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Is 4K a must in 2019? (9 replies and 6 comments)

Gabor D
1 month ago
Gabor D 1 month ago

Hello Roger,

First, thanks for the opportunity to have this forum and your feedbacks! Tremendous help!

I plan to shoot with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k my very small budget debut feature film. I shoot it as black and white (making it monochrome in Resolve).

I do the editing on an iMac with Resolve. Due to the limitations I seriously have to consider which format I choose to record, edit and deliver. 4K BRAW would make it very problematic and costly.

So I either can:

1, shoot 4K Prores HQ in Film setting (3840x2160 or DCI)

2, shoot HD in Blackmagic RAW 3:1 (1920x1080)

Which one would be better? Is 4K necessary these days? Its a debut feature film, so maybe it ends up in the streaming, maybe it gets to festivals or cinema distribution. For me HD would be enough, I believe in storytelling, misé-en-scene, performaces, not in Ks, but I don't want to lock my film out of opportunities due to its resolution. 

And second part of the question: if I want a filmic, grainy black and white documentary style, is it a good idea to shoot at higher ISO for a "natural" noise, and then in post-production additional grain could be still added. Thus it would have a more organic feel to its texture?

Thanks for your time and answer!

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

You should ask Netflix if 4K is really necessary!

I have always maintained that a 35mm film print taken off a duplicate negative is never really a full 4K in resolution. That is what audiences watch when they are not seeing a show print off an original negative! Was it and is it enough? It seemed to be enough for 100 years.

Nowadays a digital negative is made from the original film negative so full resolution can be maintained. But is it? Not all films are transferred at 4K. Most releases are still done at 2K, whether they originate on film or are digital capture.

A camera may claim to be able to capture an image at 4K, 6K or even 8K and that may be true. But it is also true that many cameras compress that image before it gets down the pipeline.

What to believe? Your eyes! One of my first films was shot on Super 16mm. A very highly regarded editor contested that with me. 'No way was that 16mm' he said. He never did believe me. 'O Brother Where Art Thou' was one of the first films to go through a DI process. I believe the resolution of that film was somewhere around 1.8K.

So, is it necessary? Beats me!

Gabor D
4 weeks ago

Thanks Roger! Your words make my decision easier! Shooting in HD would also make me more comfortable and intimate with my story. 4K resolution with basically no-budget is ironic as it requires a more expensive post-production usually associated with bigger films.

I go for a grainy, documentary style black and white image, so I guess an HD Prores HQ is okay for that!

Regarding the second part of my original post, I'd be very interested in your opinion: " if I want a filmic, grainy black and white documentary style, is it a good idea to shoot at higher ISO for a "natural" noise, and then in post-production additional grain could be still added. Thus it would have a more organic feel to its texture?"

Thanks in advance!

sameerdesh
1 month ago
sameerdesh 1 month ago

Steve Yedlin did a resolution demo a few years ago. I thought it made a lot of sense..

The short of it is resolution isn't so important, but watching the whole thing might give you a better idea how to proceed 

 

http://www.yedlin.net/ResDemo/index.html»

The Byre
1 month ago
The Byre 1 month ago

Netflix probably want delivery in 4K RAW (if possible) so that they are 'future-proof'.  At least that is what I read in some trade magazine.  With Japan starting 8K transmissions, it will not be long before someone somewhere insisting on material being stored and delivered in 8K RAW.  That is 16 times the data for HD!

The reality is of course that nearly all home viewing is done on conventional flat TV screens and those are not very large.  They have their own compression algorithms that adjust to the speed of the local network of the customer, so the end-user can get just SD or below SD quality.

The reality is that you need the customer to be watching on at least a 50" TV set, before they notice the difference between good SD and good HD.  This issue is clouded by the problems created by so-called 'lossy' compression.  Some terrestrial feeds that claim to have HD quality are below the resolution of a good quality SD.  The punter is only watching on a small TV set and usually is hardly aware of the difference!

The main cause of this difference between good and grotty is the number of channels that broadcasters cram onto one transponder (satellite and terrestrial TV) and the amount of compression used to get an entire movie, plus special features, the making of and a series of pointless ads for movies I don't want to watch, onto one Blu-Ray disk or DVD.

So the carefully crafted image made by the DoP and the people in finishing and mastering can be totally ruined (digital artifacts, blotches and colour aberrations) by commercial considerations being made about additional material to be stuffed onto a disk or additional channels on a transponder.   

But it gets worse!  

If you are watching a movie via a broadcaster (regardless of medium) the audio will be mashed and ruined by so-called 'look-ahead' compression that reduces all loud noises and pumps up the quiet passages.  Gun and cannon fire sounds feeble and quiet whispers are brought up to the same level as an atomic explosion.

So (IMO) unless you know that your end-user will be watching on a 4K projector for a 2-3 meter screen and with a proper 5.1 or 7.1 sound system, I would take all this talk of things having to be delivered in 4K with a pinch of salt.  

But all that hardly helps you if the customer wants and asks for delivery in 4K RAW.  If your present iMac does not cut it, it might be worthwhile looking at a more powerful PC or just doing the editing etc. off-line and creating an EDL to be rendered later.

The Byre
1 month ago

In that last sentence, I meant that you create a second SD version, create the EDL and then render the 4K - just pointing at a different folder containing the 4K footage.

Gabor D
4 weeks ago

The Byre,
Right now I'm more biased toward shooting in HD, delivering HD, but.... as my BMPCC4K camera shoot the HD Prores with the full 4K DCI sensor and then downsizes it to a HD resolution, I was thinking of I might record 4K Prores and edit and deliver in HD. Later, if I need the 4K, I could go back to it with a stronger system

The Byre
4 weeks ago

Exactly - just keep the EDL ane if a 4K is wanted, you just have to do a re-render. You might even do that for your own sake and without a customer wanting 4K, just to have a better version.

I'd be interested in how you are getting on with the BMPCC4K, as I have been looking at the new BM 6K version as a second camera and for those 'making-of' shoots. As they use EF mounts, I would n't have to muck about with a second set of lenses.

David M
1 month ago
David M 1 month ago

I’m pretty sure Netflix only requires 4K for their original content. A lot of bigger budget movies are still shot at 2.8k and 3.4K and they end up on Netflix. 

Considering 3.4K looks fantastic on a big screen in a movie theater (especially from a laser projector), the idea of 8K and beyond for home viewing on 50” TVs seems beyond dubious. 

The K-Wars strike me mostly as an attempt to continue to get creators and consumers to buy more and more things, none of which will help them create better content or enjoy watching it more. 

James
1 month ago

When Netflix produces a project rather than buying it finished, they have a requirement of it being shot in 4K. Shows that they don't understand the technology. A lot of "higher res" cameras capture less than 4 K and upres when bringing it out of the camera. So that's not true 4K.

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

Well said!

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

I would shoot some tests. Do you meed the speed of a higher ISO? Maybe that would be an advantage anyway. Grain added in post is not always the best. It depends on your program.

Lupoter
3 weeks ago

I recently shot a project on BMPCC 4K and one scene in daylight at 2000 iso with ND filters. I got quiet organic noise which doesn't look too digital and kind of filmic... I shot in 4K BMRAW Q5 which took almost the same data rate as ProRes 422 would take, so Blackmagic did quiet a good job... Do you want to record internally on sd/cf or on externally on ssd?

Lupoter
3 weeks ago
Lupoter 3 weeks ago

I recently shot a project on BMPCC 4K and one scene in daylight at 2000 iso with ND filters. I got quiet organic noise which doesn't look too digital and kind of filmic... I shot in 4K BMRAW Q5 which took almost the same data rate as ProRes 422 would take, so Blackmagic did quiet a good job... Do you want to record internally on sd/cf or on externally on ssd?

Gendaito
1 week ago
Gendaito 1 week ago

Strange as it may seems but if you are an indie filmmaker with limited crew shooting in 4k, 6k or 8k oversize may give you more option to crop out the mistake in post and deliver in HD.

Roger Deakins
1 week ago
Roger Deakins 1 week ago

Crop out a mistake? If the frame is too wide but what if it is too close?

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