With the production hype machines rolling out the next big thing i.e. 4 K – a lot of people are asking why? We just got used to HD, what the heck do we need 4K for? There are no 4k displays to show it on anyway! What a stupid idea! “Au contraire mon frère.”
Currently, we shoot all of our projects in HD yet 95% of what we do ends up the web. Why am I not just shooting SD instead? Two reasons: First I never know when that footage is going to be magically repurposed for another project. (This plays into my golden rule of acquisition – shoot the highest res you can cause you can always go down but you can’t always up res.) Second: shooting in HD but cutting in an SD timeline lets me “optically” (ok its technically digital but you get the point) manipulate my image. I can achieve a perfectly timed zoom or pan. Given today’s lack of story boards, compressed production schedules and even less time allotted for the talent on camera, getting the multiple takes in different frame sizes can be next to impossible. Solution: shoot it loose and cut to the optically manipulated close up when needed.
Ok, back to why 4K? Beside the same 2 reasons I just mentioned for shooting HD?
1) The web is only getting faster and can handle higher res imagery with better compression codecs (h.265).
2) 4K consumer displays are already available.
3) With the OLED display technology coming of age , I expect to see video display built into architecture (e.g. wrapping a whole building) clothing , cars, amusement attractions, etc.
4) Umm, because better (image size, color and resolution) is better?
I won’t speculate on how long will this 4k trend will last, but with tablet displays more and more capable, processor speeds ever increasing and costs dropping, I’d say 4k will definitely have its place. Now it’s just a matter of how long till 8K ? The Japanese television network NHK, is ultimately shooting for 8K service in the future with 4K service rolling out this year. NHK believes 8K is the limit of human eye resolution and this is why they are eventually aiming for 8K. Too bad my eyesight is starting to go.
Drop on by if you’d like to see 4k for yourself.