JULIAN MITCHELL reports that for the first time, the multi-award winning stage production of War Horse will be broadcast live in 4K. On February 27th, National Theatre Live (NT Live) will broadcast War Horse live from the New London Theatre to cinemas across the world. The broadcast will be shown in Sony 4K at the Curzon Cinema in Chelsea, the theatre production will be projected using a Sony projector, ensuring cinema-goers enjoy the best possible 4K viewing experience. The recording will be available as a 4K DCP allowing many 4K enabled cinemas to also show encore screenings at a later date.
Creative Broadcast Solutions (CBS), Technical Producer for NT Live, with NEP Visions, NT Live’s long-term OB partner will work with Sony, using Sony’s F55 Super CineAlta cameras equipped with Fujinon Cabrio lenses to capture the performance. NEP Visions will provide the technical infrastructure and expertise to take the 4K content from camera to satellite, as well as recording and broadcasting a simultaneous HD version.
The cameras will feed 4K content into Sony BPU4000 fibre adapters which generate 4K and HD signals simultaneously, the feeds are then sent to a 4K capable vision mixer to create a live mix from the six camera feeds, adding graphics and subtitles (for the HD version only). Pre-recorded supplementary programme materials have been ingested onto a Sony media server to play in. The live mix is passed to the satellite service provider Links Broadcast. The mix feed is recorded on a Sony MasterDeck, both for archive and the creation of a 4K DCP master that will be sent to theatres around the world. NEP Visions will also record 4K ISOs onto two additional Sony MasterDecks for later use. As well as the groundbreaking 4K presentation, NEP Visions will provide a simultaneous live HD feed for distribution by Links Broadcast to over 1000 cinemas worldwide in line with NT Live’s existing programme of broadcasts.
Links Broadcast will provide the satellite uplink and downlink facilities to enable the delivery of the War Horse 4K signal from the New London Theatre in to the Curzon Cinema in Chelsea. The Links Broadcast 4K uplink will operate alongside Links’ HD uplink facility and will enable the encoding of the incoming 4K content. Using four synchronous Adtec EN-100 encoders the incoming signal is combined in to a single transport stream via an Adtec DTA3050 multiplexor for onward transmission via a 1.5m antenna on Links Broadcast’s 4K uplink vehicle.
The 4K signal will be uplinked on to SES Astra’s 3B satellite using 36Mhz of capacity in order to achieve the maximum possible video data rate within the modulated 4K transport stream.
The incoming signal will be downlinked at the Curzon cinema in Chelsea via a 1.8M Links Broadcast receive antenna which will be fed in to Adtec RD70 receiver decoders and will be delivered to Sony’s 4K cinema facility for the projection.
Decoded 4K pictures will be fed directly to Curzon Chelsea’s Sony projector, with four times the detail of 2K or conventional HD television pictures, Sony 4K brings audiences unmatched levels of immersive detail and realism.
About War Horse
Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is the story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man’s Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage, seen by over 4 million people worldwide the broadcast of War Horse will be seen in over 1000 cinemas in more than 30 countries.