Friday, 2 November 2012

The evangelists and agnostics of 4K video

One of the best things about editing TV programmes is that you get to see them in the best quality possible straight out of the edit suite. With a broadcaster approved monitor and a fast computer the pictures often look great - the only thing that would make them better is watching them from a comfy sofa - perks of an executive producer, not a humble editor.

At home I have Sky HD which is pretty good and Freeview which isn't. I also have a powerful computer which plays out my 4K timelapses in Cineform QuickTime and suddenly everything before looks inadequate. I don't have a 4K monitor but the detail on a decent HD TV is amazing - you can almost smell the congestion zone in some of my London shots.

But not everybody thinks 4K is a necessary step for the future. Philip Bloom has this to say:
"8K is the future. Not 4k. Now don’t get me wrong – 4k is smashing, but the difference between 2K (essentially full HD) and 4k is not the leaps and bounds that we had from SD to HD. Not to my old eyes, and by the time we all have 8K, won’t see a bloody thing but THIS is the progress leap that will make the difference."

But for Jim Jannard the founder of Red the release of new 4K Sony cameras is confirmation that 4K will be as big as HD:
"Sony has come to the party. God love them. The F65 is a true 4K camera (although not 8K as it is advertised). The F5 and F55 are 4K cameras soon to be released. There are 4K display panels being released. 4K projectors. The world is finally coming to its senses. We predicted this 6 years ago. Now it is here" 

Now Philip Bloom and Jim Jannard have rarely sung from the same hymn sheet but I expected cordiality over this one. I have seen material projected in 4K from the Canon 1D C and the Canon C500 and it looks pretty fantastic but then it had the best post production money can buy so it should. 

It is over 6 years since Sky launched HD transmission in the UK so I feel we are due an upgrade and 8K is just too far removed from practicality, but material is being filmed, edited and shown in 4K right now. It is the near future and I feel every TV production company should start to look to that future.

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