Unitel, the world’s largest production company specialised in classical music, wants to make Ultra HD the standard for its recordings of concerts, operas and theatre plays.
“We would like to produce everything in Ultra HD,” Unitel’s managing director Ernst Buchrucker told Broadband TV News. “The workflow is in place on our side. It’s not much more complex than an HD production.” Whether a production will be shot in the new format also depends, of course, on the partners and their infrastructures, he added.
This year, the company founded by producer and distributor Jan Mojto plans at least eight Ultra HD productions. Unitel gained the first experiences with the new resolution in June 2014 with the recording of a Max Raabe concert in Berlin and in October 2014 at a concert of the Vienna State Opera during which a live transmission was tested.
In 2015, the Munich-based company recorded, for example, a performance of the opera Aida in the Scala in Milan in Ultra HD. Classica, the pay-TV channel for classical music lovers operated by Unitel, and Austrian broadcaster Servus TV screened the production in HD format. Further Ultra HD productions were three piano concerts with Mozart compositions by the Dresden State Orchestra which ARTE will show in HD resolution in 2016, and Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro from the Salzburg Festival in July 2015 which Servus TV transmitted live in HD format.
The first live broadcast of Ultra HD footage took place in May 2015: Unitel transmitted a performance of the opera Der Freischütz in the Dresden Semperoper to a cinema audience in Dresden.
Despite Unitel being technically ready for TV live broadcasts in Ultra HD, Buchrucker expects TV channels to initially offer the programmes on-demand as this makes it easier for viewers to receive them with their existing technical equipment. Unitel has already supplied Ultra HD productions to platform operators in Japan and Korea. The company’s music channel Classica also offers Ultra HD content on demand, as does Dutch music channel Brava. “Ultra HD will certainly provide a strong boost to the on-demand world,” Buchrucker is certain.