Jump to content

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


Andrew Reid

Recommended Posts

  • Administrators

Enjoyed the article, you're probably at the stage that most film makers have come to in the past, or are yet to come to, which is deciding to shoot their next film in 4k.

Is your work now requiring that you need to shoot 4K? What kind of work do you do Andrew?

 

I have a creative unit in Berlin and sometimes we will shoot a music video, sometimes a theatre trailer, sometimes my own documentary style music video taking in the surroundings and creating a mood (like most of my stuff shot in Taiwan and Japan for instance). The kind of stuff you can do on your own or with a very small team.

 

My decision to shoot 4k won't come down to client requirements or business requirements, it's purely be an artistic choice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 114
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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 told her that this would be a job for a photographer with his own studio and proper flash lights, things that I don´t have as I´m not a photographer at all. To be honest, I actually told her so because I really didn´t like the idea of driving 400 kilometers just to take portrait pictures of employees. But her answer was, well, shaking up. She told me that she wasn´t interested in high-polished, perfectly lit ultra high resolution photos, but rather something special and charming.

 

So the art should just settle for the lowest common denominator?  That's why the photography world in general has had such a downward spiral.  Lay people just don't know what good art is and there are plenty of people who are willing to take their money and dump substandard work on them.

 

There is a difference between a pro reaching into their tool kit and coming up with a look and a look being achieve just due to pure incompetence.  This is like people paying tens of thousands of dollars for pictures painted by monkeys.  Everyone is free to do with their money what they wish but let's not go around saying it makes sense or it is something that should be encourgaged.

 


 

But seriously, while all these predictable and influencable "I can´t because of bad equipment"-guys kept on excusing, complaining and distracting from their own incapability, my good old GH2 turned out to be a cash cow.

 

For the millionth time, who are these people?!  As far as I can tell most of the prolific posters on this forum shoot plenty of material.  The gentleman that runs this site shoots and puts out tons of nice manuals.  I just recently started making sales of clips I shot with my Canon T3i.  Frankly for a lot of us can't justify purchasing a 4K beast camera if we can't produce and sell with what we have in our hands right now.  If my little clip portfolio doesn't grow and sell there will be no 4K future for quite some time.  Really unless you are a spoiled yuppie with a day job that throws off tons of free cashflow who on earth is dropping $2K on a camera just to shoot test videos and collect dust?  I'm not saying those people don't exist but that straw man is trotted out way more than the actual real life occurance of such a fellow.

 

I am not a fanboi.  I go out and shoot my Canon gear but deep down I know something is wrong.  Actually not even that deep down.  I'm not wealthy so I thank all those people doing test videos, reviews, and debating gear on forums.  Listening and interacting with them has saved me tons of money and turned me on to some fun stuff like Magic Lantern and 50D RAW... and it's disabused me of my old notions that 4K is irrelevant hype.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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 jump in image quality that will be had from anything within reach of consumers is going to be null and void in my opinion.  It would take an expert to tell the difference between a hacked 5dmk3 and an Alexa shooting RGB into an external box.  

 

Focus on glass is priority IMO.  A nice set of Contax Zeiss on a hacked 5dmk3 is gonna literally match or ruin anything else within the budgets of most of us.   Full HD cameras are more than good enough nowadays.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The power & processing issues can be solved of course. But it will require more processing, more cooling, more power = bigger, more expensive camera. Want it done on a budget - get a decent 4k 10-bit and do the processing on a computer.

 

iPhone 5s is already doing 120 720p frame per second. its actually 110 megapixel/sec processing power, with a chip not really optimized for specific task like downscaling. 30 x 2160p = 248mp/s. I dont know why a $2000 camera shouldn't handle a 2.25x of a job that a phone is flawlessly doing.   

 

from Qualcom website:

 

"Snapdragon 805 processors also enable users to take, edit and share higher quality photos in low light conditions. The world’s first commercial mobile 1GPixel/s (Giga-pixel per second) ISP (image signal processor) packs a large increase in ISP and CPP (camera postprocessor) speed and throughput, empowering users to take sharper, higher resolution photos with advanced post-processing features for low light conditions."

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I fail to understand those many comments speaking of the importance of content over technical image quality in this kind of a thread. This IS a blog about cameras. It's a place to discuss Codecs, resolutions, dynamic range, color science, even ergonomics. Every article ever wrote here on EOSHD could be killed with "oh, content is king, and you really don't need this, or that of a camera as long as X made the film Z on an iphone". Really?

Link to post
Share on other sites

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 problem with the two cameras you mentioned are ergonomics and reliability.   A lot of people won't use a hacked camera on a pro job and the issues with the BMPCC have been discussed ad naseum.  Honestly I would like to see more footage from the Sony FDR-AX100.  I had an issue with the highlights in the one video I saw but the image was frighteningly sharp.  If I was shooting in well lit scenarios that seems like the camera I would go for.  It's 4K and cheaper than a fully kitted out 5D MKIII and BMPCC.  Why wouldn't you save money and get higher resolution?

 

 

It would take an expert to tell the difference between a hacked 5dmk3 and an Alexa shooting RGB into an external box.  

 

 

When you say "hacked" are you talking about raw?  Because raw is a pain in the butt to work with.  The acutal color correcting is fun but injesting all that footage and getting it on your time line is a pain in the but compaired to stuff that is usable straight from the camera.

 

iPhone 5s is already doing 120 720p frame per second. its actually 110 megapixel/sec processing power, with a chip not really optimized for specific task like downscaling. 30 x 2160p = 248mp/s. I dont know why a $2000 camera shouldn't handle a 2.25x of a job that a phone is flawlessly doing.

 

 

I wouldn't call iphone 5s video "flawless."

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the point so many are making though - why do 'we' need 4K? Why can't we just have HD with new processors etc.

 

That would be ideal, but it's not the interest of the manufactures COO's and finance. But pushing the "trend" or "gimmick" helps the engineers make an excuse for need of developing other parts of the camera.

 

i know many of the members on these sites are enthusiasts or semi-pros, artists and that's a wonderful thing when you are allowed all those logical choices in camera and lenses creatively.

in the commercial world, the client says "i wanna shoot on a red", "i want it in epic 5k so we can crop both V and H for 1080p", "let's shoot on a phantom".

We've lost bids on jobs that we would have been able to complete with a "lesser" (for lack of a better word) camera equipment because they were so married to "4k", "RED", "phantom".

And being well equipped as possible leaves less room for both US and the CLIENT to make excuses on their decisions.

Remember you can always have 4K available but decide to shoot in 2k is you want.

For web only videos and internet ads, many times we're still asked to deliver H264's in 720p.

 

4K is resolution, and clarity but at the same time it is a catalyst for innovation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

iPhone 5s is already doing 120 720p frame per second. its actually 110 megapixel/sec processing power, with a chip not really optimized for specific task like downscaling. 30 x 2160p = 248mp/s. I dont know why a $2000 camera shouldn't handle a 2.25x of a job that a phone is flawlessly doing.   

 

from Qualcom website:

 

"Snapdragon 805 processors also enable users to take, edit and share higher quality photos in low light conditions. The world’s first commercial mobile 1GPixel/s (Giga-pixel per second) ISP (image signal processor) packs a large increase in ISP and CPP (camera postprocessor) speed and throughput, empowering users to take sharper, higher resolution photos with advanced post-processing features for low light conditions."

 

Did you read my post?

 

My whole post was about the difference of "being able to process" and "be able to process in proper high quality".

Here, take a look at the aliasing and crap you'll find in an iPhone 5S video: vimeo.com/77162053 (removed the http 'cause I didn't see it necessary for this thread to have the embedded video here)

 

Why is there aliasing? Because the iPhone isn't up to do the processing in high quality and they have to take shortcuts. The video quality of the iPhone 5s is great for a phone, but my post was about processing it properly for far better footage (like in a possible upcoming GH4). Processing it properly, to get rid of aliasing, moire and getting the most possible resolution out of the footage while keeping the color information - whilst outputting it to a suitable compressed format tailored for high quality output.

 

If you do it with proper downsampling algorithms optimized for quality, you'll need beefy hardware if you want it done in realtime, especially when we're talking more than 24 fps, 10-bit.

 

Also, I'm perfectly well aware of Qualcomm chips. Our company uses those for hardware encoding video on smart phones.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

 

For my own needs I pretty much agree. I'd be fully happy with 10-bit 1080p without aliasing/moire and options for 422 / 444, and preferrably compressed with some efficient codec - and perhaps possibility to choose Prores/RAW when needed.

 

I'm really happy with the video I get out of my D800: the main limitation is 4:2:0 and 8-bit color. And when shooting in certain city scenarios - moire/aliasing can occur. Ironically enough, what I'd lack from the pocket camera is a more efficient codec (10-bit 422 H.265 in a few bitrates perhaps) for when I wouldn't need Prores/RAW.

 

So, looking forward to what Panasonic is cooking for 2014 :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

  It's 4K and cheaper than a fully kitted out 5D MKIII and BMPCC.  Why wouldn't you save money and get higher resolution?

 

 

I think this is the best example of where you and I differ in our priorities.  A Red Epic is cheaper than an Alexa Studio and almost 5 times the resolution on paper.  But still, I'd choose an Alexa over the Epic.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is the best example of where you and I differ in our priorities.  A Red Epic is cheaper than an Alexa Studio and almost 5 times the resolution on paper.  But still, I'd choose an Alexa over the Epic.  

 

Exactly. I can definitely see 4k will be a help with compressed shooting and be a catlyst for overall improvement, but at the same time in this price range you can already buy raw 1080p cameras. Resolution and sharpness are not really where I feel the lacking...

 

raw for latitude in post with good DR at 1080p or 2k, from there my mind goes to lens choice, lighting, subject not resolution. 

 

That said I have never shot 4k, or seen a comparison of down sampling it to 1080p so maybe I'll change my mind once the gh4 comes out. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you read my post?

My whole post was about the difference of "being able to process" and "be able to process in proper high quality".
Here, take a look at the aliasing and crap you'll find in an iPhone 5S video: vimeo.com/77162053 (removed the http 'cause I didn't see it necessary for this thread to have the embedded video here)

Why is there aliasing? Because the iPhone isn't up to do the processing in high quality and they have to take shortcuts. The video quality of the iPhone 5s is great for a phone, but my post was about processing it properly for far better footage (like in a possible upcoming GH4). Processing it properly, to get rid of aliasing, moire and getting the most possible resolution out of the footage while keeping the color information - whilst outputting it to a suitable compressed format tailored for high quality output.

If you do it with proper downsampling algorithms optimized for quality, you'll need beefy hardware if you want it done in realtime, especially when we're talking more than 24 fps, 10-bit.

Also, I'm perfectly well aware of Qualcomm chips. Our company uses those for hardware encoding video on smart phones.


Aliasing and moire in iPhone video is because of sensor itself and method of readout. If you gonna line skip, even an Intel Xeon CPU cant clean its mess. there are lots of powerful hardware out there that can handle those so called properly-processing. even a hacked 5d mark3 can do it: read a larg amount of data from sensor, properly processe it and output as DNG. and If raw frames are not actually full frame is because of damn buffer, not CPU. Nikon V1 can output 60x10mp NEF raw files per second. and Ive never heard any pro says V1 raw files are not properly processed!
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I think this is the best example of where you and I differ in our priorities.  A Red Epic is cheaper than an Alexa Studio and almost 5 times the resolution on paper.  But still, I'd choose an Alexa over the Epic.  

 

Ah yes, but you snipped out all the important stuff from the post such as the 5D MK III is a hacked stills camera and all the ergonomics and workflow issues the BMPCC has.

 

You also run into diminishing returns once you get up to the image quality of Alexa at 2K.  There is a point where resolution is so high upping it further is not a good use of your resources... The Canon 5D MK III is not at that point.

 

An Alexa is not to an Epic what a stock 5D MK III is to a Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100.  There are still a lot of questions about the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 that need to be answered but it is possible that when you step back and look at this camera holistically it trounces the 5D MK III and the BMPCC and does it for less.  Now it isn't going to necessarily have the low light performance or the shallow depth of field but in a lot of general shooting it has the potential to stun.  Personally after looking at the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 I felt it has one of the most significant improvements of image quality I've seen in that price range.  The thing is no nonsense sharp.  It doesn't take an expert or pixel peeping to see what that thing does.  And it does it all in an ergonomic nonhacked package.  Pay your two grand.  Buy some memory cards and start shooting.  No hacking, no additional lenses, no ND filter, no adapters.  Just no nonsense out of the box for less than the other two solutions.

 

I mentioned the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100.  I didn't say get a Samsung Note 3.  Yes a Samsung Note 3 shoots 4K but no one is saying ALL 4K is better than all 1080p or 2K.  I definitely have an issue with what I saw with some of the highlights in the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 video, but assuming those issues were due to contrast set too high, overexposure, etc the camera could be really awesome.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes, but you snipped out all the important stuff from the post such as the 5D MK III is a hacked stills camera and all the ergonomics and workflow issues the BMPCC has.

 

You also run into diminishing returns once you get up to the image quality of Alexa at 2K.  There is a point where resolution is so high upping it further is not a good use of your resources... The Canon 5D MK III is not at that point.

 

An Alexa is not to an Epic what a stock 5D MK III is to a Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100.  There are still a lot of questions about the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 that need to be answered but it is possible that when you step back and look at this camera holistically it trounces the 5D MK III and the BMPCC and does it for less.  Now it isn't going to necessarily have the low light performance or the shallow depth of field but in a lot of general shooting it has the potential to stun.  Personally after looking at the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 I felt it has one of the most significant improvements of image quality I've seen in that price range.  The thing is no nonsense sharp.  It doesn't take an expert or pixel peeping to see what that thing does.  And it does it all in an ergonomic nonhacked package.  Pay your two grand.  Buy some memory cards and start shooting.  No hacking, no additional lenses, no ND filter, no adapters.  Just no nonsense out of the box for less than the other two solutions.

 

I mentioned the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100.  I didn't say get a Samsung Note 3.  Yes a Samsung Note 3 shoots 4K but no one is saying ALL 4K is better than all 1080p or 2K.  I definitely have an issue with what I saw with some of the highlights in the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 video, but assuming those issues were due to contrast set too high, overexposure, etc the camera could be really awesome.

 

LOL, you are sucked into the resolution war,you are only comparing resolution and sharpness,  it would be unwise to think the AX100's image trounces the mk3/BMPCC's image, 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally after looking at the Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 I felt it has one of the most significant improvements of image quality I've seen in that price range.

 

Indeed.  Also, as you say, a video camera is a video camera.

 

It's built to do certain tasks quite well and that matters.  I have a client for which I shoot travel footage; exotic locations, 12-16 hour days, all run and gun.  This camera will get the job done for them easily and with greater quality than what they're using now.  

 

As such for some assignments it's an easy decision.  The gear fits so I'd use it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is the best example of where you and I differ in our priorities.  A Red Epic is cheaper than an Alexa Studio and almost 5 times the resolution on paper.  But still, I'd choose an Alexa over the Epic.  

 

And you'd be in the company of a lot of respected DPs that have made the transition to digital.

 

Arri has proven since the introduction of the Alexa that, when it comes to digital, how you fill those rows and columns is ultimately more important than how many rows and columns you're filling.  Higher and higher resolution and more and more DR and wider and wider color gamut are all goals the engineers busy working away at Sony or RED understand.  They're practical problems with practical solutions, overcome by throwing more and faster engineering at them.  These engineers aren't going to create better cameras though.

 

Last night I finally got around to watching Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master and immediately thought about where we were going here.  It's almost poetic that this film was released the same year as the first installment of The Hobbit, a shitty looking 4K movie shot on RED.  I'm not anti-RED and there are plenty of good looking RED films, this isn't one of them and this film is a good example of what's missing from RED (and Sony's) path.

 
Reading about their workflow, on The Master, it reinforces my feelings that 4K and beyond, with digital cameras, is really a problem for filmmaking, and it's not just about resolution.  Nobody has ever complained that 65mm made actors or sets or props or make up look bad.  The Master was a mixed 65mm (mostly) and 35mm show, graded photochemically with both print and DCP distribution.  They did four separate release finishes for this film, with true photochemical for 70mm and 35mm prints.  It's crazy.  But for their DI they scanned the 5-perf 65mm at 8K and the 4-perf 35mm at 6K for an eventual 4K DCP finish.
 
More than once I've read, based on DP and colorist commentary, that anamorphic 35mm with a digital 4K finish is considered minimally what you need if you care about preserving most of what's there in the neg, where 2K is an abomination, but 6K for spherical when you're not shooting 8-perf seems excessive by conventional wisdom.  Everything I've read over the years about how obsessive P.T. Anderson is over the photography of his films leads me to believe they weren't assigning film this level of resolution unless it warranted it.  Every aspect of his acquisition and release methodology was thoroughly tested.  My own experience on dozens and dozens of films working with scanned 35mm imagery concurs.
 
Making 4K actually look good with digital cameras isn't something that seems part of the conversation at these electronics shows and soft lenses is the current bandaid but I think it's just that.  They're not confronting head on a fundamental flaw in how these sensors are recording reality so discretely and unattractively.  Resolution is to blame but film proves this to be false.
 
For the 35mm portions of The Master  the emphasis was on the sharpest lenses available, so that the footage cut well with the 65mm.  Meanwhile DP after DP are on record choosing reportedly soft lenses, like Cooke S4,  for high resolution digital acquisition, otherwise finding the look is harsh and unappealing.  Moreover, PT Anderson requires his films be shot on the slowest stocks available, ensuring the smallest possible grain.  DP Mihai Malaimare brought his personal 85mm Zeiss Jena for Panavization, the sharpest 85mm he's ever used or seen, and Panavision found a matching set of expanded focal lengths already in their possession.  
 
All this emphasis on resolution didn't make the film less beautiful.  On the contrary, I can't think of the last time I saw close-ups in a motion picture that inspired this much awe.  It was just astounding.  And the color.  Seeing a film, shot on film, with a photochemical grade that looks this amazing also points out just how over-graded a majority of films are, regardless of the origination.  There's a lot of "just because you can doesn't mean you should" sort of observations one could make.
 
All the criticisms levied against The Hobbit and DP after DP working around and against the "edge" of Ultra-HD (some of which, yes, is preserved even in 2K or 1080P reductions), this was never the case with film, shooting with what we know to be higher resolving power than 4K.  I think we need to be shifting the conversation away from just the simple number of rows and columns and to how they're being filled.  Video engineers did finally get around to giving us the ability to shoot video with film-like gamma curves, finally appreciating that we don't like our movies looking like the nightly news.  Now they need to appreciate that 4K+ for movies needs to be different than 4K+ for covering Formula-1 or football.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Aliasing and moire in iPhone video is because of sensor itself and method of readout. If you gonna line skip, even an Intel Xeon CPU cant clean its mess. there are lots of powerful hardware out there that can handle those so called properly-processing. even a hacked 5d mark3 can do it: read a larg amount of data from sensor, properly processe it and output as DNG. and If raw frames are not actually full frame is because of damn buffer, not CPU. Nikon V1 can output 60x10mp NEF raw files per second. and Ive never heard any pro says V1 raw files are not properly processed!

 

Yes. Again, why do you think they chose lineskipping for the iPhone 5s video? You yourself said the iPhone 5s video was flawless. It is not. If they'd do a proper resampling from 1440p or higher down to 720p without line skipping and proper high quality video encoding, I can assure you - they would not be able to do it in realtime at 120 fps.

(I don't know about the sensor in iPhone, but there are sensors that very well can output higher resolutions at up to 120 fps - but it's still very resource intensive if you want to process the full sensor data and resample it down to 720p or 1080p from a full readout. Line skipping might or might not be necessary from sensor standpoint in an iPhone.)

 

Does 5dmk3 have the power to take 4k-10 bit raw and downsample that to 1080 in realtime 24fps or so? Nope. Outputting RAW is wholly another thing. That means reading data fast and outputting data fast. It's more about I/O than it is about a processor actually doing heavy processing. Downsampling high resolution at high quality at realtime framerates for video is much more difficult processing.

 

So, why doesn't the Nikon V1 output 4k Prores, 4k h.264 or downsample 4k to 1080p to Prores / higher rate H.264? (No, it doesn't have the processing capabilities to do the proper DOWNSAMPLING and ENCODING in realtime).

 

And, the downsampling is key if you really want the best possible resolution and accurate color for 1080p with RGGB grid array sensors. My whole argument in the original post was: from a manufacturer stand point it makes much more sense to go 4k and let the user downsample in post to achieve excellent 1080p, it is much more expensive to do if you want all the processing done in realtime in-camera.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"And, the downsampling is key if you really want the best possible resolution and accurate color for 1080p with RGGB grid array sensors."

Well, yes, we had this discussion before. A downsampled image can't by any means increase accuracy. It can have no visible aliasing, and that's a good thing.

Done right, a 4k clip downsampled to 1080 will *look* better than a genuine 1080 clip - if there was one, because you simply can't have absolute accuracy.

I am curious to see the first few hundred tests. Will they look like Vermeers (I think Jan Vermeer was mentioned somewhere above, a painter famous for depicting details, which in art remained an exception)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...