To 4k or not 4K was at the center of the spirited discussions at the PreNAB Lounge 2014, a must for anyone who wants a peek into the future of how the content we get for film/video, broadcast and internet will be shaped by the changes in technology. 4K (2x current HD) is the new super hi def format on display at your local Sony Store. Currently there is no broadcast channel for 4k so Sony has put out an “Ultra HD Media Player” so those customers who spend the bucks to get their new 4K big screens can watch 4k now. All the hot digital cameras, Arri Alexa (Gravity, Life of Pi, Skyfall), Black Magic’s 4k Cinema Camera, Red Cameras and Sony’s F55 and F5 now are at 4k or 6k. The panel explored how you store something that records at 13 gigs a second and what difference does it make for the end user.
Terence Curren from ALPHA DOGS, post production facility, consulted the online 4k calculator which outlines how far your ideal distance should be from your TV and how near you need to be to see the difference between HD and 4k. He created some interesting visual aids to demonstrate his point.
Averaging THX and SMPTE recommendations puts you about a minimum of 9 feet away for a set of 65inches. At that distance you get a only 11% of a difference between 4k and HD.To get the full measure of the difference between 4K and HD for a set of 65 inches you would have to view it no further than 6 feet.
To make his point Curren donned special glasses to solve the problem. Curren and the rest of the panel pointed out that according to the networks 80% of the viewing public is still looking at Standard Definition.
This of course is not to say that capturing in 4K will not revolutionize the way we shoot. Even if you are to use half using 4k frame for your shot, that gives you great latitude to move in on a part of a shot as you edit. In a sense you can recompose the shot. And now with Black Magic pricing their 4K Cinema Camera at the 3Kdollar mark, entrée into the world of great looking productions is within most filmmakers reach. As the panelists pointed out the ease of acquisition and broadcast has caused there to be more poorly made content than at anytime in the past Ramy Katrib opined. As editors they see an upside in there is more work. Mark Raudonis pointed out there is a saying in the military, “The food stinks and there is plenty of it.” But the downsize is the pay rate is going down for many of the smaller projects is below what these pro editors have been use to.
On a slightly different note they quoted a figure that during primetime 2/3rds of the viewing public is watching streaming content. Netflix has more viewers than Time Warner and Comcast even if there proposed merger between the cable giants goes through. No wonder the networks and the studios are making it harder for them to stream new movies. Add to that the forces that control bandwidth are moving to "choke" their bandwidth.
As the panel pointed out the final goal is not necessarily more pixels but a better picture. Veteran colorist Curren called for the powers to be to improve the color space that is delivered and to pass on more than a “smidgen” to the public of what they end up finishing.
To accomplish that one of the things they must do is improve the horrible through put (speed) that cable companies provide. Contrast that with the new google fiber towns (Austin, Kansas City, Provo) where the speeds they get peak at 1 gig a second. Go to speakeasy speed test and compare your speed. You are lucky if you are getting a usable 10 megs a second a 100 times slower than google fiber.
To a man they all sort of acknowledged that film is a dead medium. But it is also the best one to store content. So archiving is going to be a big growth industry in the future.
When asked if they were going to NAB everyone said it was not to be missed though it may be more now for social contact and "card exchange " than innovation. "But there is always that little booth somewhere in the back that has the new product you are looking for." In addition to the networking aspect significant previews and sessions abound including, Wednesday, April 9, Super Session "Advanced Video Technologies – Visions of the Future"featuring a panel of experts discussing the future of video compression technology, holographic presentations and the demands of video capture, storage and distribution. For those who want a peek behind the curtain at how the Sochi Olympics were broadcast "Sochi Reflections: Olympic-Sized Production Lessons That Can Apply to Everyone" on Monday, April 7 is a must. The session will feature key players in the production of the Sochi Winter Olympics, who will share how they managed their workflows and content delivery during one of the most complex sports productions in history.
For those who want to learn the latest editing techniques or take part in a variety of professional level training, Post Production World pulls in superstar teachers like Rich Harrington and Adobe gurus like Maxim Jago and Robbie Carman.