Most modern computer and video HD displays conform to sRGB or Rec. 709, which as we know are similar for all practical purposes. There are billions of displays all over the world designed for these color spaces.
Why on earth do we need a new one?
What is Rec. 2020?
Rec. 2020 is the designated color space for ultra high definition TV, or UHDTV, in both its variants: 4K and 8K. It gets its name from the standards classification: ITU-R Recommendation BT.2020. Rec stands for ‘recommendation’.
Before I proceed, it is important to understand that Rec. 2020 (or Rec. 709 for that matter) isn’t the name for the color space. Rec. 2020 represents the full range of specifications under UHDTV, while Rec. 709 represents the full range of specifications under HDTV.
However, because no official name is given to the color spaces under these standards, we refer to them as Rec. 709 or Rec. 2020 color spaces. It often leads to confusion though. When I use these terms, I only refer to them as color spaces.
How does it compare to other color spaces?
Rec. 2020 is ultimately designed for television, and not cinema. Therefore, it is to be expected that its properties must behave according to current signal processing standards. In this respect, its foundation is based on current HD and SD video signal characteristics.
As far as color bit depth is concerned, it allows for a maximum of 12 bits, which as we know is more than enough for humans.
The bigger triangle is Rec. 2020, while the smaller one is Rec. 709. Clearly, there’s a huge difference. They share the similar D65 white point.
So, how does it compare to other color spaces? Check out the table below:
|Standard||Percentage of CIE 1931|
Modern professional grade computer displays are capable of reaching Adobe RGB, which is similar to what Digital Cinema does, too. UHDTV, on the other hand, is a whole new ball game. It goes beyond what anyone has ever experienced (except in real life!).
In most likelihood, the engineers at NHK thankfully considered that at 8K the wow-factor can only be sustained with zero compromise in color. 12-bit Rec. 2020 is probably as good as it can get.
Some might want a theoretical color space wider than what the human eye can see. Then again, humans are known to make crazy wishes. Rec. 2020 is an ‘on-the-field’ color space, meant for cameras, displays, delivery and distribution. Wide gamut spaces are good for algorithms crunching numbers, but totally unnecessary in the real world.
The true implementation of Rec. 2020 will be a huge challenge. The question you need to ask is, what if we get there? If the engineers can deliver the NHK promise, how cool will that be?
Do you see yourself shooting in Rec. 2020 in the near future?