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


Andrew Reid

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Philip Bloom had a lengthy blog on this back in October here is the link and his pros and converts

 

philipbloom.net/2013/10/10/4kraw/   Now the pros and cons of 4k

PROS: 

Incredibly detailed images, 4 times that of HD but they are not obviously so.

Fantastic ability to crop in post. Something I do on all my interviews for docs now that I shoot 4k for them. I am not shooting 4k docs – just 4k talking heads. I can then go in for tights or back out whenever I want in the edit. Way better.

“Future proof†I am bit hesitant about this as I see very little need for future proofing most of my work. Now for high end drama and big docs then yes. Do it.

You have a higher end format to sell to clients. Sometimes an advantage. Not always though…see cons.

Scaling down to 2K in post often yields quite stunning results.

CONS: 

Inefficient codec mean massive files. Even efficient ones are pretty big, which means expensive cards and lots of storage.

Inability to edit natively for the vast majority of people. Proxies are used which of course adds time.

Most production companies I have dealt with cannot take it.

Almost nobody can actually watch 4k (yet). I can’t.

It can lead to lazy cinematography. Although I use the crop to help me in interviews, this is not due to being lazy but to give me options. You should never forget the tight shots because you can crop. The whole aesthetic changes. The depth of field remains the same so it doesn’t look like a true close up

You need to be even more skilled, as mistakes are easier to spot.

Incredibly unforgiving and harsh. Showing the flaws in everything, especially people. Fantastic for beauty shots etc..for drama it’s actually too detailed and causes the DP many issues.

Needs a really big screen to really see the difference.

Will it actually take off as a consumer format for the home? I am very pessimistic about this.

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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

I think one of the main points the article was making was that due to the way the sensor is sampled with 4k (less data loss) we'll have better looking images as a result. We're using existing sensor technology -- it's been there for years. We're just starting to get the most out of those sensors in terms of video processing.

This is a big deal even if you're shooting 1080p -- the 4k enabled cameras will flat out produce a much better image.

 

He also pointed it out that the bottle neck for a greater image wasn't necessarily the codec in many instances recently, just the sampling of the sensor. That was my take away.

Hardware? I wouldn't worry too much. 4th generation i7 quad core processors are showing up in dell computers < 800 dollars. Memory is cheap. 4k won't kill you. Quad core with a good video card should be fine, I'd think.

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Image quality is improved everywhere, at the cost of having to deal with ever more redundant data. 12 or 14bit raw for 8bit already means having - at least! - a ratio of 10:1 between capture and delivery. But we asked for it. We complained about the heavy compression of the consumer codecs, and bingo!, we got alternatives.

 

I don't think that 4k TV sets will soon be a standard (the net, as explained above, goes with brilliant 720p rather, and television is likely to move from broadcasting to VOD in the not-so-distant future, 4k cinema, though it was predicted long ago, will remain an exception), so 4k then means the better 1080p/720p. Hollywood meanwhile seems to use 4k a lot, as the better 2k. Even Peter Jackson mastered The Hobbit in 2k. 

 

Of course computers considered fast 2 years ago for their ability to unpack AVCHD in real time and add a lot of effects now don't suffice. Why store all this redundant data in the first place? The answer is intelligent media management and Thunderbolt2. 

 

One can still believe 4k to be a hype created by the industry to sell the next generation of crippled hardware. I tend to subscribe to that view. On the other hand, 4k will become pretty affordable. It's just a matter of staying aware that not every 4k camera will be better than a good 1080 DSLR or raw camera. 

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4k is great for nature stuff. So if you guys like to shoot flowers and streets (nothing narrative) it will be absolutely grrreat. For stories? Not necessary and that's why Alexa is king. There's a reason all the 4k screens are just projecting nature stuff at the moment.

 

 "The sensor in the AX100e is a 2.7x crop over full frame"

 

Sure, the sensor is 2.7x crop but I really doubt that lens is actually covering the whole sensor. I think it's as with the Sony AX1 that's promoted using a 1/2 inch sensor but it is actually using a 1/3" area of that sensor so the little ass lens can cover it.

 

The problem with 4k is that 1080p HD is pretty damn good already and I don't really see the need to see sharper images than a sharp 1080p already is. A lot of those "sharp" 4k videos are already done using a lot of sharpening techniques and a huge contrast so that they look as sharp in HD too.

 

A low contrast Alexa image never actually looks sharp even in 2.5k until it's been tuned and sharpened.

 

Besides, I'm already missing a lot of focus with fullframe DSLR's and those being in 4k would be horrendous.

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Matt you asked "Why not make HD the best it can be before moving on to 4K?"

 
There has to be  higher quality video codecs for DSLRs in the pipeline ,I think it's just a matter of  time which manufacturer is
going to have HD 4.2.2 first for DSLRs ? 
 
2014 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for new video cameras even with the push for 4K I bet there are 
more capable HD DSLRs on the way too.
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If 4k was shown in 4k right now, I am sure we'd see immediately that it is poor 4k. The weird logic reads: Bad 4k is better than bad 1080 ...

This is what I don't get though. We don't have to have bad 1080 any more. None of the major manufacturers has released an affordable 10bit 4:2:2 1080p camera. It sounds like that step is going to be jumped. We're going to go straight to 4K. I can't imagine why this is something to celebrate. If it's simply that 4K uses the full sensor of a stills camera, then I have to say it sounds like it's time to start asking for video-only cameras with DSLR specs (and prices!) from the major manufacturers.

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Matt you asked "Why not make HD the best it can be before moving on to 4K?"

 
There has to be  higher quality video codecs for DSLRs in the pipeline ,I think it's just a matter of  time which manufacturer is
going to have HD 4.2.2 first for DSLRs ? 
 
2014 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for new video cameras even with the push for 4K I bet there are 
more capable HD DSLRs on the way too.

 

I hope so. I'm guessing this will be the positive side of 4K arriving for me - 1080 cameras will have to be better and cheaper.

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more information has always been the future of things. being it more color depth, higher resolution, higher framerates or less aggresive codecs. everybody should decide for themselves what makes the most sense to upgrade first. this also depends on what youre producing for.

 

somebody making internet films doesnt have big advantages from mastering in 4k, because most of the people dont even watch the films in 1080p full screen. in a youtube-sized videoplayer (not fullscreen) 1080p video looks razor sharp either way, why not upgrade something else first that makes more sense in this context, like dynamic range

 

And i have to absolutely disagree with Andrew saying that "4K means more Dynamic Range", as there is no technological aspect proving this, since its only a Resolution-based standard. The fact that those cameras who offer 4k right now have higher dynamic range than the average 1080p cam is a totally different story.

 

see for yourself what makes most sense to upgrade first. i would much rather have a 10bit 1080p picture than a 8bit 4k picture as of right now...

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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 companies. And we learned truths because of magic lanterns revelations. That relatively cheap camera's did hide a much better quality.

 

It is the codec that is keeping us in the dark ages, partly. The main reason of all the frustration is that sony, canon etc, is protecting there product lines.

 

Canon will not build a good moire and aliasing free (cheap) dslr because they build the c300 line.

 

No company will do that. There will be no full frame sensor aliasing free for a long time. Even the rebels that promised us so much like Red. They all got sucked up by the big money.

 

4k won't solve this. But I understand why you think it does... 4k does not allow room for moire aliasing etc. 

 

Perhaps. 

 

But now everyone wants the new sony 4k cam, even if it produces interlaced. Even if it does not have an interchangeble lens, no large sensor.

 

We don't care anymore because hey... it is 4k.

 

So new rebels won't even think of building a 1080p raw full frame sensor camera.

 

We all will cry that is is such a pity it isn't 4k!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I too am somewhat sceptical.  Don't forget the electronics giants have spent the best part of the last 5 years desperately trying to REDUCE the output quality of their 1080p cameras.  The specification on the side of the box has been meaningless.  Here are some of the tricks that have been played:

 - Record only in non-standard 30.00 fps (Canon)

 - Record only 24fps or 25fps, depending on region (Sony, Panasonic)

 - No manual aperture control in movie mode (Canon, Nikon)

 - No manual ISO control in movie mode (Nikon)

 - Deliberately introduce timing artefacts into HDMI out (Panasonic)

 - Overlays on HDMI out (Canon, Nikon, Sony)

 - High bit-rate mode which results on a higher spec on the box but no improvement in quality due to inferior codec (Canon, Panasonic)

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I think I can sum up what many are saying, and which I agree.  

 

Twelve 8-bit pixels interpolated at 4K WILL NOT equal Three 14-bit pixels interpolated at 1080 in COLOR depth.

 

Great article, as always.  Let me take this moment to thank you for all that you shared in 2013.   I read EOSHD every day!

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I too am somewhat sceptical.  Don't forget the electronics giants have spent the best part of the last 5 years desperately trying to REDUCE the output quality of their 1080p cameras.  The specification on the side of the box has been meaningless.  Here are some of the tricks that have been played:

 - Record only in non-standard 30.00 fps (Canon)

 - Record only 24fps or 25fps, depending on region (Sony, Panasonic)

 - No manual aperture control in movie mode (Canon, Nikon)

 - No manual ISO control in movie mode (Nikon)

 - Deliberately introduce timing artefacts into HDMI out (Panasonic)

 - Overlays on HDMI out (Canon, Nikon, Sony)

 - High bit-rate mode which results on a higher spec on the box but no improvement in quality due to inferior codec (Canon, Panasonic)

 

Canon 5dmarkIII let's you:

 

1. Record at 24,25,30,50,60fps

2. Also manual control

3. Manual ISO control

4. HDMI output that works

5. No overlays

6. High bit-rate mode that is visually the same as HDMI uncompressed.

 

Soooo, where's the beef?

 

You can't just lump a bunch of allegations together. Or you can of course, this is the internet but still. What camera were you using five years ago anyway?

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It is the codec that is keeping us in the dark ages, partly. The main reason of all the frustration is that sony, canon etc, is protecting there product lines.

 

It isn't the codec. Try bypassing even crappy AVCHD on the A7R and record with the HDMI output. The image still looks like crap. It's all to do with the crappy sensor output, which does a hotchpotch job of delivering 5% of the available pixels it uses for glorious stills.

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It isn't the codec. Try bypassing even crappy AVCHD on the A7R and record with the HDMI output. The image still looks like crap. It's all to do with the crappy sensor output, 

 

I thought the crappy output was due to getting image data after digital processing.  Could HDMI even handle non-bayered 14-bit sensor data? 

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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 companies. And we learned truths because of magic lanterns revelations. That relatively cheap camera's did hide a much better quality.

 

I couldn´t agree with you more! Once more the industry will be successful in creating desires rather than long-lasting and solid products without calculated shortcomings. Three years ago, everybody was blown away by the "cinmatic look" of DSLRs, just because of the shallow depth of field, respectively full-frame. Soon after: disillusion! Shallow DOF was fine, but now everybody cried for a better codec, because the low bitrate AVCHD crap wasn´t the best to work with in post. After the GH2 hack and some other improvements: disillusion! Why? Because Blackmagic joined the game. Rich colors, RAW(!!!), high dynamic range, rather small form factor and affordability! Now everybody agreed, that the "cinematic look" was all about sparkle and dynamic range, etc. Shallow depth of field and full-frame suddenly weren´t at the top of the list anymore, and all those gadget fetishists ran after that lovely BMCC. RAW became the most desirable thing in the indie film world (look at the 5DIII RAW hype)... at least for a very short time, because now it´s 4K time.

Suddenly 4K means everything, it´s the holy grail, the solution to all those nasty aestetic shortcomings of DSLR footage. You don´t even need a dolly or a tripod, because hey, you can pan around and stabilize in post!

 

This is the new triumphal march of all the camera manufacturers, that kept all of us on the short leash for a good reason: money.

 

This is planned obsolescence in all its glory, this is the industry of never-ending desires. Some of you may call it "technological progress", but we are talkling about creative tools here, not cars! There wouldn´t exist one single piece of impressive art, if all those great artist were always pinning their failure to external circumstances like screens, cameras, paintbrushes or whatever.

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