Why 4K?

A lot of people ask why 4K? Well there are many reasons why 4k is making so much noise right now as it has become much more affordable due in part to companies like REDSony and Black Magic Design.  But 4K has been around for 11 years now all in part to the studios getting together to help get the cinemas to convert from the old analog film systems to the new digital ones which were putting out 2k and 4k resolution by the year 2000 and the Digital Cinema Initiative also known as "DCI".  (more background on here)
So what a lot people don't understand is that the 2K and 4K came about due in part to updating the projectors for a better cinema experience. Now fast forward to 2006/2007 when the founder of Oakley Jim Jannard created the "Red One Digital Cinema Camera Company" came out with the first ever 4K Cinema Camera that is known as the "Red One Camera" today. At the time it was the most advanced camera system since 35mm went from still photography to motion pictures thanks in part to our film god's "George Eastman" and "Thomas Edison".  Red one took off like a rocket and was the camera to beat as they came out with 2 new cameras "Epic" and "Scarlet" but in 2012 and 2013 the big camera companies like Sony, Canon, Arri started to catch up. But the one company that is making noise this year in 2013 is the Black Magic Design who came out with there first ever camera called "Black Magic Cinema Camera" which is a 2.5k Camera and just this year (2013) came out with there 4K camera "Black Magic Production Camera.". 

What is 4K

4K is 4 times the resolution of HD and is the next generation of program acquisition, delivery and broadcast also know as "Ultra HD"

Why 4K

Acquisition, post-production and delivery is now fully HD (1920 x 1080) but modern technology now delivers even greater resolutions and 4K has become a practical production format.

There are a number of advantages of adopting 4K acquisition now:
  • Enhanced detail and better overall image quality
  • Creative flexibility to zoom and crop in post-production
  • Recording in higher-resolution formats will help content retain its value in the longer term
  • Keying tools deliver better results due to more well-defined edges
  • 3D looks better at higher resolution as seen in projects, such as Avengers 3D
  • Major studios hope to attract new audiences into 4K cinemas, which easily outperform HD home theatre systems

Conclusion about 4K

One of the great things about 4K is that it allows you to get the most dynamic range and the best picture quality by allowing you to move in and get close ups that you may have missed in the field without losing any resolution which is really great and I sure can't wait to test it out on my new Black Magic Production Camera when I get it in July. But here are a few key points of my own for youWhy do you need 4K?
  • Does it fit your clientele?
  • Does it fit your budget?
  • What type of project are you doing?
  • What is your final output going to be?

Those are the questions that you need to ask yourself before you decide to shoot with a 4K camera, yes you will get the best image possible but it will also take up a lot of hard drive space and time. There are many things shot in 4K but are normally down graded to 2K or 1080 and even though I myself am getting a 4K Camera does not mean I will be shooting every single project on it as I am sure most of my work will still be with my Sony FS100 as it fits most of my work and clientele. And the camera is only half of it as you have to take into account the workflow after you shoot in which most people really forget about.
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Corey Steib

I am an award winning cinematographer and photography based in Orlando, FL. I have worked on over 200 feature films, tv shows and live events.

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