Instead of trying to map this out on a whiteboard I put together this video for a client explaining why we’re shooting everything in 4k.
Here’s the script I wrote
The shift from HD, to 4K, or UHD, has several advantages that we felt would be easier to demonstrate in a short video.
4k capture will dramatically improve post production. More on that in a moment…
Let’s start with a little history.
In the old days of tube TVs, resolution was effectively 640 by 480. 480 lines of vertical resolution, 640 pixels across. Retrospectively, we now call this Standard Definition…or SD for short.
On October 29 1998, NASA sent Senator John Glenn back into space aboard Space Shuttle
Discovery and the Kennedy Space Center broadcast the launch in the very first digital HDTV signal at 1280 by 720,
720 vertical lines of resolution, 1280 pixels across.
Skipping forward to November of 2007, the BBC released the original series Planet Earth on BluRay in the format that’s now generally considered to be Full HD or 1080p. 1080 vertical lines of resolution, 1920 across. This was arguably the tipping point for High Definition leading to the digital transition in 2009. Broadcast television signals went from analog to digital. Everything changed. Standard Definition was no longer acceptable and no longer standard.
But by this time, the world’s first 4K (or UltraHD) Cinema camera was already in production and video content was being captured in glorious 3840 x 2160 resolution. 4 times the pixel depth of Full HD.
In 2017 Planet Earth II was released in 4k. Another tipping point? For sure…
4K is no longer the wave of the future, it’s here and it’s now. And while it may not be the current standard for output or delivery, it’s absolutely the minimum requirement for capture.
Ok let’s talk advantages. Again, 4K has a resolution of 3840 x 2160. That’s four times the information we capture with HD.
Since we deliver in HD. This gives us a ton of flexibility in post.
For instance, this tightly framed shot was cropped without any loss in resolution or pixels from this wide shot.
We effectively utilize one camera to shoot two angles simultaneously, and since it’s the same camera, we do this without losing the eye-line.
Here’s our A camera in 4K shot wide… And here’s the punch in from the same camera with my eyes still looking in the exact same spot.
Conversely, here’s the A camera again… This is an off-axis B camera. I’m still talking to you but it feels somewhat disconnected and a little less engaging. Useful, but it has it’s limitations.
Let’s go back to our single 4K A camera for the rest of this.
In terms of graphics, when we need to add visuals to reinforce the narrative, because we’ve captured in 4k and we edit in HD, we have the flexibility to crop or reframe however we like, whenever we like to accommodate. Since these adjustments can be made in post production, it eliminates the need for reframing our talent on set, and gives us more time to build, share, and collaborate on graphics. And for the purposes of editing, we have our wide shot that looks like this. And cut into to a tight shot like this to build a composite performance of our best takes. And remember this is all with one camera.
So that’s it…a quick look at 4k and how it’s going to change everything we do for the better…