No… the title doesn’t imply that I spent my New Year’s Eve imbibing of the Green stuff that British Columbia is notorious for… I enjoy tequila and West Coast IPA beer and this year I didn’t even partake of those…
My New Year’s Resolution is to start shooting and editing in 4k Ultra High Definition (UHD) this year for projects that can benefit from it.
UHD is the “broadcast friendly” version of 4k – sometimes known as Quad HD because it is twice as wide and twice as tall as “Full HD” for 4 times as many pixels on screen.
3840 x 2160 or 8.29 million pixels.
The search has begun for the right production-through-post production solution for my business model – I’m not a cinematographer working on indie films; I’m a working videographer whose primary business is training, promotion and best practices videos along with not-for-broadcast long form documentaries. Run-and-gun is the name of my game.
Thankfully, I have some amazing friends and colleagues who are sharing their wisdom and the technologies they have available. Whether it’s my buddy Dylan at the local rental house sending me out with a RED Scarlet for a couple of days or Guy at DVEStore in Marysville, Washington saying “come on down” to try out the new BlackMagic Design 4k Cinema Camera when it arrives or my Sony dealer in Hamilton, Ontario offering to send me a camera to try to my many friends online (some of whom I have met in person) making all sorts of offers of support, moral or otherwise.
I can’t even begin to imagine trying to go down this road alone.
I’m 15 years in as a working pro and I still get mesmerized by the options (or frankly, lack thereof…) available to the shooter of today. I can’t even begin to imagine how someone who doesn’t have the years of developing and evolving a style, workflow, look and expectations to fall back on makes these sorts of decisions on anything other than hearsay or budgetary considerations.
Unlike others who are looking for that ubiquitous “film-style”, uncertain exactly what that means except a Super35mm sensor with cheap Stills glass shot wide open, I’m looking for something very specific – more of a high-end polished look with exceptional clarity and motion signature. RAW is an option for me but fast delivery leads me to believe the majority of my work will be in compressed 4k.
I know what my Money-Is-No-Object solution is.
Now I just need to find the Gateway solution – the one that will allow me to recoup my costs at a fair and equitable rate while still allowing me to offer my clients options. Something I can build upon.
I started shooting HD regularly in 2005 beginning with a broadcast documentary that took me to Germany telling a tale of economic refugees moving from Europe to Canada. We knew we would be downconverting to SD for broadcast but the higher resolution source footage looked great in standard definition. By 2007, I was shooting HD exclusively. I suspect it will take about that long to transition to a predominantly 4k workflow as the delivery stream is still in question. YouTube is now supporting 4k uploads but not very many people have screens much larger than HD right now anyway. Other delivery options are likely to mature before the demand is fully realized.
The announcement that NetFlix will start streaming House of Cards in 4k bodes well for adoption but the market is a fickle one – I never did start producing HD content to optical disc, HD-DVD or BluRay.
I’m betting on 4k instead of 3D.
It’s the right decision for me.
Thanks for reading!