Will Strauss looks at 6 reasons why 4k is so special


Will Strauss# TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Will Strauss
Issue 86 - February 2014
4k (or UHD) is everywhere. Whether you want it or not, it is (slowly) permeating the living room - in the form of TV sets - and gradually becoming more commonplace on location and in the studio. Someday soon it will be broadcast in the UK too. As Bob Pank points out on page 56 there are a number of reasons for this trend. So I wont cover that ground again here.

What I can tell you is this: with the additional dynamic range and greater colour latitude that it provides, 4k resolution finally brings digital cameras closer to the gold standard of 35mm film.

But, as always with new technology, it is still the skill and craft of the cinematographer, filmmaker, cameraperson or director that provides truly distinctive imagery: not the amount of pixels being captured.

Rather than obsessing over resolution we should continue to focus on the craft of visual storytelling and the aesthetic value each individual camera, or film stock, provides, says director of photography Stephen Murphy. In a world of ultra high resolution, the beauty of a grainy 16mm frame or a pixelated S-VHS image may be more important, and more powerful, then ever".

That said, we shouldnt (and couldnt) ignore 4k, so lets push on. Since 2007, when Red Digital Cinema made near-as-dammit 4k relatively affordable with the Red One, weve learnt a few things about UHD acquisition. Im going to share some of those with you.

4k provides more detail

I know, its not rocket science, but its true. BBC Natural History Unit creative director Mike Gunton, who is executive producer on an upcoming wildlife documentary series that was shot in 4k, describes it thus: [You can see it in the] textures of the water, mud and skin. They seem more intense. When we went from SD to HD you felt you could almost step into the frame. Almost like 3D, [4k is] giving another level of envelopment. Its difficult to be scientific about it but you feel it.

4k can help you to be more creative

Acquiring images at 4k allows for greater creative opportunities in post-production - especially when delivering in HD. Within a single shot you can reframe or zoom-in without noticeable quality loss and/or manipulate that extra detail to get the shot or shots, look or looks, that you want.
4k aids visual effects shots

Visual effect shots benefit from the additional detail that 4k provides. We like to shoot green screen in 4k because the subject is then usually composited into another space or scene, says Kerri Aungle, head of Data Lab at MPC. The higher the resolution, the better the composited subject will look in that other environment.

But, she urges, make sure you talk to your VFX guys before the camera starts rolling. I cant stress how important it is to speak to an experienced VFX or post studio before shooting 4k, she pleads. Each shoot has a bespoke approach and will need to be handled differently. The expertise that the studio can provide is essential to make everything run smoothly.

4k is instant

As with pretty much all digital acquisition, shooting in 4k allows you to see your material in full resolution and perform quality control tests right there and then on set. As Matt Platts-Mills of 4k London explains: Gone are all those worries about whether the shots have been exposed properly or [questions about whether] you have got the right shots. Working [in 4k] you simply flick through them there and then. That whole creative worry is gone and you can get on with focusing on all the other creative concerns.

You do need a DIT though if youre going to this successfully, he adds: [Editors] want good metadata and good quality rushes. You dont absolutely need a DIT but without one you miss out on that initial quality control. Going back for a re-shoot will cost you a lot more than hiring a DIT in the first place.

4k is for the future

Another obvious one: shooting in 4k can help to preserve footage for the long-term. I think marketing people call it future-proofing. Every single shot is an archive, says Gunton. Its also useful for stills. Every frame is a still for publicity.
With 4k, frame rates matter

Movement within a 4k shot doesnt hold up well if you use a low frame rate. So a higher one needs to be adopted. Theres no question that higher frame rates would give you a better image with motion, says BSkyBs Robin Broomfi eld who was involved in the commercial broadcasters 4k tests in 2013

There needs to be a debate about what format UHD [4k] comes up with though. I would hope that it would be at least 50p, which would be a step forward.

Theres plenty more of course: focus is very unsympathetic; you cannot get away with ENG lenses; nobody in the real world can (or wants to) currently deal with 4k raw footage; 4k is probably best viewed on monitors that are far bigger than the average suite (or living room) wall; and very few people can honestly predict how high 4k storage and post-production costs are going to be, or how long post will take, until a TV programme is actually post-produced and delivered that way. And then there are the workfl ows¦. but that is a whole different article.

In technology terms, 4k is everywhere. But as it has not yet gone mainstream within TV we can ignore it if we want to. But it probably wont go away. So we might as well embrace it.


Tags: iss086 | Will Strauss | 4k | Ultra High Definition | Red Digital Cinema | Red One | Canon EOS C500 | Canon EOS-1 D C | Blackmagic Production Camera 4k | For-A FT-One | JVC GY-HMQ10 | Red Scarlet | Red Epic | Red Epic Dragon | Sony NEX-FS700 | Sony F5 | Sony F55 | Sony F65 | Sony PXW-Z100 | Vision Research Phantom Flex4k | Will Strauss#
Contributing Author Will Strauss#

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Local TV debate at BVE North 2012

    Local TV debate at BVE North 2012

  • Matrox Unveils Monarch EDGE 4K Contribution Encoder at IBC 2018

    Matrox Unveils Monarch EDGE 4K Contribution Encoder at IBC 2018

  • 12G 4K microMUSA Jackfield and Fibre Termination Solutions from Canford at IBC 2018

    12G 4K microMUSA Jackfield and Fibre Termination Solutions from Canford at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Apantac 4k UHD HDMI/DVI Multiviewer with KVM at IBC 2018

    Apantac 4k UHD HDMI/DVI Multiviewer with KVM at IBC 2018

  • JVC 4K Connected Camera GY-HC550 and 500 at IBC 2018

    JVC 4K Connected Camera GY-HC550 and 500 at IBC 2018

  • IMT Vislink HCAM 4k UHD transmitter at IBC 2018

    IMT Vislink HCAM 4k UHD transmitter at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • 4K UHD Multi-viewer HDMI 2.0 from Apantac at NAB 2018

    4K UHD Multi-viewer HDMI 2.0 from Apantac at NAB 2018

  • Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

    Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

  • 4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

    4k and HEVC with Garland at BVE 2018

  • 6K Sony Venice and Sony 4k Palm Camcorders at IBC 2017

    6K Sony Venice and Sony 4k Palm Camcorders at IBC 2017

  • JVC 4K UHD Monitors at IBC 2017

    JVC 4K UHD Monitors at IBC 2017

  • The CFU5 4k Transmitter from Vislink at IBC 2017

    The CFU5 4k Transmitter from Vislink at IBC 2017

  • Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

    Wireless 4K Transmitter from DTC Domo Broadcast at IBC 2017

  • AJA Thunderbolt 3 IO 4k Plus at IBC 2017

    AJA Thunderbolt 3 IO 4k Plus at IBC 2017

  • HDR, 12G, 4k, IP - the range expands from Phabrix at NAB 2017

    HDR, 12G, 4k, IP - the range expands from Phabrix at NAB 2017

  • Quad 4k Capture and Stream with Maevex from Matrox at NAB 2017

    Quad 4k Capture and Stream with Maevex from Matrox at NAB 2017

  • 4k 60 Matrix from GDSYS at NAB 2017

    4k 60 Matrix from GDSYS at NAB 2017

  • HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

    HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

  • Apantac 4k live demo at NAB 2016

    Apantac 4k live demo at NAB 2016

  • Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

    Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

  • Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

    Snell Advanced Media (SAM) 4k workflow at IBC 2015

  • MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

    MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

  • Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

    Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

  • Garland at BVE 2017

    Garland at BVE 2017

  • Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

    Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

  • Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

    Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

  • Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

    Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2015

    AVIWEST at IBC 2015

  • BBright at IBC 2015

    BBright at IBC 2015

  • Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

    Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

  • Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

    Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

  • JVC at BVE 2015

    JVC at BVE 2015

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2015

    Grass Valley at BVE 2015

  • Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

    Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Tektronix at IBC 2014

    Tektronix at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

  • JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

    JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

  • MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

    MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

  • BBright at IBC 2014

    BBright at IBC 2014

  • Hitachi at IBC 2014

    Hitachi at IBC 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

  • Ateme at IBC 2014

    Ateme at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

  • Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

    Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

  • Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

    JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

    Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy at IBC 2013

    Cinegy at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

    MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

    Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Facilis at NAB 2013

    Facilis at NAB 2013

  • AJA at BVE 2013

    AJA at BVE 2013

  • JVC at BVE 2012

    JVC at BVE 2012

  • Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

    Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

  • Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

    Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

  • Autodesk at IBC2011

    Autodesk at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Philip Bloom chats 4k: BVE Day 2

    Philip Bloom chats 4k: BVE Day 2


Articles
Peli Air 1507 Review
Phil Vinter Originally named after a bird that carries its precious cargo through the skies, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before Peli released its Air range.
Tags: iss133 | peli | peli air 1507 | trekpak | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast
Nick Collier Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.
Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Taking on a self employed placement year
Joshua Round The idea of being self-employed or freelancing has always been somewhat terrifying for me. There is a level of uncertainty and responsibility that comes with the freedom of being self-employed, the likes of which makes me wonder why I chose to give it a go for my placement year as part of my university course - (BSc) Television and Broadcasting.
Tags: iss133 | placement year | university | student | education | portsmouth | Joshua Round
Contributing Author Joshua Round Click to read or download PDF