HDR footage.

Test Footage
The reason for producing such a complicated bit of footage is to push Netflix's streaming technology to its limit. If you're working to optimize your codecs or streaming technology you might end up simplifying a part of the process that makes the technology unable to deal with a visually complex scene. Having a piece of footage available such as Meridian means that you can very quickly check to see if your technology is up to the task of dealing with the worst case scenario of footage.

Free for All
But better yet is the fact that Netflix is making the footage available under a Creative Commons license, meaning that other streaming companies will be able to use the footage to test their own technologies. Following open-source principles such as this is common in the software industry, but is much less prevalent in Hollywood where studios have maintained a tight grip on their intellectual properties. This has resulted in a relatively small pool of test footage being endlessly reused across the industry.

Netflix is hoping that by sharing this footage it can get companies cooperating more effectively and speed up the adoption of new standards such as Interoperable Master Format (IMF), a standard which greatly simplifies the process of having multiple copies of a film for use in different territories. So while it might not be the next big hit from Netflix, the impact of Meridian might just end up being felt for years to come.

Source: Techradar

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Wired describes the camera as featuring 17 evenly spaced lenses, constructed from about $30,000 worth of off-the-shelf hardware. The camera has three fisheye lenses, one on top of the camera to capture what’s above and two on the bottom of the camera to capture what’s below.

The 360-degree videos are a bridge, says Wired, “to the kind of full-fledged virtual reality Facebook plans on offering through the Oculus Rift.” Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox notes that, “We do not have ambitions of getting into the camera business. But we did observe that there wasn’t really a great reference camera that took really nice, high-resolution, 3D, fully spherical video.”

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The UHD Alliance, a group made up from leading producers, distributors and device makers has defined the Ultra HD Premium brand that requires certain minimum specifications to be met for content production, streaming and replay. The Premium logo is reserved for products and services that comply with performance metrics for resolution, High Dynamic Range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut among others.

The specifications also make recommendations for immersive audio and other features. These advances in resolution, contrast, brightness, color and audio will enable certified displays and content to replicate greater image quality for in-home viewers than simply more resolution.

As the industry starts to set quality standards, camera manufacturers may be pushed towards offering higher-quality 10-bit 4K recording. Premium designation requires 10-bit capture, distribution and playback, meaning cameras must be able to record 10-bit footage to meet the standard.

Currently, many 4K cameras can only capture eight-bit files, limiting dynamic range and flexibility at the color grading stage.

The UHD Alliance supports various display technologies and consequently, have defined combinations of parameters to ensure a premium experience across a wide range of devices. In order to receive the UHD Alliance Premium Logo, the device must meet or exceed the following specifications:

  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: 10-bit signal
  • Color Palette (Wide Color Gamut)
  • Signal Input: BT.2020 color representation
  • Display Reproduction: More than 90% of P3 colors
  • High Dynamic Range
  • A combination of peak brightness and black level either:
    • More than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level
    • More than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level


Any distribution channel delivering the UHD Alliance content must support:
  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

Content Master

The UHD Alliance Content Master must meet the following requirements:
  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

The UHD Alliance recommends the following mastering display specifications:
  • Display Reproduction: Minimum 100% of P3 colors
  • Peak Brightness: More than 1000 nits
  • Black Level: Less than 0.03 nits

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