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AaronChicago

What is music's equilvalent to "4K is the best!"

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I've been trying to explain to musicians that keep coming at me with "4K camera" is required, or "I know a friend who has a 4K drone we could use" of how tiny 4K actually plays into an overall image. It's definitely a marketing strategy that's taken ahold of consumers.

What would be a good analogy in music terms. Not just consumer end, but producing, recording, buying instruments....?

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

If you're looking for something where the presence of it was previously only available at the highest end so was also a reasonably good indicator of overall performance but when incorporated into cheap products is not only not a magic bullet but can be completely rendered pointless by the rest of the junk that makes up the product?

Got to be the resurrection of valve mic pre-amps for me . 

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How about, "More Cowbell!!!"

In all seriousness, I find 4K helpful and to be honest, I think most of the really good 1080p cameras now have 4K.

My D750 has 1080p only, and it is a fairly good 1080p image with very good dynamic range and nice colors, but it is soft, no focus peaking, horrible AF, limited zebras, and is already pretty big so rigging it out makes it quite a lot bigger than most (mirrorless) cameras that have better video features... and have 4K to boot. I also did a low light test / high ISO test, and I thought the 1080p of my a6000 was better (and certainly the 1080p of my 4K-capable a6300 was less noisy).

So most really good VIDEO camera already seem to have 4K in them.

Of course, there are a LOT of people using Canon cameras for 1080p video and they seem to be doing well.

The other thing about 4K is that it does save me time on site, because I know that I can punch in during post for a different framing (I export at 1080p), so I don't have to stop, move in a little bit, and restart.

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3 minutes ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

In all seriousness, I find 4K helpful and to be honest, I think most of the really good 1080p cameras now have 4K.

(...)

Sure : ) But there are physical boundaries marketing tend to pretend they are not mindful :-)

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Tough to draw direct parallels. All I can think of are subjective and non-quantifiable things that supposedly "sound better" like all the goofy "organic/cinematic" talk about an image. I only have experience as a guitarist, but these are some I've seen through the years; Honduran mahogany vs. the rest of the world mahogany, expensive boutique tube amps with NOS vintage tubes, Plexi Marshalls from the 70's, hand wired amps, an American made Gibson/Fender/Martin vs. a Japanese or Korean version, or maybe recording in a giant multi- million dollar studio vs. small home studios.

Chris

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There where numerous debates in the late 90s about bit depth & sampling frequency in audio. The majority of professional audio engineers today will agree that a 24 bit, 96 khz audio recording is more than enough for music, except sound design applications where you may want to slow down the recording. With a proper parallelism, a musician will get this. A 1080p video will be totally "fine" for every web application just as 16 bit/44khz will be more than enough for an audio track that will end up in Spotify or Soundcloud in a shitty audio codec.

But if your client/musician are one of those guys who are considering analog equipment as superior due to it's "warmer" sound, or he is trying to justify a 10000 $ investment in a single rack audio unit which magically adds wonderful harmonics on a poorly mastered track, then don't try to explain anything. Just shoot in 4K and make him happy :).

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1 hour ago, Shirozina said:

96khz sample rate recording

I thought about this too. Although it's almost impossible to hear the difference in 96 and 48. 4K does improve image quality if you're looking for pure detail at close range.

1 minute ago, Dimitris Stasinos said:

There where numerous debates in the late 90s about bit depth & sampling frequency in audio. The majority of professional audio engineers today will agree that a 24 bit, 96 khz audio recording is more than enough for music, except sound design applications where you may want to slow down the recording. With a proper parallelism, a musician will get this. A 1080p video will be totally "fine" for every web application just as 16 bit/44khz will be more than enough for an audio track that will end up in Spotify or Soundcloud in a shitty audio codec.

But if your client/musician are one of those guys that consider analog equipment as superior due to it's "warmer" sound, or he is trying to justify a 10000 $ investment in a single rack audio unit which magically adds wonderful harmonics on a poorly mastered track, then don't try to explain anything. Just shoot in 4K and make him happy :).

I'm going to shoot 4K anyway, but I'm trying to create a quick comparison when people are under the assumption that image quality is quantified ONLY in MP's. HD is good. 4K is amazing. 8K is best! I tell them about dynamic range, sensor size, grain structure, but it's such a long boring conversation.

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Shooting 4k is one thing - delivering the finished product in 4k is quite another. The majority of '4k capable' cameras are very good at producing very good HD final imagery but are not capable in broadcast standard terms of creating  a true 4k end product.

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MP3

I had a conversation with a talent in LA I was directing yesterday (I'm in VT.)

The regular question working with remote studios is "how do you want the files?", meaning AIFF, WAV or MP3.

I was saying how surprised I was, several years ago, when people I had worked with over dedicated ISDN lines were suddenly sending MP3 files for broadcast.

It's amazing how quickly high rate MP3s became common place in broadcast production.

So to me, telling them how much of what they hear on radio and TV is MP3 quality.

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If I had the same problem I guess I would try to compare video recording to music recording.

Like - there are a lot of things that must come together to make a good music recording. If you have a shitty mic placement, but an awesome world class quality mic, it most likely would sound way worse than a good mic with a good placement. That's like 4k with a bad lighting vs 1080 with good lighting (or wardrobe, or actors, or locations etc.). If everything is done to the top level, it's going to be a top level production, and 1080p isn't going to be the thing holding it back. Plus it's also an esthetic question - maybe you don't want the crispness of 4k or the mic where you can hear everything crystal clear, maybe you want something else for the right mood.

And about the tiny 4k - it could also be compared to mics something like - recording to a pro level mic or entry level mic, but with the same numbers (bits, khz, etc). The pro mic would have a richer sound than the entry level.

This probably is longer than you were hoping for 😄

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I don't think there's a direct music example that would make music people get it. I think all you can do is make it clear that while there are benefits to 4K, those benefits are separate from the industry's vested interest in getting people to embrace 4K, and that pressure they're feeling to use 4K stems primarily from strategic marketing coming from those vested industry interests. 

It's also tricky because in music/audio production and broadcasting, uncompressed audio is the standard format, but that's possible because the files are so much smaller. So I can see why a music person would think the higher the quality the better. Point is there aren't simple comparisons between the two mediums on this particular topic.

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The easy analogy is 96khz.  Not because having it is bad, but simply because 48khz is more than adequate.  

4K vs. 1080.  Same thing.

Honestly, I still feel like my old GX7 delivered better IQ than my GH5.  That's kuz almost all I do is delivered in 1080.  The 4K GH5 can technically "do more," but ultimately how does it matter in the final deliverable?  Same thing goes for my old EM5II.  It's an inferior IQ camera, but if it gets me what I need then it's very much a "better" camera in certain instances.

3 hours ago, AaronChicago said:

I tell them about dynamic range, sensor size, grain structure, but it's such a long boring conversation.

As are discussions about mic pre-amps or mic frequency response.... yet they're vital to people successfully plying such craft.  Those that delve into the minutiae and wisely use it to their advantage will do so.  Other people will be chasing specs and numbers.

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7 hours ago, Jim Giberti said:

MP3

I've been in the high-end audio game for about 20 years, mostly in the DIY end, and I'd agree with this.

MP3 was universally criticised by high-end as 'the death of music' but it's not that bad.

5 hours ago, Ty Harper said:

I don't think there's a direct music example that would make music people get it.

Agreed - there isn't a direct parallel.

Someone above mentioned valves, which might also be a good example.  Solid state is kind of like consumer 4K - it's more representative of reality from a measurement perspective but has a brittle and unpleasant subjective experience.

Also digital vs analog.  I've heard good digital, and I've heard digital that sounds better than a turntable, but it took $50K of custom digital to beat a $2K turntable setup.  Considering you can buy $100K turntables, I'm not sure if there's digital that can match that.

Also, amplifier power.  100W solid state amps replaced 9W valve amps but I think someone summed it up when they said "if the first watt is awful, why would I be happy there are 99 more?".  For context, your hifi spends most of its time using less than 1W, unless the music is heavily compressed.  If you're listening to something with really large dynamic range like classical music then it spends most of it's time using less than 0.25W.

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11 hours ago, Shirozina said:

96khz sample rate recording

Arguably a case can be made for sometimes recording in 96KHz. And I would not want to ever buy a recorder that can't do 96KHz (one of the reasons why I wouldn't buy a Sound Devices 664).

Say something more ridiculous like 32bit 192KHz! 😛

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