When questioning Maryline Clare-Charrier about the TV of the future, she said that the TV of tomorrow will not only be a screen on which you watch a programme, but a window. A window that can transport the viewer to the heart of a football stadium, the stands of a tennis court or inside a theatre because “the detail is rendered almost as good as our eyes would see it if we were there. Sometimes better, since you can zoom in”.
A new quality viewing experience
“The issue, says Maryline Clare-Charrier, is to provide our customers with a much better new audio-visual experience quality.” This specialist in image and digital video, who joined Orange in 2005, devoted part of her career to identifying and evaluating technologies that improve the quality of images and digital television.
Among the highlights of her career are six months in Sydney, at the time when she worked at Canon (where she stayed for more than 10 years) on the coding of digital images; her role as Head of the French delegation for the JPEG2000 standard and in 2009 the release of the first live 3D opera, Don Giovanni. “When the director of the Rennes Opera came to us, we began to define a project and were prepared to work with external partners on the evaluation of Live technologies for 3D TV, she recalls. The Don Giovanni operation was really very rewarding. It allowed me to meet professionals in the audio-visual world: directors, vision engineers, all those behind the cameras.” Then the direction of three successive collaborative projects also strongly mark her career, including at major events in which she worked with engineers and technicians to test technologies being studied (“The Damnation of Faust” in the Bastille opera, the Roland-Garros tournament, etc.)
Project manager for 3DLive (articulated around 3D live production and broadcast) and 4EVER (for Enhanced Video ExpeRience), Maryline Clare-Charrier is now responsible for the 4EVER-2 programme, which focuses on the future UHD TV format (Ultra High Definition) version 2 (not just more pixels, but also better contrast, better colour and better movements) with a focus on live TV, particularly live coverage of sports and cultural events. Part of her work involves measuring the perceived quality (user satisfaction in relation to this new format) and to assess the maturity of the technology both in terms of production, distribution and reception.
4EVER-2 is a collaborative project, part funded by the state and local communities, which includes nine French academic and industrial partners. “This collaborative mode offers many advantages: it allows us to rely on highly innovative SMEs, such as ATEME, HTS or TeamCast, says Maryline. It is difficult for SMEs to engage significant research resources into this type of project. With support from the government, they can be launched and us, we can rely on their technical expertise to advance.”
Other partners, France Télévisions or AMP VISUAL TV offer their experience in television and live filming, while the academics, INSA Rennes and ParisTech, contribute to research in video decoding (HEVC standard “High Efficiency Video Coding”) and GlobeCast provides its broadcast capabilities. Major manufacturers of screens or cameras regularly offer the consortium their prototypes for evaluation purposes. Each partner brings something to the project, all working under the responsibility of Maryline who “coordinates the technical and human resources and ensures that things can be done.” The project manager is delighted: “Everyone works together, we make super interesting stuff and it is progressing well”.
A prize won in April 2016 in the NAB Show, the largest international trade show dedicated to television techniques, also crowned this wonderful teamwork. Awarded for the first time to the French, the “Technology Innovation Award”, rewarded the 4EVER-2 consortium for its work on the UHD Phase 2 and its involvement in the standardisation of this format that could revolutionise the way we watch television.