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1080 vs. 4K: What is REALLY necessary?


jasonmillard81
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I would like to flip the earlier question and ask for an example from the NX1/NX500 that looks better. I've had both those cameras and imo they can't touch a bmcc/bmpcc/5d.

Also "camera moves" in post does not look good. I get it if you are shooting an interview alone and didn't have time for B-roll. But you could do that within HD if you really needed to. It should be an emergency tool, not sop.

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I'd like to congratulate Zach on for once not writing an unnecessarily long and baffling post :)

 

Zooming in post feels different to using a dolly and feels different to zooming with a lens. Sometimes you see all three techniques used in a single film or TV episode. Each one has a different emotional effect and one can't be used to replace another. 

 

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I shoot UHD on my A7s / Shogun and XC10 in order to get superior detail HD output. The lower compression helps a lot (much more than 8bit vs 10 bit) and having the ability to crop in is useful for using warp stabiliser and re-framing without quality loss. So yes UHD is really necessary for me. Colour is another matter but can't see it being relevant to HD vs UHD.

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Your avarage Joe wathing tv will notice if the camera is shakey and if he can't hear what the people are saying...thats pretty much it.

Your wannabe DP Joe will notice a bad grade, missed focus, blownout/underexposed areas and aliasing/moire on striped shirts.

No one will be able to tell you the resolution used. But what you are doing here is something else...you cannot compare cinema cameras to toy cameras. We do get an impressive image out of toy cameras, something and avarage DP could have only dreamed about 6-8 years ago, but comparing a 4k 8bit image to 2k raw, 1080p 444...even specs thrown asaide, just look at an f3, alexa, bmcc and then some consumer 4k. A good 1080p camera resolves far more detail that a consumer 4k. Considering DR, 11 stops is plenty...most cameras nowadays do that, even toy cameras. If you can't work with that, well....get another job. Motion and a decent codec is something(which might all be the same) is something that toy cameras still lack. 

You might notice what the talk was about on forums like this one in the years since dslr video.

first everybody wanted shallow dof-Dslrs solwed that.

then we wanted more resolution-4k solved that.

then we wanted more DR-here comes Log.

then it came down to colors-here, have davinci resolve for free, now everybody is a colorist(like back in the day, you had photoshop and you were a graphic designer).

And now the hype is about motion cadence, which comes with raw or a strong codec. Ok, we have had raw for a while now, but not everybody is willing to "hack" their canon for professional use and not everybody is willing to shoot with a BM camera. Eventualy toy cameras will be given that as well, but not before cinema cameras have it alot better.

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Anytime I hear someone say "We'll shoot it in 4k, then we can reframe!" I just cringe. I've had to edit stuff made by people who swore by reframing and it's just horrible (because they are usually really bad at filming).

Zooming into an image is not bad in itself, but when people think you can just do that all the time (we can shoot wide, no need for closeups, it's 4k!) then ... you are creating horrible problems for the edit and some of those problems will be other issues (because you can't grasp how to shoot something to make it look nice).

I just edited a commercial shot in 4k with an a7s and an external recorder. They had a previous video that was a benchmark but in the end, the 4k version looked worse than the HD version from years back from another shooter because he didn't shoot 4k and "crop in" but he actually shot all the closeups, pickups and inserts properly. In HD. Like a real cameraman. And the color looked good.

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13 minutes ago, jagnje said:

then we wanted more resolution-4k solved that.

then we wanted more DR-here comes Log.

Imo it was about the DR before 4K. And before HD. And before SD. And before Beta Max. And before colored film.
Its always been the biggest focus on DR, still is and still will be tomorrow.
DR has been the buzz word for as long as I can remember.

4K resolution is just like a slider, a flash, an EVF, 120fps, its just another feature. Until it becomes a standard.
720p took 10 years to become a standard, not in the world, but in a big enough part of the world.
Now we are waiting on 1080p HD to become the next thing. After that maybe 4K will catch on so much that its a "need" instead of a "nice".


But if it doesn't have the DR its not gonna stick. 50% of the Oscar nominees are still shot on film. And it isn't because of resolution.
 

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4 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

I would like to flip the earlier question and ask for an example from the NX1/NX500 that looks better. I've had both those cameras and imo they can't touch a bmcc/bmpcc/5d.

This. 

@Sekhar  Show me nx500 footage that looks as good as bmmcc... if you're really saying these two cameras have a similar image I don't know what to say, I can only assume you are trolling.

Mattias is always pretty on-point (imo) and his tests and footage with many different cameras speaks volumes.

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36 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

Imo it was about the DR before 4K. And before HD. And before SD. And before Beta Max. And before colored film.
Its always been the biggest focus on DR, still is and still will be tomorrow.
DR has been the buzz word for as long as I can remember.

4K resolution is just like a slider, a flash, an EVF, 120fps, its just another feature. Until it becomes a standard.
720p took 10 years to become a standard, not in the world, but in a big enough part of the world.
Now we are waiting on 1080p HD to become the next thing. After that maybe 4K will catch on so much that its a "need" instead of a "nice".


But if it doesn't have the DR its not gonna stick. 50% of the Oscar nominees are still shot on film. And it isn't because of resolution.
 

I was talking about the avarage reader of forums like this. I bet 90% of them/us would take 4k with decent DR over great DR, just because of the 4k badge on it. If this was not the case eveyone would shoot BMPCC instead of gh4/g7/nx1/nx500...etc. 

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5 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

Also "camera moves" in post does not look good. I get it if you are shooting an interview alone and didn't have time for B-roll. But you could do that within HD if you really needed to. It should be an emergency tool, not sop.

Indeed, if it is quality 1080 (not mushy Canon 1080) dropping down to 720 just for the subtle moves in post within the 1080 frame can often work and not be noticed by the end viewer. 

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1 hour ago, jagnje said:

And now the hype is about motion cadence, which comes with raw or a strong codec. Ok, we have had raw for a while now, but not everybody is willing to "hack" their canon for professional use and not everybody is willing to shoot with a BM camera. Eventualy toy cameras will be given that as well, but not before cinema cameras have it alot better.

Could somebody define what is this "motion cadence", in a way you can measure?

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Just to remind people on this 4k subject. 

if you believe that 4k is the only element that affects high quality, think of how these two images compsre: A 2009 12mp Nokia still image, vs a 12mp A7s Still image. 

Why is the former absolutely, inquestionly CRAP and the later is GORGEOUS? Because aside resolution, there are MANY other qualiries/elements that affect image quality. Many. 

1- Sharpness (not resolution)
2- Sensor size 
3- Lenses
4- Dynamic range amount
5- Hightlight rolloff
6- Noise amount 
7- Noise pattern/colour/motion
8- Bitrate/datarate (Mbps)
9- Chroma subsampling (4:2:0/4:2:2/4:4:4)
10- Bit-depth (8bit-10bit-14bit
(Raw has maximum 8,9 and 10)
11- Colour science/Calibration/profile/style
12- Motion cadence (deteemined by compression, Intra frame vs Long GOP)
13- Digital defects: Aliasing, moire, rolling shutter, FPN, 
14- Lens defects: Softness, corners, chromatic abberations, fringing, distortion, iris, highlight blooming/coma, contrast, character)

So 14 undisputable elements that contribute equally in making image quality right there in front of you, 

Still ”only” care about having 4K?

Alright.

Go ahead and happily shoot something sharp. 

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2 hours ago, tweak said:

That says more about the average reader than the camera/s.

exactly...and the big sellers are more that happy to sell you what you want/think you need.  If lets say 5d mk.4 doesn`t have 4k it will be the bigest fail canon has ever made. If it does have 4k and same DR as mk.3 no one will be really dissapointed. 

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30 minutes ago, Ebrahim Saadawi said:

Just to remind people on this 4k subject. 

if you believe that 4k is the only element that affects high quality, think of how these two images compsre: A 2009 12mp Nokia still image, vs a 12mp A7s Still image. 

Why is the former absolutely, inquestionly CRAP and the later is GORGEOUS? Because aside resolution, there are MANY other qualiries/elements that affect image quality. Many. 

1- Sharpness (not resolution)
2- Sensor size 
3- Lenses
4- Dynamic range amount
5- Hightlight rolloff
6- Noise amount 
7- Noise pattern/colour/motion
8- Bitrate/datarate (Mbps)
9- Chroma subsampling (4:2:0/4:2:2/4:4:4)
10- Bit-depth (8bit-10bit-14bit
(Raw has maximum 8,9 and 10)
11- Colour science/Calibration/profile/style
12- Motion cadence (deteemined by compression, Intra frame vs Long GOP)
13- Digital defects: Aliasing, moire, rolling shutter, FPN, 
14- Lens defects: Softness, corners, chromatic abberations, fringing, distortion, iris, highlight blooming/coma, contrast, character)

So 14 undisputable elements that contribute equally in making image quality right there in front of you, 

Still ”only” care about having 4K?

Alright.

Go ahead and happily shoot something sharp. 

I agree that 4K is far less important for a great image than some other features mentioned above, but there are also two kinds of 4K. There is 1Dc or most cinema cameras type of 4K that has the detail but not in camera sharpening, so it can still look very pleasing even in closeups, and there is 4K that is oversharpened on top of big resolution and that tends to look not so good. I believe you once already wrote about this Ebrahim. What I am trying to say is that for me 4K is a great feature if it is the right kind of 4K.

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48 minutes ago, jagnje said:

 If lets say 5d mk.4 doesn`t have 4k it will be the bigest fail canon has ever made.

Geez, talk about hyperbole. 5d3 is four years old and still a top seller. 4k is a niche market and a spec sheet highlight. Wedding and event shooters are waiting to jump on the 5d4. It's going to be huge.

Even if people on this board moan about these things, the vast majority of the camera buying world doesn't care.

Lots of TV, film and events are shot with Canon's "mushy 1080p" as some put it. We still live in a HD world.

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1 hour ago, jagnje said:

If lets say 5d mk.4 doesn`t have 4k it will be the bigest fail canon has ever made. If it does have 4k and same DR as mk.3 no one will be really dissapointed. 

I disagree. But how is this relevant to the discussion or OP question anyway? We are talking about 4K vs 1080p image, not about whether 4K is a good marketing choice for Canon or not.

19 hours ago, jasonmillard81 said:

One of the topics discussed was how these DPs feel that are sort of forced to use digital and many long for the days of film.  In addition they seem to acknowledge the necessity to keep up with the 4K, 6K, and 8K race but that sometimes the preferable image is of a much lower resolution and they spend time trying to achieve that by softening the image up etc. as they (maybe Deakins) feel that the audience finds the optimal image to not be so "realistic".

I'm curious on what everyone's opinions are.  If one isn't doing paid work and 4K+ aren't demanded then you still get away with investing in a new product that is 1080P if the image is currently seen as not only acceptable but desirable?

 

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The idea that 4K "can" be great dependent upon how the rest of image quality performs (i.e. DR, highlight roll-off, colors etc.) is an important one.  I probably won't have a 4K TV for years, nor will the people that are my audience (my students).  However 4K with great colors and DR down-res to 1080P would be more desirable to 1080P with similar qualities and characteristics. 

I strongly disagree that 4K is always better than 1080, again I'd prefer to see/use a c100 than a gh4/nx1/a7s.  But when you ask about an fs7, 1dx II vs. a c100/c300 then you may have a more appropriate discussion about 4K vs. 1080.  Context is key.  

When the latter discussion is had, I'm particular to canon colors over sony and within canon's lineup it's a toss up between 1080 and 4K.

I guess this discussion has demonstrated to me that 4K isn't necessary but is desirable with the right context (DR, etc.) and that investing in quality 1080 isn't a bad move if you're not being mandated by work to have a 4K workflow. 

 

Thanks!

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The only time i've seen/experienced a 4K image properly is at the cinema.

TV or Streaming is HD & 720p at that.

Buy a 4K TV? Why? I can't watch anything worth watching in 4K on it, so where does that leave me?

I'm still waiting for 1080p HD TV/Streaming......

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