HDR: Seeing is believing

High Dynamic Range (HDR) refers to high brightness display technology that utilizes the progress made in camera technology, allowing video to be captured with rich colors in both dark and light areas, which in turn produces video with higher contrast than ever possible before.

HDR can produce startling images. Images of such high quality and solidity that you feel as if you are seeing the scene with your own eyes. With HDR, seeing truly is believing. Sony developed this technology for two reasons: in response to filmmakers, whose strong desire to express themselves through this new technology is increasing rapidly, and because, until recently, there was no master monitor on the market that could provide an accurate HDR display. The master monitor is a standard device that always produces the same image, wherever you are. It also measures final quality control, making it an indispensable item for filmmakers. For almost 40 years, Sony\’s master monitors have been highly regarded among filmmakers as the go-to product. From Trinitron CRT through OLED, and more recently by creating standard devices compatible with High Dynamic Range, we have constantly evolved our technology to meet the high standards customers have come to expect from Sony.

Developing the new BVM-X300 Monitor: "A monitor like a mirror"

The first of the TRIMASTER EL monitors arrived back in 2011. The fundamental principles of this award-winning series have always been accurate colors, precise pictures, and extraordinary reliability. With a technology philosophy based on these three key principles, Sony began development of its OLED display panel \”Super Top Emission\”. Feedback from customers is always a principal driver for new developments at Sony. The development of the BVM-X300 was no different, and the wish-list from our customers for an HD OLED master monitor included \”recreate the real image perfectly\” and \”a monitor like a mirror.\” The goal was to perfect a display that \”added nothing, took nothing away, and showed the input signal exactly.\” There were a mountain of challenges to overcome, from enlarging the OLED display to 30 inches and increasing resolution to 4096 x 2160 through making the display drive up to 60 Hz and including Digital Cinema-spec Color Space (DCI-P3). As well as aiming to achieve the fullest possible compliance with next generation broadcast and filmmaking regulations such as ITU-R BT.2020, there was also a commitment to design an HDR display with notably high brightness, thanks to an EOTF (Electro-Optical Transfer Function), that would support S-Log 3 and SMPTE ST20842 (supported from ver.1.1).

Sony's OLED display technology explained

Sony’s OLED displays comprises a TFT (Thin Film Transistor) layer that drives each pixel, a layer of glass, and an electrode/light emitting layer sandwiched between the two. The main difference to a liquid crystal display is that no backlight is needed, since the device itself can produce light. Due to this key difference from liquid crystal displays, when a “black” signal is sent, a “true black” can be shown. Even dark colors can be reproduced accurately. Moreover, the reaction speed when the input signal level changes is far quicker, meaning the moving images are comparable to conventional CRT displays.

Display construction cross section

Reproduction of brightness versus input signal

Response speed diagram and video feature image

Range of color reproduction versus input signal

Improved color space and product lifetime

In order to maximize light emission a “top emission” construction is employed on the TRIMASTER EL, whereby the light emitting layer does not emit light to the TFT layer, but only to the glass layer. This construction not only reduces energy use, but also makes it easier to produce high brightness, lengthens the product’s lifetime, and limits the burning phenomenon. Moreover, by employing both a micro-cavity construction that achieves both high brightness and a wide color space and a color filter (CF) with the glass layer, the OLED display has a remarkably improved color space. By utilizing this wide color space technology, the green OLED in the HD display was improved and the design target contained in the DCI-P3 digital cinema standard was met. In addition to addressing the color space specifications of the next generation broadcasting standard (ITU-R BT.2020), the UHD display also supports Sony’s own S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3 Cine standards, which greatly exceed print film color space and accurately reproduce colors. The UHD display also complies with the previous ITU-R BT.709, EBU, and SMPT-C broadcasting standards and can be used for a range of applications in broadcasting and filmmaking, such as monitoring.

Advantages of micro-cavity structure and color filters

Color gamuts of BVM-X300

4K OLED Master Monitor

OLEDs are light-emitting devices that can display \”true black.\” Because the brightness of each pixel can be controlled, they give extremely high contrast, and are an excellent match for High Dynamic Range. Achieving HDR on OLED was a technological challenge with many obstacles to be overcome, one by one, by Sony\’s Scientific and Technical Academy Award® winning Research and Development engineers. Thanks to their work and the input of our customers, it is now possible to express new creative content more richly than ever before, with a display that can show light and dark images with no crushed shadows or clipped whites in a way that previous monitors could not achieve. However, the creative content industry does not stand still, and neither does Sony. Continuing to work alongside our customers, we to look forward to the new challenges in the world of filmmaking.

Contact your Sony Professional Solutions Specialist to find out more