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4k : does it worth the effort?
  • So we can buy 4k cameras since some time ago...

    Some people can buy just because they have enough money, other people probably need to sell some used gear to get a 4k camera. There are cheap cameras like the G7, midprice like G8 and GH4 and more expensive cameras like the new GH5. In some choices you get the sensor stabilization also.

    But the question is: do you need 4K? Do your clients, do your audience need 4k? Better have two 1080p cameras or one 4k camera?

    If you are shooting weddings I think it will be better use a 4k camera, because new couples probably will have a 4k smarttv in the new home... They want to see the gorgeous 4k image with their happy faces, and all the beauty cerimony and celebration.

    If you are doing corporate videos, probably the employees will see the video projected in a low resolution projector, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x720 or, if lucky, a full hd projector. They will also see in the low resolution computer corporation monitors. The clients probably will see in computer monitors or maybe a DVD or BluRay disc, or a pendrive... Much better have a low datarate 1080p video compatible with all devices instead of a high datarate 4k file.

    If you are talented enough to make a living from narrative short movies or feature films, and documentaries, so that is a big question: will 4k get more attention to my production? Will it worth dealing with 4k files in the timeline slowing the editing experience? How much people will see my movie in 4K? 2% or maybe 5%? And then another big question: will 4k help me to sell my movie in video on demand sites? May I upload a 30Mbps H265 or may I upload a 50 Mbps H264 file? Ohhh! a 12 Mbps 1080p would be easy to upload... And then you perceive that a good story in fullhd would be better than a bad story in 4k...

    To be honest, whatching MadMen on NetFlix I do not care if the streaming is 480p, 720p or 1080p. The camera, the light, the photography, the talents are so good that the final resolution does not matter so much. Do you prefer MadMen in 1080p or House of Cards in 4K?

    Is 4k the new 35mm and 1080p the new low budget 16mm? Or 1080p keep the 35mm position and 4k is a plus, a 70mm IMAX?

    Is 4k more related to the luxury of the indie filmmaker who own a 4k tv and are salivating for a 4k camera just to shoot and see the world in 4k?

    Come and see my new movie! A super hiper mega ultra premium special powerful production "THE 4K GIRL" Soon in all VOD sites and also in UHDBLURAY!

    4k cameras can deliver a better 1080p image, editing in 4k and then doing a downscaled render, less aliasing, more resolution. Or to make it simple: you have all resolutions the world can ask you to have. But does it worth the effort? Is this choice more related to money? That is the question! Or that are the questionsssssss...

    If I was a movie distributor I would say: do not worry about resolution, 720p is the minimum good enough.

  • 18 Replies sorted by
  • To answer your question, I would ask another question:
    Is there any aspect of 4K that by itself, without any other consideration, would make you switch? And there are actually several answers to that,even though only one would be enough. First of all, when you release a project in 4K, you are automatically put in a smaller, more exclusive category. On YouTube, you can filter by 4K, and lots of people do. So that is one reason, which by itself would be sufficient.
    Next, post production: you get a big advantage by using 4K. That's enough to switch.

  • I have a theory my friend.

    Resolution is also an instrument of narrative.

    Let me explain this situation. We have all sometime maybe 10 years ago, maybe 6 years ago, downloaded footage of any movie, that was in a bad resolution recorded from the inside of the theater. Years before i remember buying VCD and having the same problem. Footage of bad resolution and color.

    Even though i keep on seeing this movies, and imagining, how was the grass, or maybe if that was a maple tree, or what ever would it be, sometimes i saw a conversation and didn't recognize the t shirts trade mark, my imagination completed this, and the PERCEPTION was already done by the time the thought was processed. I thought the t shirt was brand boss, and that the actress dress was a beautiful dress with roses like texture.

    Later on when i watched the movie all over again years later maybe in HD or good SD, for my surprise i didn't like the movie that much. There was too much data, i was shocked by the T shirt it was another brand. The grass was no the type i imagined, and that fucking tree was an oak. The dress was distracting my attention. My PERCEPTION was changed, and like a GOOD BOOK, MY IMAGINATION WENT ON, AND WITH OUT THE RESOLUTION I had completed many data, textures, colors, and even the feel. Resolution in this case, on detail, ruined my perception of the film.

    Later i began to think that detail and resolution are very good friends, but, some times detail, can be extracted from the resolution so the perception is completed from the viewers point of view.

    This does work, and come in so many flavors, macrobloking, bad processing, glitches, etc.

    Resolution give us the possibility to persive detail in a more realistic way, that sometimes, with a bad choice of frame rate and shutter, ruin the experience or makes it shine.

    So. Yes 720p is good enough, 320x240 is good enough all adults 50 years or older has been watching that resolution for long time, and data was transferred, interpreted, enjoyed, and commented.

    So you are now in wassup hanging out sharing videos of videos recorded, from a monitor on to a cell and the recorded again from other cel and transferred as video file.

    You see a little white dog a music he falls down kind of cute. owwww how nice. You cant even see the dog pedigree or maybe what kind of floor he was in, but the interpretation of the image was done.

    This is important to notice, cos now we are in an age of high resolution, and the era where more bad quality footage is shared and enjoyed as good as 10k.


  • I like a good story, told well. I think that resolution could figure in to the "told well" part of the equation.

    On the other hand, 4k porn is pretty cool and there usually isn't much "story" to it. Nothing like an 80-inch (measured diagonally, of course) 4k vagina to start (or end) the day.

  • Good dissertations, and... LOL!

  • Silent hand cranked film > sound film > colour film > video > SD > HD > 4K > 8K etc It's just a technological evolution. Choose the format that works for you. In the broadcast world the move to 4K acquisition has been steady due to greater post production flexibility. There are many distribution formats and resolutions these days so it makes sense to use the maximum resolution available that does not hinder the post production process. For my own private videos I shoot 4K and master in HD, which allows for a 4K version in future if required.

  • I like the GH2 multiaspect sensor, and I like to use old lenses with focal reducer on it. 720p60 upscales pretty good to 1080p !!!

    I like the APSC size sensor in NEX-5n and I like to use it alone or with focal reducer on it to get close to full frame. It does 1080p60 !!! Aliasing exists, but not so bad.

    My conclusion at this moment is: it does not worth selling these two cameras to get one G7... One camera replacing two = not good. G7 do not have 4k60p = not good. My computer is old = not so good for 4k.

    Another important point: old legacy lenses do not have enough sharpness for 4k, and I do not have m43 lenses...

  • I do feel like if you look at the ultimate goal and that is image .. the king of image has been the alexa for the last 5-6 years and for a reason ,resolution not really being one of them .. hope few in the lower end camera makers start taking the route of best image at hd or 2k level as ultimate goal.

  • the king of image has been the alexa for the last 5-6 years and for a reason ,resolution not really being one of them ..

    One of the reasons was sensor spectrum sensitivity curves :-)

  • Canon C100 is full hd as ultimate goal, a 4k sensor recording 1080p, four pixels downsampled to one pixel, but the datarate is low, maybe good enough... with wide dr profile, but it is big and expensive.

    If we consider the G7 and GH4 recording in 4k and render to 1080p after editing, these camera can be considered great for 1080p.

    Maybe the Sony A6000 can be considered improved for 1080p due to a good sensor readout.

  • Just shoot what you've got. Good lighting and correct exposure goes a long way. Most of all - just stop worrying, go out and do it. That's the advice I've always heard anyway

  • @apefos

    Just some good price NX500, with your approach it'll last you next 5 years. :-) And if you'll need you could use 4K.

  • NX500 can be good option, also A6300, G7 and so on...

    But best advice is to do something... with the good old GH2 and the Nex-5n...

  • Okay now everybody start to drop names: bmpcc raw, does HD get any better for the price? (minus sd-cards ;-)

  • @ apefos "Another important point: old legacy lenses do not have enough sharpness for 4k, and I do not have m43 lenses..."

    Old lenses are fine for 4k. I use old Pentax lenses and get GREAT results. If I want super sharp landscapes or wide shots I may use Panasonic lenses to take advantage of the electronic correction in the camera.

  • For me shooting 4K is about delivering maxed-out 1080p. Same reason photos intended for electronic distribution aren't shot at 2MP, even though that's what they'll be delivered at on the web. Having space to crop, stabilize, fake tighter shots, etc is very useful. Not to mention that the 4K on most cameras is much cleaner, in terms of noise and aliasing/moire, than 1080p. When 4K displays and quality distribution are finally ubiquitous, we'll use 6K or even 8K cameras for it.

  • While TV broadcast stay in the Full HD 1080p as a standard for television, all the 1080p cameras will remain usable. Sony NEX, Canon EOS, Nikon, Lumix, etc... Any 1080p camera will be good enough.

    Most of cinema screens are 2k, and 4k cinemas are considered special theaters with higher ticket prices.

    When the television broadcast make the turn to 4k as a standard, then the 1080p cameras will start to be obsolet. But not obsolet from day to night, not so fast, it will be a transition with both 4k and FullHD living together for some time, maybe some years.

    Also there is an important thing to consider when we think 4k versus FullHD: which screen will be used buy the audience to see the content? Smartphones? Tablets or Notebooks? Desktop computers? TV sets? Home theather projectors? Cinema Theaters? This is very important to consider.

    There are researches in the internet showing the average percentage of screens used to watch online videos (youtube, vimeo and others). These researches shows 4k smart tvs as only 2% to 5% of the total screens used to see the online videos. Also these researches shows desktop computers decreasing and smartphones and tablets increasing. So a FullHD camera will remain very capable, even after tv broadcast turn to 4k standard because most of people will be using small screens, and 4k for small screens is just overkill.

    Home theater and corporate projectors are 1080p as a maximum resolution, 4k projectors are just impossible expensive.

    I think there are some important reasons for 4k:

    1 - your own pleasure: if you have a 4k tv set you will want to delight yourself and your family and your friends with a 4k wonderful image.

    2 - your eyes got trained and now you have already perceived that the 1080p cameras, all of them have some amount of aliasing, even the GH2, and you want to shot 4k and downsize to 1080p to get the best possible 1080p.

    3 - your audience have 4k screens, for example a wedding video for a new couple who have a 4k tv set.

    4 - you have sponsors for a project, and sponsors are rich people who owns 4k tv sets, and you wan to delight your sponsors with the best image.

    5 - you are not so good cinematographer and you need reframing and stabilizing in post production.

    6 - you are selling video on demand content and there are some amount of people hungry for 4k content (don't forget: script and direction are more important than resolution)

    Maybe there are more reasons for 4k, if you know them, please share...

    Think like this: today 4k is the IMAX film and Full HD is the 35mm film, today 4k is a plus. But when 4k becomes a standard for tv and cinema, it will be the 35mm film and the Full HD will be the 16mm film. Remember that there will always be audience for a good 16mm film.

  • Okay now everybody start to drop names: bmpcc raw, does HD get any better for the price? (minus sd-cards ;-)

    Their SD cards are cheaper than ever!! I spent a small fortune on cards when it first came out. But now it is dirt cheap.