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SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post

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Devinda Fernando
SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:08:24 am

This seems to be a hotly debated topic and no one seems to have a definitive answer? Is there any benefit to shooting in 4K if your final Output is going to be 2K? I have read a few articles that swear by shooting in 4K and then downscaling to get a better image output, but surely it makes no sense that 'additional' detail is preserved in the process? Logically it should follow that when you go from 8 Million Pixels back to 2 Million pixels that you lose all the higher resolution from the 4K image? Does this make sense?


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David Battistella
Re: SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post
on May 13, 2015 at 6:24:05 am

I would use a film analogy to answer your question. Would shooting a larger negative format give you a bit more resolution? detail? Wiggle room in post? Would a 16mm print look better if it came from 35mm neg.

I'm of the belief that good downscaling is slightly better than passing through the original resolution

IE 4K>2K might be slightly nicer than 2K>2K

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Devinda Fernando
Re: SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post
on May 13, 2015 at 6:34:11 am

Thanks for the response but that doesn't really answer the question about the actual science and technical details of the issue. Is 4K to 2K better image quality or not? It should be straight forward Physics right? I mean, I do get your point about the wiggle room with 4K... that is not the issue, It certainly is beneficial to have the ability to pan and scan in editing, but then there is a significant downside because you have to work with huge files, and your post production workflow slows down significantly.


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David Battistella
Re: SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post
on May 13, 2015 at 7:06:56 am

In my opinion and in my experience. It is superior. Now, I did not take out a "pixelometer" but the Full debayer of RED footage acquired at 4K and above to 2K is better. Looking at it as a whole, in terms of direct advantages, there are many. This is why more 4K camera are appearing on the market, even for 2K it makes a lot of sense to shoot 4K and above.

Anything you acquire 2K today (like SD 10 years ago) becomes a bit useless in the future. I doubt a lot of SD content is going to be upreszzed to 4K but why uprez when you can downrez.

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Devinda Fernando
Re: SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post
on May 13, 2015 at 7:14:43 am

I think you have to also consider the term "4K" also... Not all 4K is the same. While it may be the same Size (pixels and dimensions) you have 4K that is 8 bit, 12 bit, 14 bit, etc... so saying that 4K is better than 2K is not always true. A 2K Raw 12 bit piece of footage can be more detailed in terms of color space than a 4K 8 Bit - which is what a lot of these lower end cameras record in. So basically like the Panasonic GH4 you are getting Gimmick 4K, which might help to sell cameras but not great when you want to consider the richness of the footage for professional purposes.


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Devinda Fernando
Re: SHOOTING in 4K then Downscaling to 1080P in Post
on May 13, 2015 at 7:19:01 am

I think you have to also consider the term "4K" also... Not all 4K is the same. While it may be the same Size (pixels and dimensions) you have 4K that is 8 bit, 12 bit, 14 bit, etc... so saying that 4K is better than 2K is not always true. A 2K Raw 12 bit piece of footage can be more detailed in terms of color space than a 4K 8 Bit - which is what a lot of these lower end cameras record in. So basically like the Panasonic GH4 you are getting Gimmick 4K, which might help to sell cameras but not great when you want to consider the richness of the footage for professional purposes.

I also personally think that it will be several decades or more before 4K becomes the norm for TV and Computer Screens... Most TV in the world are still PAL and NTSC... I work in a country that has 30% of the TV screens still in Black and White.


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