SVG Europe Sit-Down: FOR-A UK’s Peter Hattan with thoughts on 12G, 8K and IBC 2018

Peter Hattan, general manager of FOR-A UK

Founded in 1971, FOR-A’s first product was a video timer, but since those early days the technology portfolio has expanded and now includes HD, 4K/UHD, 8K and 12G production processing solutions, HDR/WCG and IP-based products. Our Sit Down with Peter Hattan, general manager of FOR-A UK, started with a look ahead to Amsterdam…

What can we expect from FOR-A at IBC 2018?

There will be a full line-up of 12G products, including vision mixer HVS-6000, HVS-1200, routing switcher MFR-4000, multi viewer MV-4300, multi-purpose signal processor FA-9600, modular products DA, MUX, IP/SDI converter, UP/DOWN converter, frame rate converter FRC-9000, MCC-4K, and ultra-slow motion 2/3 inch Camera FT-ONE-SS4K. Also on show will be our Baseband and IP Hybrid System with Orchestration software, the Live Production system with vision mixer/ClassX CG/Envivo instant replay and the Remote Production system including a vision mixer and IP Codec

Can you tell us your current thinking with regard to 12G products?

FOR-A strongly believes 12G is currently the right choice for sports, concerts and corporate events, and 4K productions, due to its reliability, ease of operation and industry standard interfacing. FOR-A is also developing a range of IP products, for encoding and distribution. We believe that 12G-SDI and IP each have their own advantages, it is important to FOR-A, that solutions are offered to production, that take advantage of each offering as appropriate to the user’s situation/purpose/requirements. Through a mixed hybrid system, customers can take advantage of both 12G and IP where appropriate, and to this end FOR-A produces IP/SDI Gateway solutions.

Are you looking at a move forward into 8K?

Yes, although on a limited basis. We have the High-Speed Camera – with a maximum of 500 fps, Realtime CG solution in co-operation with Brainstorm Multimedia. We also have frame synchroniser, colour corrector, test signal generator and routing switchers in 8K. We believe it is best to have the highest resolution image archivable at acquisition, for re-purposing and/or data-sharing purposes.

Has the transition to IP been as you anticipated – and what is the next stage in that direction?

Actually, it has been a little slower than we anticipated, we feel it will accelerate next year once the necessary standards are fully ratified. Baseband SDI system still offers practical advantages over IP in live production. 

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are now ‘must have’ parts of sports production. How does FOR-A meet these needs?

FOR-A has worldwide business partnerships with Brainstorm Multimedia and ClassX in this area. We co-develop system packages to integrate CG solutions with FOR-A’s vision mixers, through specific product developments such as the Thunderbolt interface card and video cards. We have development and support teams for these systems as well as creative production teams offering CG content creation.

What do you see as your biggest challenges for the next twelve months?

To complete our 12G product portfolio, thus fulfilling our customer’s 12G system requirements, provide IP Interfaces and remote-control capability – via standard protocols – for our 12G products for easy systems integration. In addition, we intend to develop IP interfaces for our existing 3G/HD products.

Do you have a sports-related case study you can share?

In Japanese professional baseball FOR-A has experience delivering display systems for stadiums. The system consists of the HVS-2000 vision mixer, multi viewers, signal processors and graphics solutions. The most distinguishing part of the system being the integrated control, delivered by FOR-A’s GearLink software solution that enables touch panel operation of all products adopted within the system, including integration of other manufacturers’ products. The software enables customers to create their own GUI with the GearLink software to simplify user operation.

Another example/ is FOR-A’s ultra slow motion 4K camera, the FT-ONE, being used during live professional football matches. The FT-ONE is perfect for replays of live match coverage. It shoots decisive scenes at high frame rates to provide high resolution ultra-slow-motion replays, enhancing viewers experience and enjoyment of the game. The FT-ONE also provides a live camera output to production. 

Through the ZE-ONE (zoom extractor), a specific area within the 4K image may be zoomed and extracted to HD, another example of our products use case in live sports production.

FOR-A’s real time CG synthesising products developed with Brainstorm Multimedia’s software have been used for baseball, golf, tennis, swimming, horse racing, bicycle race, skiing, and so on. All good illustrations of FOR-A in cooperation with Brainstorm Multimedia.

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