Sony is developing a workflow for the post-production community that will allow it to view and manipulate images that are four times the resolution of HD.

The technology is based on a high-performance microprocessor which powers the Playstation 3.

The Cell Computing Unit, comprising the graphics card and microprocessor from the Playstation 3 are now being optimised for professional applications and have been demonstrated to high-end post houses in Soho and Hollywood.

Sony claims its technology can process, decode and animate over 150 streams of MPEG-2 video in real time. It has also demonstrated a basic colour correction application for real-time 4K grading.

Demand for 4K imaging is fuelled by applications in feature film, 3D stereoscopic content and large-screen public viewing.

“Post-producers can work with 4K images now but only by using massive render farms, huge power consumption and a lot of time,” said Sony Europe director of marketing David Bush. “Cell Computing excites post producers because it solves those issues.”

Bush adds: “We do not intend to develop software applications ourselves but the next stage is to work with third parties to develop software products for high-end post including editing, compositing and grading.”

Developers approached so far include Mental Image, maker of rendering technology Mental Ray, and Side Effects Software.

One application which Sony has its eye on is the projection of multiple 4K feeds, stitched together to form one giant image over several large screens for the public viewing of live events. This could be introduced in time for the 2010 World Cup.