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Re: 4K might become a reality quicker than we think

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Tim Wilson
Re: 4K might become a reality quicker than we think
on Feb 10, 2014 at 2:55:16 am

[John Heagy] "Nope... most are shot in 2K which is just a bit over 1080x1920. Arri understands there's more important things than resolution when it come to making a good image. "

Alexa maxes out at 2880 x 1620, but yeah, I entirely concur and was writing a post to say this very thing when I saw yours go up. You're absolutely right: it's mostly 2K, because pixels do NOT equal resolution.

(FWIW, the last two Cinematography Oscars went to Alexa pictures, and if Gravity wins...and I think it will...that'd be the third 3D feature in a row!!!)

Even though it was 4-ish years ago, Avatar was indeed shot at 1920 x 1080, even though 4K cameras were available. The big screen doesn't NEED big captures if they look good.

What's especially interesting to me, though, is that indie shops, even one-man bands, get to this new tech long before features or TV do. While engineers were still arguing about how to deliver HD, event videographers were selling future-proofed wedding videos shot on HD.

The same was true with corporate video. You could shoot HD, and show it in the boardroom on plasma screens long before there was a way to broadcast it or put it on a disk. The smaller the scale project or shop, the easier it is to quickly adopt new formats -- and it's very much underway already.

So I would expect lots and LOTS of 4K/5K production for spots, music videos, corporate, and yes, even weddings, long before it's common in either features or broadcast.


The other irony is that with HD, there was no idea how to stream it, so HD internet was the last thing anyone was thinking of. We can yap about compression, but you know what? I'm totally OK with the HD video I stream from Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube through my Blu-ray player. The 3D streams are noticeably fuzzier than Blu-ray, but still, streamed, smothered, chopped and doubled 720p totally passes the straight face test.

(Credit to Kylee Wall for that Waffle House tech humor.)

And this time, ironically enough, it's going to be streams and downloads leading the way. Sony is already selling a 4K server with their 4K TVs that comes loaded with some of their movies (Taxi Driver! Yay! Beethoven! Ooops...), with a pretty decent download selection with reasonable prices for both rentals and purchases, and Samsung already has partnerships with Amazon to start streaming 4K in the next few months.

(For you tech nerds: the 4K big dog at Amazon is Ben Waggoner, the King of Compression. He was showing it at CES, and I can't imagine he'd miss NAB.)

I don't know if I should mention this, but my PHONE shoots 4K, and I gotta tell ya, the downcoverts over both HDMI and streaming are STUNNING. But c'mon, no reason to bring this up, because nobody in their right mind would dream of shooting anything important with their phone, right?

Right? RIGHT???

Tim Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW


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