Why Shoot 4K?

4K currently for the consumer is some what of a ‘fad’, there are some great 4K products on the market.. but what do you watch on them? 4k Amazon? 4K Youtube? This would be great but I just can’t see it work out too well at the moment this is due to ISP providers in the UK capping downloads – the UK currently doesn’t even appear in the top 10 broadband in the world! (http://www.itproportal.com/2015/03/27/good-uks-broadband-compared-rest-world/).

Bearing this in mind, and the size of your average 4k movie, it’ll be a long time before this appears in UK homes. Blu-ray’s are starting to appear in shops stating that they are ‘4k Ready’.. but on closer inspection the film size still has a maximum of 1080p! The 4k Blu-ray discs aiming to be on the market end of 2015/16.. but at what cost? And as this article suggests.. will the consumer even care? (http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/ultra-hd-4k-blu-ray-what-we-know/)

As professional… you should always shoot 4k. You should shoot to the maximum your budget will allow you to. You should do this for several reasons, first off being to future proof yourself. 4k hasn’t quite ‘arrived’ in the UK at present, but it will be on day, and when it does you need to be in a position to say to your client, you’re covered..

“we have the original edit in 4k.”

Shooting 4k Will give you much better quality – 1080p, shoot at 4k, edit in 4k, then output at 1080p and below.

Try to avoid shooting 4k on a DSLR, I’m a big fan of the DSLR for stills.. but not for film work. The sensor in even the most expensive of DSLR’s does not match the sensor quality of larger cameras such as Blackmagic or RED products. It also makes NO financial sense to shoot on a DSLR, for the Canon 7D Mk II vs The Blackmagic Cinema Camera 4K Yes, the Blackmagic will come with additional costs, especially in terms of storage.. but the most important thing it will save you is time. Shooting on 95% of DSLR’s you’ll be shooting compressed, you’ll then have to convert your footage before editing to a more flexible format such as PRORES 422. This takes time. The BMCC 4k is ready to go straight out of the camera. To quickly bust some myths about the BMCC, we had client insist they didn’t want to shoot 4k as it “took too long”.. We where slightly baffled by this as is takes exactly the same time minus the conversion time of any other footage shot on any other camera… Final cut and DaVinci handle 4k straight out of the BMCC perfectly.. The BMCC codec does all the work for you without compromising on quality.

The examples below are shooting 1080p on a DSLR and 1080p using the 4k sensor of the BMCC

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Details are far crisper and text is much more readable.

You should shoot 4k if you plan on doing any FX work, all the extra pixel data makes pulling green keys, tracking and compositing much easier. The only additional thing I’d suggest for 4k is a decent mic to go with it, get your mic off the top of the camera and into the hands of an audio professional. If your going to the expense of shooting at 4k, don’t skimp on audio.

About Glenn Mcguire

Glenn is a highly qualified and skilled creative, working on large scale projects and managing teams across the world. A professional, natural born problem solver. As well as running creative agency Sparkle* Glenn also spends his time guest lecturing at Edge Hill University , training staff and students in post production and VFX. Now in his eleventh year in the film & TV production world, Glenn takes Sparkle into the next decade with his advanced knowledge of cutting edge software.

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