Sony Defends 4K Video: It’s Not Just About The Resolution

It seems like almost every time the subject of 4K video cameras comes up, someone inevitably argues that such high resolution is unnecessary. Well, Sony have taken notice, and this week DoP Philippe Ros — who was hired to shoot a 4K promo video — jumped to 4K’s defense by explaining that it’s not all about the resolution.

Interestingly, Ros admitted that only the first row may notice the resolution in a movie theatre, what he’s more interested in is the dynamic range and color info that professional 4K cameras like Sony’s $65,000 F65 produce. As Engadget astutely pointed out, you can’t expect Ros to say anything negative about 4K, but if what he says is true then cinematographers using 4K cameras will find post-production much more flexible.

We’re only just now seeing more widespread use of 4K in the movies (M. Night Shyamalan is currently shooting his new movie After Earth on that F65 mentioned above), and the benefits of 4K inevitably come with a hefty price tag attached, but it’s good to see someone looking past the number of pixels and pointing out the other benefits of the technology. Who knows, if pro cinematographers begin widely accepting it, we may even see a more substantial consumer push.

(via Engadget)

  • Kozmo Nauta

    Stupid 4k viral campine.

  • Osmosisstudios

    Here’s the problem with this: It’s not the 4K stat that gives more dynamic range or that makes post production easier: it’s just extra resolution.  What’s important to Ros’ argument is all the backend stuff in the cameras that are in 4K cameras that aren’t in non-4K cameras.  

    It’s not the 4K that’s the important part, it’s what’s behind the 4K that is

  • Josh

    why is M. Night Shyamalan allowed to still make movies?

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  • henfana

  • Antonio Carrasco

    4K, that’s stupid. 8K is where it’s at. No 16K. Let’s ask consumers to throw away their blu-ray players and buy some other thing that will be obsolete in a year. Sounds great. 

  • Matt

    IMO, and I’m not a pro so take it as you like.  Resolution does go hand in hand with dynamic range and color ranges.  More pixels allow more color variations and allow more light to be captured.  Sure, the quality of the pixels is very important and IMO the the size of the image capture area.  But, to disregard the resolution is short sighted.

  • Mansgame

     Nobody I knew threw away their tube TV’s.  As things wear out, we replace them with the new better versions. 

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    More pixels can only take you so far, and you’re right about color and light.  However, consider the benefits of raw photos vs rasterized photos as a comparison.  Details in the white areas of a raw photo can be retrieved by reducing the exposure of the raw image.  Rasterized photos, on the other hand, will just have a higher number of white pixels that turn grey as you reduce exposure.

  • Guest

    I work with RED, Alexa, and other formats at a high end color grading facility. The fact that RED can be shot 5k, 4k, 3k, whatever has absolutely nothing to do with its color depth and in fact, because of the bayer pattern in digital sensors, there is no way these cameras can truly record 4 or 5k of actual resolution in the first place. I would honestly challenge anyone to take a look at a 5k still straight from a RED epic and the same image that has been downsized to 2.5k and subsequently uprezzed to match the former’s size. There is a miniscule difference that is absolutely not worth the colossal disparity in file size. And if the DP hasn’t lit the scene properly, all those extra pixels are just more noise that need reducing, softening the image. This resolution urination contest is a nightmare for facilities that now need to manage these much larger files that have been artificially fluffed up to sound cool and appeal to people who think bigger must mean better. Alexa on the other hand is a dream to work with as it is limited to HD (for ProRes files) and has beautiful color depth and exceptionally little noise. Feature guys might have a different opinion but in the TV world Alexa is king as far as I’m concerned.

  • Nate Opgenorth

    Great post! I don’t work with 4K really at all…I’ve made a few test videos in 4K, downloaded REDCODE samples and edited them and I can say that I’d rather have a nice uncompressed or very high bit rate codec like ProRes HQ at 2K or 2.5K. Extra resolution is nice for little things like having to reframe a shot and not having it look as crappy because your cropping this massive frame, it also makes downsampling look pretty. BUT at the end of the day most don’t know the well kept secret of what a Bayer sensor does and uh this thing called workflow….with an Alexa you can shoot ProRes 4444 and get right to editing without your ridiculous render times or having to buy a $5K (price not resolution, hurts more now doesn’t it!) GPU card. I like RED, I really do but I go on their forums and I get punched in the face by Jannard and every fanboy on down with RESOLUTION BETTER ARRI ALEXA SUCKS DSLR LOOSERS LOL WE ARE THE BEST RED RED RED! I get the feeling that a camera made by Arri, a company well established in the film and now digital film industry, is making good moves and while I do respect RED I question allot about the more is better….I mean look at what previous CineAlta’s did at 1080p with a better and true uncompressed HD signal (I don’t know if the CineAlta is true RGB or Bayer though)

  • Gath Gealaich

    “Here’s the problem with this: It’s not the 4K stat that gives more
    dynamic range or that makes post production easier: it’s just extra

    Actually, quadrupling the number of input pixels while keeping the output resolution and other things the same is effectively the same thing as adding up to two bits of color depth. (It’s conditional upon not having the input material heavily screwed by lousy codecs, though. YMMV.)