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OPINION: Do you need 4K (narrative) to have shot at Distribution?


lafilm

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What do you guys think?  I've read major differences of opinion as of late on-line.

Do you really need to shoot 4K if you're making a narrative feature?  (to have a realistic shot at distribution?)

I'm not talking about "self-distribution" here.

A film distribution company purchasing your film for either Theatrical or VOD/Cable.

Are we at the point now of 4K or bust?

Thanks for any advice.

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Distribution has 0% to do with what kind of camera you shoot on. It's all about the story, target audience, cast, etc. Look at Tangerine: picked up for distribution by Magnolia pictures, shot complete

ask away, i'm happy to share. this is our first feature film to make a healthy profit and we're not even counting future revenue from the paramount release. believe it or not, it's a very good feeling

I picked up a 1D C. Forgive me, I fell for the hype! (looks amazing)

one day, but not yet. we recently licensed a micro-budget crime drama titled Down and Dangerous to Paramount for international VOD and all they are asking for is a 1080p/23.976 master. this is about as current as it gets, by the way. worldwide release date is May 18, 2015.

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one day, but not yet. we recently licensed a micro-budget crime drama titled Down and Dangerous to Paramount for international VOD and all they are asking for is a 1080p/23.976 master. this is about as current as it gets, by the way. worldwide release date is May 18, 2015.

Zak, I will look for Down and Dangerous. Shot on C300?

Since you own a distribution company, what do you think about this. With 4K, if you were to start production on a feature film right now, which basically means 9 months or so from now you would be finished (ready for distribution).  So now were getting close to 2016. Would you say 4K with this scenario?

 

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No, I work in movie theater projection and 99 out of a hundred films are delivered in the 2K format. The majority of cinemas have 2K projectors still and Mad Max, The Hobbit, and many others were mastered in 2K and received IMAX releases. We are a couple of years away from 4K being the cinema standard. Perfect 2K is plenty. I've seen up scaled 720p used for documentaries often.

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one day, but not yet. we recently licensed a micro-budget crime drama titled Down and Dangerous to Paramount for international VOD and all they are asking for is a 1080p/23.976 master. this is about as current as it gets, by the way. worldwide release date is May 18, 2015.

Zak, assume I make a microbudget, horror movie that I am proud of, what is the best way to get it into the hands of distributors? I know festivals used to be the best way, but now with such a crowded field and since I have heard that some films already have distribution before they even hit the festival circuit. Also, is there a market for screenplay sales on a microbudget, VOD level? Thanks. 

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Look for other horror films like yours that are out there, with good ad-supported multi-platform distribution and contact those producers to find out who their domestic and international distributor was. chances are, they have a "type" that you're likely going to fit. I went with Gravitas Ventures for domestic and they have been fantastic. 

if you're looking for contact info, you can ask for an introduction, or get an imdb pro account and call them up. Also, I remember getting a compiled list of direct email and phone contacts for a ton of distributors as a member of the film specific web site.

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I recently lost out on a job for multiple music videos because I don't have a 4K camera. Pretty annoying.

​Oh man that sucks. Sorry to hear that. Would they take something relatively cheap like the GH4? Or were they looking for something more like the RED/Canon C500/1D C

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​Oh man that sucks. Sorry to hear that. Would they take something relatively cheap like the GH4? Or were they looking for something more like the RED/Canon C500/1D C

​I'm sure they would have taken a GH4. The people were pretty damn clueless (to the point of not understanding the difference between primes/zooms; film school lol). And I said we could rent out a 4K camera, but they wanted someone experienced with 4K  cameras.  So the 4K bug is definitely hitting the otherwise unwashed masses.

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​I'm sure they would have taken a GH4. The people were pretty damn clueless (to the point of not understanding the difference between primes/zooms; film school lol). And I said we could rent out a 4K camera, but they wanted someone experienced with 4K  cameras.  So the 4K bug is definitely hitting the otherwise unwashed masses.

​Wow..Kristoferman. "The 4K bug is definitely hitting the otherwise unwashed masses".

What a frightening (and true) statement for a lot of filmmakers. I know FOUR off the top of my head that are shooting as we speak on HD (narrative film). They've got their entire fortunes/bank accounts into their art. And some other people's money!!! Christ almighty it could get ugly.

This conversation would scare the hell out of them.  And what director Eli Roth said about 4K distribution. See post/link above. 

The landscape is changing. Fast.

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Distribution has 0% to do with what kind of camera you shoot on. It's all about the story, target audience, cast, etc. Look at Tangerine: picked up for distribution by Magnolia pictures, shot completely on the iPhone 5s. You could shoot on the best camera in the world, with the best lighting, but if your story doesn't connect with an audience, you won't find distribution.

Now, getting hired to film on the other hand, that's a different question. Producers always want to shoot the best quality they can afford that still works with the story, so being a DP with a 4k camera is probably a good idea.

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Interesting.

It seems there is a huge portion of people that feel if you don't shoot 4K now in 2015 (on a narrative feature), you're in trouble.

Including HOSTEL horror director Eli Roth:

Watch below   

https://vimeo.com/118293793

 

​i missed where he said if you don't shoot 4K, you're in trouble. what I heard him say was it can be an advantage when dealing with places like Netflix who are leaders in providing 4K content. So of course, if you shoot and finish in 4K, you're checking a box for platforms looking for 4K content. But out of the thousands of regional distributors all over the world, that's an extremely small number.

also, notice at the beginning he says they finished their theatrical exhibition DCP in 2K. the current reality is that there are so few places where 4K can be delivered to an audience that it's going to be the case for a couple years. remember, I just licensed my movie to Paramount Pictures for int'l VOD a few months ago and their requested delivery specs didn't go any higher than 1080p.

all that being said, a distributor will take a movie they think they can sell, even if it was shot on SD and upres'd to 1080p. they aren't going to let something like resolution get in the way of making money.

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​i missed where he said if you don't shoot 4K, you're in trouble. what I heard him say was it can be an advantage when dealing with places like Netflix who are leaders in providing 4K content. So of course, if you shoot and finish in 4K, you're checking a box for platforms looking for 4K content. But out of the thousands of regional distributors all over the world, that's an extremely small number.

also, notice at the beginning he says they finished their theatrical exhibition DCP in 2K. the current reality is that there are so few places where 4K can be delivered to an audience that it's going to be the case for a couple years. remember, I just licensed my movie to Paramount Pictures for int'l VOD a few months ago and their requested delivery specs didn't go any higher than 1080p.

all that being said, a distributor will take a movie they think they can sell, even if it was shot on SD and upres'd to 1080p. they aren't going to let something like resolution get in the way of making money.

​you can easily upres a shot film on a decent camera like the alexa or f35 to 4k and no one will notice.  Actually recently my man Nate said he did a test between amira at 2.6k uprezed to 4k and sony f55 at 4k and the amira resolved more resolution.

it's all a gimmick.

4k is the next 3d.

Just there to sell tvs.  But not many people even notice 1080p vs 720p while watching 10-20 ft from a tv - and also compression is the major thing - not resolution - gosh in the US the TV cable stuff is soooo compressed - it has gotten to youtube levels of quality.

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Do you need it ?!

 

No

 

Should you have it, if you're upgrading anytime soon ?!

 

Yes !

 

I myself am leaving the 1080p this week, and joining forces with the 4k on the NX1, I've had some customers already asking for 4k, even though they would still go with me with 1080p, its just a matter of time until they "demand" it. For us, filmakers, its such a "relief" to be able to reframe and stabilize footage without many worries.

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