Archive for July, 2014

PostHeaderIcon The Peril of 4K: Be Careful What You Wish For

Higher and higher resolution.  It’s what we all want, right?  And the camera makers responded.  NAB and Broadcast Asia 2014 were awash with 4K, and IBC will soon experience the same fate. Larger sensors and ever higher pixel counts are the rage so bring it on baby.  More resolution is better, right?

Well, maybe not. The same super high resolution that lends the professional look and feel to our images has an unexpected downside. We shooters as masters of our craft have learned to compose with skill and taste, by excluding everything that detracts from the visual story.

The advent of 4K, 5K, and higher resolution has introduced an era of boundless post-camera hanky-panky, including most disturbingly the willy-nilly indelicate cropping of our well-considered images. In this new brave digital world shooters have grown accustomed of course to seeing our work tweaked ad infinitum downstream. Many scenes, say, shot on green screen, must be composited, or an image must be stabilized, or a guide wire removed. We shooters accept this reality of working in a modern all-digital world.

Problem is, owing to the arrival of 4K and heaven forbid 8K later this decade our images are being transformed and systematically trashed in a way we’ve never experienced. The shenanigans we are seeing, the re-framing and re-cropping of our work by less talented others, will only become more common as the pixel count rises. Alas giving producers, editors, and indecisive directors, so much resolution invites foul play. And that is exactly what we are increasingly experiencing.

So sure we love 4K, and more and more we are willing to put up with its challenges: the massive data loads, the high compression in-camera, the bevy of high-frequency artifacts and chromatic aberrations appearing suddenly in our re-purposed SLR lenses. Of course we love 4K. Fine. Let’s also consider the unintended consequences and the impact on our craft.

Higher and higher resolution. Is it what we really want? Think about it.

4K is growing up around us. How much resolution is enough for your stories? How much is desirable?

4K is growing up around us. How much resolution is enough for your stories? How much is desirable?