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Are we ready for 4k?


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#1 Drew

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 07:51 AM

I had several long conversations with different media industry types over the last few weeks about 4k after CES announcements with Netflix, Comcast etc where 4k will bypass the broadcast market and head straight into the internet market.

With the release of lower priced UHD/4k monitors/projectors at CES, the push toward 4k is really gaining momentum.  Now the question is how will this affect the underwater shooter who produce their own products (vs shooting for big productions)?  Imagine shooting your own 4k production and releasing it on Netflix,Youtube 4k or Hulu/Amazon (in HD) etc.

Now just remember it's not as easy as it seems.  iTunes, Netflix and the other online providers have very strict acceptance policies and often you will have to get a distributor who aggregates complete films for submission into each of these providers.  These distributors charge an upfront fee and do no marketing. They just submit the film to the online providers.  Everything else is on your own shoulders.  Fortunately, there are sites like indiegogo and kickstarter, which can help with fundraising.

So what do you think? Are you ready to go 4k for the internet market like Netflix etc?


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#2 thetrickster

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 08:15 AM

Well... I presume a lot of us here are purely amateurs and are just finally getting decent FullHD footage (with the likes of the GH3, MK3, BMPCC within easy reach)

 

But I appreciate you are asking in the pro domain...

 

Even here in Spain (which is in financial downturn) all the electrical shops have LOTS of Ultra HD screens on display - including monster 80/100" Sharp sets (talking 33,000€!!!) ... so I think there is a massive push after the failure of 3D to get people hooked on 4k.

 

Obviously you still need the material to view - which apart from the new 4k Blurays and YouTube - I don't know where to obtain 4k footage from?? So yes going straight to online platforms like Netflix etc makes sense.

 

If you are into stock video footage, then yes it makes sense to jump now, as you will have a lead in offering 4k footage, but for general video, I think we have a few years of 1080p being the pinnacle format. 

 

I don't have the processing power to edit native 4k stuff - but I'm happy editing 1080p stuff, so for me recording at 4k, would provide much better 1080 footage - and provide 4:4:4 (if down sampled to 1080p) even if recorded at 4:2:0... (if I have sums right..!!)...so that is of interest. 

 

H.265 and VP9 are still also relatively new and the only 4k codec I've seen is XAVC - which is a sony product, so making another step in post (if working with ProRes. etc)

 

Are we ready.. No.....but 4k is here to stay for sure.


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#3 kc_moses

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:02 AM

My short answer is Yes, and very soon.

 

For consumer, 4K tv is getting affordable, especially if you look into the TCL brand, not Sharp, Samsung and those big boys company.

 

When Panasonic GH4 release, more consumer would be able to get a hands on 4K capable camera without the price tag of a Red.

 

When H.265 codec become mainstream, online sharing will become common.



#4 CheungyDiver

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 05:46 PM

Defo 4K or even higher resolution will soon become mainstream. Most likely the video gaming crowd will drive it. Also online video streaming and dare I say, porn!  These IMHO are the earliest adopters for 4k as with HD when it replaces SD as these adopters will probably get the quickest ROI. When the price of 4K screens drop and that HDMI 2 becomes standard and providing 60hz or more then it will become common place. What about content? Well this is probably the best time to capture some if you are into this video business. The other area is design industry or motion capture. I am completely convinced that when you see how good 4K screen is compared with standard HD there is no going back. Yes yes there will alway be people disagreeing. Heck I don't care. Life is short and if new technology gives me more fun ways to enjoy....... 4K screens with the right content looks almost like real...almost. Here is some fun with 4K...Not sure if its just actors or real...funny all the same.

 

 

 

cheers


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#5 jonny shaw

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 07:47 PM

Nearly all my clients are now asking for 4K plus, very different from when HD came in and everyone was still wanting SD DVD's. I think people understand that it is hear to stay and offers production houses with some sort of investment in stock.


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#6 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:24 AM

I've yet to be asked for 4k, although my client base is on the whole UK Broadcast TV, so perhaps a different beast.

 

I'm not sure whether the ROI for the indie or self shooter/producer is going to be as quick as perhaps the providers like NetFlix etc. They'd need to buy the latest camera equipment (with a severely limited choice at present, so perhaps not the best tools for UW work with everything else considered), also beef up any post production processing power, storage space and allow for a bigger overhead on the time required for post production workflow.

 

Is there a big enough (any) increase on payment for providers to make that investment worthwhile? I doubt it, so if I was in that boat, I'd stick with HD for now, keep an eye on 4k, slip into it once the prices and technology are a little more bedded in.


Edited by bottlefish, 28 January 2014 - 12:25 AM.

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#7 Drew

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:25 AM

I do think broadcast is going to be later because of the cost of improving each station is pretty steep.  It's in the hundreds of millions for the entire US, not to mention worldwide.  So broadcast will join the 4k game later.  With fiber, the bandwidth will grow in the next few years.  I was just at a facility where they were throwing around 4k clips from around the world to work on.  

The new 4k cameras are getting bigger sensors but it's really about the capture media.  With the right codec (XAVCS), even a small SDXC card can handle 4k.  I wonder how the traditional camera makers like Canon will react since they have to protect their higher end models and they have no conjunctive products like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung etc with the 4k TVs etc.

I think unfortunately those who stay in HD too long will be forgotten, just like the SD guys when HD came to the market.


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#8 peterbkk

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:40 AM

4K will be like HD was to SD.  Or CDs to magnetic tape/vinyl. Or stereo to mono.  Some people will wonder why you need it.  But, once you've moved forward, you can't go back because, by comparison, the old stuff looks like crap.

 

So, yep, as soon as I can figure out a 4K system where I can carry the entire camera / housing on my back onto an airplane and I can operate it without a focus-puller, I'll make the switch...

 

Netflix and iTunes will either figure out that we are entering a new world where anyone can produce quality content, or someone else will start eating their lunch.  We already see vimeo entering into pay-to-watch content.  The differentiation of professional compared to amateur have never been blurrier...

 

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#9 MikeVeitch

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:46 AM

I just got my first TV about a year ago, now you are telling me I have to upgrade?  curses

 

oh wait, I have to upgrade my $70 per month for 512mb internet instead? 

 

hmmm

 

stupid technology.. :)


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#10 jonny shaw

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:41 PM

I am currently shooting / involved to two big ABC (Australia) and PBS projects and they are both being shot in 4 / 5k, PBS want the 4/5K as do the production houses as they understand the value to shooting at higher res and the value of stock footage libraries. The usual arguments for 'if it's a great shot SD will will still do' but the bulk of content that I am being asked for is UHD.

Beeb is shooting 4/5/6k plus I believe most big production houses (Nat History)


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#11 CheungyDiver

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:43 PM

Yep. Beeb is investing heavily on 4K mastering of nat. history content. Quite a few of the production houses is using Epic and Sony F55 (although the codex is still iffy). Since 2011 all the commercial shoots for UW I was involved in has been shot in 4K plus. Some uses Alexa topside (for 2k raw) but for UW its 4K and it is mostly Epic . Even some 3D TV movies for CCTV (China) and HK based productions are shot using 4K + cameras. The general public may not notice much as content shown on TV, network and Internet is mostly HD and even SD but the under current is definitely there for higher fidelity. Most are badly compressed.  People have  choices. Some are happy with SD or HD and will stay with that. Blissfully care less about anything new. Good for them. I don't agree with up-resing HD content to UHD. Its crap . Better to have the footage shot at 4K natively or higher. Like I said before the 4K resolution is here to stay. That does not mean HD or SD is going completely fade away overnight. 


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#12 Drew

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:35 AM

Mikey, 8k is going to be out in 2 years… hold out! :)


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#13 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:38 AM

I am currently shooting / involved to two big ABC (Australia) and PBS projects and they are both being shot in 4 / 5k, PBS want the 4/5K as do the production houses as they understand the value to shooting at higher res and the value of stock footage libraries. The usual arguments for 'if it's a great shot SD will will still do' but the bulk of content that I am being asked for is UHD.

Beeb is shooting 4/5/6k plus I believe most big production houses (Nat History)

The BBC areas we're involved with (generally entertainment) are still firmly entrenched in HD. F55s pop out every now and again, but only for the super 35mm look, not the 4k recording.

 

I guess it comes down to budget and longevity of the content.... watching three presenters have fun with cars has a big here and now audience, but other than nostalgia the footage has no real forward value. Natural history, well shot content can be used (and sold) again and again

 

Although with that said, I'm taking this as a wake up call to look at 4k a little more seriously ;)


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#14 Timccr

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:22 AM

In the days of film there was 35mm for features and 16mm for docs and low budget stuff. The advantages of 16mm were not only stock and processing costs but also the size of the gear, and its interesting to see Alex Mustard writing elsewhere on this site that he probably won't upgrade his EM5 to an EM1 because he expects a housed EM1 to be bigger. So I was wondering if anyone can see any advantages to NOT using 4k?



#15 CheungyDiver

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:49 AM

A small UW housing for shooting video is really not an advantage. Except for travel. To make the footage smooth and less jerky a larger housing will be better. Dampens the operator's movement. Trimmed properly we can act as dolly, slider and steady cam all in one. But not too big that even a slight current will take you and your gear for a ride. I doubt Alex made the decision on the Oly solely based on size. No disrespect but we are discussion moving images not digital stills. As for 4K should be used or not used it all depends on type of work. Or if just for hobby and for downloading to Youtube. All technology these days is market driven. May be not this year or next year but eventually people will look back and say 4K is so low tech when every home has a holodeck. 


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#16 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:52 AM

I currently shoot with a Sony NEX-FS700, it's massively smaller (and lighter!!) then Sony EX1 or Z1 in Gates that I used to use, the sensor is capable of recording 4k (all be it with an external recorder). In stills terms, the new Sony Alpha 7/7r is the same size (so I've heard, never compared them myself!) as the EM1. So I wouldn't equate increased resolution with increased size... on the contrary, camera footprints are getting smaller and smaller all the time, regardless of what they can do (we also run minicameras, c-mount based lenses, the size of a rubiks cube without lenses, capable of recording 2k raw and 360fps in HD... .no onboard recording, but that doesn't take up much space either)

 

A large sensor does mean more glass therefore bigger lenses, one of the reasons that micro 4/3rds stills is so popular for underwater use, but that's a completely different subject.

 

Reasons not to go 4k? At the moment:

 

- options on cameras are limited, you'd have to choose from what's available, which may not be what you want (in terms of other functionality, ergonomics, available housings etc)

- options on housings are also limited

- you need a lot more data processing power and data storage to deal with the footage in post, and 4k codecs are very limited at present

- there's a limited opportunity to display the footage. Smart phones and tables, iPads and the like are a long way of 4k (at the moment), 4k computer monitors are available but expensive, so not that attractive to the average Jo Bloggs, same for 4k TVs. Bandwidth for delivery is restricted, so the 4k content would need to be heavily compressed to get it down the pipe to your audience (so quality is reduced)

 

I'm sure that's all going to change very quickly, ask me the same question in 12 months I expect I'll be saying why wouldn't you!


Edited by bottlefish, 30 January 2014 - 07:54 AM.

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#17 jonny shaw

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:26 PM

From what I understand beeb is currently testing the hell out of a few dragons and F55's, lots of interesting colour science changes happening with RED too.


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#18 A.Y.

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:09 AM

The more popular events at the Sochi Olympic (openning/closing ceremonies) was/will be shot in 4k and made available for purchase.

 

Sony 4k full-frame camera will be announced likely in March to compete with GH4. Hopefully, it'll have 4k 60p or higher frame rates.

 

iMac 4k is coming for sure, just hope it'll be in 2014.



#19 thetrickster

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:14 AM

Sony FF 4k in March? Even though they have 'just' released the A7R ?


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#20 A.Y.

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:21 AM

Yes, it'll be the replacement camera for A99. Sony displayed a prototype model at the NAB show.