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Why I am going with 4K and why you should too


Andrew Reid

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This blog has been going 4 years now and to be honest I have run out of interesting things to say about the current DSLRs. It's time to upgrade.

2014 will be a big overhaul for image quality on DSLRs. Even those who don't need the extra resolution 4K offers will change their minds when they see what's coming.

You see, 4K isn't really about resolution at all… It is the catalyst for a massive leap in overall image quality, especially on consumer cameras.

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I'm going with 4K too , I'm sticking with Panasonic as they make great cameras that just work  , plus most of my glass is optomised for m4/3   So roll on gh4 or what ever they call it

Strange article. Feels like you are sucked up in the resolution hype after all...  If you were talking about raw I would understand your points of view. After all we are all being fooled by the big co

I'm of the belief that if greater image quality than what can be had from true fullhd from the black magic pocket, or hacked canon 5dmk3 is required, then it's time to hire a camera for the job.  The

 "4K means more dynamic range, more realistic shadows and highlights, more subtle gradation, less moire and aliasing, better 1080p and yeah, more detail too, because more of the sensor data survives."

 

but it has to be RAW right? Do you think 4k compressed will be better then RAW from say 5D or BMPCC?

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I'm curious too, does 4k really have more dynamic range than 1080p? had never heard that. Also not yet seen any footage that makes a convincing argument for 4k over raw 1080p, but i'm certainly interested.

 

It would be interesting to see some side by side 4k downscaled vs 1080p shot from the same camera.

 

 

I can see 4k downsampling helping to retain detail if you a dealing with the compression of a consumer dslrs, but would raw cinema cameras like BM and Bolex theoretically see much benefit from shooting 4k and downsampling?

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I don't think Andrew was comparing compressed 4k with raw 1080p.

I think the point is that 4k downscaled to 1080p looks much better than line-skipped compressed 1080p.

Also, by the nature of it, it's less likely that 4k cameras will be using line skipping or trying to get by with a lower data rate.

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 "4K means more dynamic range, more realistic shadows and highlights, more subtle gradation, less moire and aliasing, better 1080p and yeah, more detail too, because more of the sensor data survives."

 

but it has to be RAW right? Do you think 4k compressed will be better then RAW from say 5D or BMPCC?

Strickly speaking dynamic range is a function of pixel size not pixel quantity.  In fact, the 4k camera that squeeze more pixels on a fixed senor die size to satisfy the latest 4k craze are willfully sacrificing dynamic range.

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This blog has been going 4 years now and to be honest I have run out of interesting things to say about the current DSLRs.

 

You don't say?!  :P

 

I need neither convincing nor talking points to go for 4K right away, I just need more dough. 

 

 

BTW Tomekk and Lucian, did you actually read the blog post above all the way through? Just curious.

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4K? I'll be waiting a bit longer for that. In the meantime - im heavily upgrading my 1080p output with a BMCC. When I feel the time is right it should be easy to upgrade the BMCC to a 4K BMPC. It is something to keep an eye out, although I just dont see the need for 4K yet.

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I understand that 4k gives better resolution, dynamic range and colour than 1080 - and that these benefits are transferred when 4k is downscaled to 1080 in post. But I don't understand why this is an argument for 4K for people who don't need 4K output. Surely those people would benefit much more if the greater processing power and bitrate was put into a better 1080p codec (e.g. like the Pocket's prores). They would then get the benefit of the larger files in the form of grading latitude, rather than just chucking away information from their very full cards as soon as they got home. Wouldn't they? Personally I'd rather chuck that information away after I've done something useful with it, like a bit of colour correction.

 

I'm not hearing a lot of people complaining that the Pocket isn't 4K. I am however hearing a lot of people complaining that the Pocket is a pain in the a**e to use. Imagine if Panasonic put BMPCC-like tech inside a GH3. We'd all go completely wild. Why isn't that the immediate future? With 4K it just seems to me like we'll be starting the whole H264 journey again, just at a higher level. Why not make HD the best it can be before moving on to 4K? The whole thing smells a lot like the megapixel race to me and, to be honest, the ugly side of capitalism.

Anyway, this is my question: Leaving aside reframing options, why is compressed 4K better than high bitrate 1080 for those who don't need 4K output?

 

Just to be clear, this is a genuine question. I am genuinely hoping to learn something. I am not being pointlessly antagonistic in the hope of rubbing someone up the wrong way. That's just the card I was dealt at birth - to forever write forum posts that elicit the wrath of Hades.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andrew.  Always look forward to your blogs especially ones on the future.

 

Overall I get the gist that 4k is going to give us better image quality compared to what we can currently get on pro/consumer cameras.  However, consider the fact that plenty of big budget films being shot digitally right now and until next year on the Alexa will still be doing so at 2.8k.  I know it maybe dated now, but even Hugo in 3D was shot in 1080p.     Most DPs who choose the 2.8k Alexa over 4k RED say it was the resulting image quality that made them go with Alexa even after upscaling it for 4k projection.  

 

Help me out here because I'm at a loss as to why if it's not an issue for big budget films then is it a concern for us.  Shouldn't we be pushing for a cheaper, reliable, feature filled camera that does it any any decent resolution but gives us amazing image quality?  I think we all agree resolution is just one aspect of image quality and how DPs are choosing their cameras in hollywood proves that point.   I just hope we're not giving up on pushing camera manufacturers to truly gives us image quality + features, which is not easy to put a marketing term to, as opposed to "4K" that in reality doesn't even mean anything to those with limitless budgets.    Thanks in advance to any replies.

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Things like bit depth really matter for post. I can approximate  higher bit depth by downsampling from higher resolution, but the individual precision of each pixel remains the same. So in certain cases, you won't pickup subtle changes in tone. 

 

And all else being equal, down-sampling does not afford you better dynamic range.  And 4K raw is still way too much data, so you will lose something by going to 4K. 

 

As for content delivery, almost eveyone is still stuck below 1080p (besides Blu-Ray). iTunes, Netflix, Cable, almost all of their HD looks like heavily compressed 720p or 1080i. 

 

The Canon c300 is a special case, because it uses its 4K sensor not just to down-sample intelligently, but to minimize motion artifacts.  Most of the 4K cameras that are going to come out won't be using the same process, and therefore won't get the same benefit from a 4K sensor.

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Who can tell me the priority of hardware upgrade? The production or post-production first? When our editing equipment is barely good enough to deal with 1080p footage and RAW, then here comes another monster to eat up our resources. Should I invest an 8-core CPU, 64GB RAM or 100TB of HDD? 4K broardcasting is still on the mid way except Japan. I still can't see the strong reason of using 4K film making except for the commercial and feature films. Of course, the manufacturers want a reason of promotion 4K panels, that's the main reason.

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