Working with 8K video will be easier and more accessible than ever thanks to collaboration between RED Digital Cinema and NVIDIA revealed last night during an industry event at the historic Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.
In front of leaders from Adobe, Colorfront, HP and others, RED and NVIDIA announced an NVIDIA CUDA-accelerated REDCODE RAW decode SDK that gives software developers and studios a powerful new way to work with 8K video.
“Our mission is to bring cinema-grade images and performance to content creators everywhere,” said Jarred Land, president of RED Digital Cinema. “RED, NVIDIA and our industry partners are leveling the playing field, making the technology for high-resolution processing and image quality accessible to everyone.”
While consumers are snapping up millions of 4K TVs each month and Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others are streaming a growing tsunami of content in the format, 8K is becoming the new frontier in video with 100,000 8K TVs hitting the market this year.
But 8K’s real importance to video editors today is making 4K post-production more flexible. “Overshooting” resolution lets creators do more with their footage such as stabilize, pan, crop and zoom in on the best parts of a shot. Compositors can benefit from more precise masks for keying and image tracking.
Just downsampling from 8K to 4K reduces artifacts, such as noise, and produces higher quality visuals. The fact 8K is exactly four times the size of 4K makes the operation much simpler.
Yet, as 8K production has increased, the need for massive CPU processing power or single-purpose hardware like the RED ROCKET-X puts it beyond reach for most content creators. That’s changing.
Opening the Door to 8K Editing
Earlier this year, NVIDIA and RED announced an initiative to accelerate 8K video processing by offloading the compute-intensive decoding and debayering of REDCODE RAW footage onto a single NVIDIA GPU.
At last night’s event, these real-time, 24+ frames per second capabilities were demonstrated running on an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 GPU to play back, edit and color-grade RAW 8K footage on a system with a single-CPU HP Z4 Workstation — eliminating the need for either a $6,750 RED ROCKET-X or a $20,000 dual-processor workstation.
NVIDIA GPUs are the only solutions capable of playing RED MONSTRO’s 8192×4320 frames at 24 FPS with no pre-caching or proxy generation. The GPU is processing every frame as it needs it, so jumping around the timeline is quick and responsive, and scrubbing is smooth.
And the acceleration isn’t limited to 8K — the new SDK runs across a variety of legacy GeForce, TITAN and Quadro desktop and notebook GPUs, benefiting 4K, 5K and 6K workflows as well.
Colorfront, a pioneer in 8K workflows, was also on-hand to demonstrate faster-than-realtime RAW processing and 8K playback in HDR.
“Colorfront has been shipping 8K-capable systems for several years now and we are delighted to join with RED and NVIDIA and other industry leaders to celebrate a faster, more streamlined future for 8K,” said Colorfront managing director Aron Jaszberenyi. “With the new RED SDK allowing wavelet decompression on NVIDIA GPUs, Colorfront can do all the RAW processing in GPU and output 8K video (up to 60p) using AJA Kona5 video cards. With this latest advance – faster-than-realtime Debayer and decompression of 8K RAW footage, with simultaneous display of the 8K image on an 8K HDR monitor – Colorfront and our partners have achieved a significant milestone.”
Filmmakers and content creators are excited about the advances taking place.
“A few years ago, things like real-time playback or real-time encoding when exporting footage was not even possible,” said Director and Cinematographer Phil Holland. “As GPUs advanced further, this has empowered content creators to receive these performance gains in much more modest systems. Working in native raw formats, real-time effects, significantly faster exports, as well as much faster in application playback have all been huge time savers as digital cinema cameras advanced from 4K to 5K, to 6K, to 8K and likely beyond.”
Released RED R3D SDK and REDCINE-X PRO software are planned to be available at the end Q1 2019. Beta versions of the SDK have been made available to major third parties to support integration. Stay tuned for more details on REDCINE-X PRO beta.
Watch the presentation at the Linwood Dunn Theater: