Sunday, 27 January 2013

4K Ultra-hd to be broadcast in July 2014 - time to shoot.

For stock footage and stills of London go to London Photography and Video. 

There has been quite a split amongst video, tv and film makers about the relative merits of 4K (now known as ultra-hd) television and whether it should be bypassed altogether in favour of 8K (whatever that will be called but super-ultra-hd sounds quite good in a Japanese accent).

Now it looks like 4K is going to get it's 15 minutes of fame although it may only last 2 years - I love a good cliché mixed with a tautology - as it appears Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has decided to launch its 4K broadcast in July 2014, two years ahead of predicted schedules, and 8K tv in 2016. The advanced 4K launch date could be to encourage the purchasing of (already available in Japan) ultra-hd televisions but more likely because the department's minister is a massive soccer fan and the 2014 World Cup final will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro that month.

What is more certain is that the demand for 4K footage will start to ramp up and so will the amount of cameras available to shoot it. Hopefully this will also lower the price since acquisition of 4K at the moment is quite high mainly because of the outboard recording unit. 

You can bare-bones it and shoot on the Canon DSLR EOS 1D C, which if you could buy for £6000 instead of nearer £9K would be snapped up faster than a sprat in a salmon farm. One of the reasons Canon have given for the high price of the 1D C is that there are only going to produce them in small numbers; I can see the price dropping as Canon decide to produce them in higher numbers when initial sales to early adopters tail off. CVP in London have already shown a £1340 drop in the initial price.

CVP selling the Canon EOS 1D C

My dream machine though is the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera MKII with a larger sensor (so wide angles are possible) that can shoot 2.5K in RAW and 4K in GoPro's Cineform codec. Even if the price doubled for such a beast I doubt Blackmagic Design would have much trouble selling them.

Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera with important new logos!

But for now many people are going to shoot 4K on a GoPro at 12 frames per second and run the footage through Twixtor to produce full speed 4K footage. If you can handle the semi-fisheye look the quality is quite good. There is a big gap in the market just waiting to be filled and I think that Sony have the basics with the superb NEX-FS700 - just need a less pricey way of recording its 4K output.

Sony NEX-FS700
Certainly the Japan Government's announcement will accelerate the need for 4K footage and hopefully we will get the kit to shoot it at a price we can justify.

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