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2K Versus 4K Digital Cinema


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#1 Thomas James

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 11:20 PM

It may seem like a no brainer that 4K digital cinema is obviously superior to 2K digital cinema but in reality it is more complex. This is because 2K digital cinema can be projected up to 48 frames per second while 4K is limited to only 24 frames per second. This means that when viewing action movies 2K will look sharper because motion blurring will be eliminated. Also IMAX uses dual 2K projectors which results in better color fidelity than a single 2K projector.
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:20 AM

Also IMAX uses dual 2K projectors which results in better color fidelity than a single 2K projector.


Or they use 15-perf. 70mm projectors that can be rigged to run at up to 48 or 60 fps.

But, oh, shoot, wait, that is film so it doesn't count!
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#3 Thomas James

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 10:55 AM

There was a film format called IMAX HD that ran at 48 frames per secound but it was too expensive because it uses twice as much film.
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 11:06 AM

There was a film format called IMAX HD that ran at 48 frames per secound but it was too expensive because it uses twice as much film.


Yeah, but who cares when the studio is footing the bill?

The less money they spend on prints the more money they end up pocketing.

You keep acting that film's expense should preclude anyone from using it.

Do you not drive a car for the same reason?

How about a phone? Do you only use a landline because cell phones are prohibitively expensive? How about high speed internet?


It's funny, every newspaper printed every day starts off as a piece of film that is used to make printing plates, even though the content is all originated digitally now. Should they stop printing papers?
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 03:58 PM

How about a phone? Do you only use a landline because cell phones are prohibitively expensive? How about high speed internet?


Not only that, but getting charged for incoming calls is just plain wrong.

& you don't even have to have GPS in the phone for some one to track you down.

http://www.post-gaze...9/975806-96.stm

A cell phone is a ball and chain.

& you can use high speed internet at the library.
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 06:08 PM

A cell phone is a ball and chain.

& you can use high speed internet at the library.


Don't know if they didn't own them, locked them in their car, or what, but I just read a newspaper article where someone was hit by a car after trying to walk home by a hit-and-run driver after locking their keys (and cell phone?) in their own car.

The kicker of the story is that they tried to find a pay phone at not one, but two different gas stations before giving up, walking home and being run over when crossing at an intersectin.

The only reason I finally gave in and got a cell (page was all I ever wanted before that; I always knew where the free phones were) was when they started tearing payphone out entirely.

So they are ball & chains, you can't commit crime with them, and they never seem to work or be handy when you actually need the friggin' things! Don't get me started on phone book not availalbe or broken cells. . .

So, once again, a former public service is being replaced with a provider that charges far more money for a convenience that isn't always as convenient (i.e. never needs to be charged) as what it replaces.



On a more positive note, I was probably in one of the last payphone lines of the 21st Century back in November. I was driving home, needed to call someone back at work, and, as usual, my cell phone was conveniently not working. So I pull up to a payphone, one of the last along the interstate that I was aware of still being in service, at near midnight, and there is someone using it!

I laughed and told this girl to tell her grandchildren about having people line up to use payphones in the early 2000s sixty years hence :-D
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#7 Thomas James

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 06:31 PM

What we need to do is get back on topic so I propose expanding the thread to 2K or 35mm versus 4K or 70mm cinema. What I am arguing is that 3 perf 35mm Maxivision is in a way better than 70mm because it is practical to run 35mm up to 48 frames per second while it is cost prohibitive to run 70mm at 48 frames per second. 2K digital cinema also goes up to 48 frames per second but 4K is limited to 24 frames per second.

When the theaters make the switch to digital most will order 2K projectors.
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#8 Chris Durham

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 10:53 AM

Sony's selling 4K projectors to just about every Leows' I believe.

Man I hate these discussions. The numbers game of 2k vs 4k doesn't matter in most cases. The majority of movies - particularly those that aren't vfx intensive - look fine in 2k. But that doesn't mean that 2k is the equivalent of 35mm. There are those who say 35mm is much closer to 6k. But none of that matters because resolution is relative to size of the projection surface and your distance from it and is not the most important factor in our perception of the quality of the image. And the only concern for rates above 24fps in theatrical projection should be 3d. This is an age-old debate over framerate, but you will generally find in this forum the factual opinion that 24fps looks better anyway. Motion blur is a standard cinematic tool, even in action movies. I don't care how fast or intense the action is, I don't want it to look like my football game.

2k vs 4k isn't a no brainer, but it has nothing to do with framerate; which in any case is a problem technology will overcome shortly.
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#9 Chris Durham

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

Should they stop printing papers?


Bad example. They should stop printing papers. It's wasteful. This is an area I'm fully happy to ride the digitial wave on.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:03 AM

Bad example. They should stop printing papers. It's wasteful. This is an area I'm fully happy to ride the digitial wave on.


But buying computers every two years, that, incidentally can't really be recycled, is perfectly fine :blink:

You can recycle 99.999 percent of newsprint.

Boy do I get tired of these silly notions that computers are good for the environment. Do you know how much nickel, lead, zinc, cadmium, and even mercury is sitting in that box in front of you?

The day I *have* to read the news off of a computer monitor may just be the day I move out of this ridiculously tech-crazy country and buy a hut in Hawai'i and learn to pick coconuts.
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:08 AM

And the only concern for rates above 24fps in theatrical projection should be 3d. This is an age-old debate over framerate, but you will generally find in this forum the factual opinion that 24fps looks better anyway. Motion blur is a standard cinematic tool, even in action movies. I don't care how fast or intense the action is, I don't want it to look like my football game.

2k vs 4k isn't a no brainer, but it has nothing to do with framerate; which in any case is a problem technology will overcome shortly.


Incidentally, I *don't* particularly like 24fps.

I'd much rather 32, 48, or 60.

But you can modify a 35mm projector for probably a couple hundred bucks to do this. The ride projectors are all 48 fps and they look just fine.

Everyone who saw Showscan, or whatever that 5-perf. 60 fps process said they loved it.

So this notion that 30fps isn't "filmic" is BS. For me the 30fps wasn't the problem, it was the blown-out highlights and edge effects that went with it.

"Collateral" was shot at 24fps and it looked plenty video-ey. They used to shoot the news at 30fps a lot of times and that looked just fine too on the old VNF cameras.

For me, a bigger problem was that your eye could start to see the 3:2 pulldown on all of the '90s TV shows shot on film if you got used to it. I started to get vertigo watching the ST:TNG reruns in the early 2000s, especially the FX for some reason, because the model shots always showed this very pronounced visual stuttering.
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#12 Chris Durham

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:35 AM

And the digression continues. I won't argue the recyclability of newspapers vs. computers. You're right, at least on the paper. Though I imagine there's an equal amount of industrial waste created in the printing of that newspaper, or at least in 2-3 years worth of printing that paper vs that of the computer, not to mention bleach and wastewater in the production of white paper itself and the energy used to process it. But I don't really know those numbers so I can't reliably argue them.

On the other hand, I have a computer. two. I have one that I need for my day job and need for my livelihood, and another at home. I wish they could be one and the same, but life won't permit right now. But let's just consider my home PC. I use it for editing, color correction, reviewing footage, photo processing - it's a creative tool. It has also replaced my TV. And my Radio (well, admittedly I have an ipod as well). And my DVD player. And my newspaper. And my phone book. I may live in a state that's 38% energized by coal, but I use the only 100% green energy company in the state (my girlfriend sells it). On top of that, I recycle like a fiend.

If I didn't have a computer getting a newspaper and recycling it wouldn't be wasteful. But since I, and the majority of Americans, and you I presume because you're posting on the internet, have computers the addition of a newspaper is absolutely wasteful.

(and just because 99.999% of a newspaper is recyclable material doesn't mean that much gets re-used. There's a good deal of loss in the recycling process).

Okay, didn't want to get too far off on a tear. Oops. I like that this forum is largely apolitical, and while I'd prefer environmental issues to not be tied up in politics, they seem to be. My point was really originally light-hearted. I can immediately think of a reason to scrap newspapers; but on the other hand I agree that the expense of film should not preclude its use.
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#13 Chris Durham

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:48 AM

So this notion that 30fps isn't "filmic" is BS. For me the 30fps wasn't the problem, it was the blown-out highlights and edge effects that went with it.

"Collateral" was shot at 24fps and it looked plenty video-ey. They used to shoot the news at 30fps a lot of times and that looked just fine too on the old VNF cameras.


I agree that the "filmic" thing is a BS. On the other hand I think 30fps looks ugly in comparison. It's not a matter of what's filmic, it's a matter of what's pleasing. Now we could argue about why that is. I suppose you could say a lifetime of 24fps has programmed me that way and that the standard of 24 was born out of technical necessity rather than artisctic decision. And that would be fine. By the same token a lifetime of looking at movie and tv starlets and models has preprogrammed me to not find fat women attractive. I'm quite alright with that as well.

A concession I may be willing to make is 48fps. James Cameron and others have advanced that steroscopic is better viewed at higher framerates. He's advanced 48 has a standard and I wonder if, being a factor of 24, that might be less visually disruptive than the jump to 30. In any case, I think the addition of 3d as a storytelling tool probably warrants the change, particularly if that tool is perceived better at that rate. I do believe though that 2d motion is best at 24.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:50 AM

If I didn't have a computer getting a newspaper and recycling it wouldn't be wasteful. But since I, and the majority of Americans, and you I presume because you're posting on the internet, have computers the addition of a newspaper is absolutely wasteful.

(and just because 99.999% of a newspaper is recyclable material doesn't mean that much gets re-used. There's a good deal of loss in the recycling process).

Okay, didn't want to get too far off on a tear. Oops. I like that this forum is largely apolitical, and while I'd prefer environmental issues to not be tied up in politics, they seem to be. My point was really originally light-hearted. I can immediately think of a reason to scrap newspapers; but on the other hand I agree that the expense of film should not preclude its use.


Hey, digressions are fun! I'll drive 100 yards (91.44m) further off the road if you will. . .

There's no way of measuring this, but I would argue that the energy, productivity, and time wasted on computers every day more than makes up for their "efficiency". They are fundamentally incompatible with the way the human mind works, and they are addictive, at least if they have internet connections ;)

Look at it this way: The equipment is in place to produce newsprint. Newsprint is what generates money to employ a great deal of graphic artists and writers of *local* news who would otherwise be out of work.

Do you really think the AP or Reuters are going to cover news in say, Kokomo, Indiana with the exception of on the anniversary of the song or elections?

Maybe as a former paper boy, I am biased. It's like TV; it killed off the evening papers and the special editions. TV killed off newsreels too, but, when the paper is waiting for you when you get up, and it covers things that you'd have to spend hours diggin for online to find, I consider that a good deal, trip to the mailbox in bad weather notwithstanding.

I can guarantee to you that, with the exception of the big papers, like New York Times and U.S.A. Today, none of the the other publications are going to be able to survive the digital transition. The money just isn't there without being able to hock the actual yellow rags.

I guess this discussion is academic though. Who on this forum lives outside of LA or NYC anyway? :-p


Film prints are "wasteful" to make, but I can guarantee you that Kodak is done for without them. Hopefully people, eventually are going to start seeing the big picture.

Diseconomies of scale are going to devastate every non-digital company if people don't have the lightbulbs (halogen; mercury bulbs are built offshore and contain *mercury*) blink on in their heads and realize this "green" movement is actually intensely bad for domestic manufacturing, is harming the environment in China and the Asiatic region immensely, and is destabilizing the American dollar.

Keeping in mind that I just lost my shirt with my hundred shares of GM stock, this turning to foreign products that are cheaper than the current product is just accelerating the deflation of the worth of the USD.

So, it is impossible to keep this discussion a-political because there is a direct correlation between every computer purchased, or every dollar spent at Wal-Mart, and the value of the dollar.


You bring up a good point too about energy. I'm sure the use is still skyrocketing because of the tech age we are in. We provide all of this energy with black rocks we dig out of tunnels. Until this process is replaced with something clean like nuclear, geothermal, solar, or wind, I'd argue that we minimize the use of these things as much as possible, and just start recycling everything (I recycle religiously too, even scrap film), minimizing frivolous use.
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#15 K Borowski

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 11:57 AM

And the digression continues. I won't argue the recyclability of newspapers vs. computers. You're right, at least on the paper. Though I imagine there's an equal amount of industrial waste created in the printing of that newspaper, or at least in 2-3 years worth of printing that paper vs that of the computer, not to mention bleach and wastewater in the production of white paper itself and the energy used to process it. But I don't really know those numbers so I can't reliably argue them.


You'd be surprised how efficient modern presses have become. They even recycle the silver out of the negatives, plates, and scrap paper.

Inks are all soy-based, biodegradable.

If bleaching is a problem, maybe we should push them to to back to non-bleached paper (mine still is?). I don't think the next logical step is scrapping newsprint altogether. BTW, isn't all newsprint still non-bleached, low rag content generic grey? That is more an issue for the photography in the paper than anything else, keeping in mind your brightest white is *really* a grey when it comes off the press.

Then again, I used to be a paper boy, and I used to string for a short time too. I loved going to the press to make sure the photographs weren't being printed too dense, using that as an excuse to visit the darkroom, tour the press area.

It's an amazing process, far more amazing than electrons energizing LCD crystals. I've studied this in depth too, so I feel qualified to make the subjective determination of the relative worth of both processes.
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:04 PM

I agree that the "filmic" thing is a BS. On the other hand I think 30fps looks ugly in comparison. It's not a matter of what's filmic, it's a matter of what's pleasing. Now we could argue about why that is. I suppose you could say a lifetime of 24fps has programmed me that way and that the standard of 24 was born out of technical necessity rather than artisctic decision. And that would be fine. By the same token a lifetime of looking at movie and tv starlets and models has preprogrammed me to not find fat women attractive. I'm quite alright with that as well.

A concession I may be willing to make is 48fps. James Cameron and others have advanced that steroscopic is better viewed at higher framerates. He's advanced 48 has a standard and I wonder if, being a factor of 24, that might be less visually disruptive than the jump to 30. In any case, I think the addition of 3d as a storytelling tool probably warrants the change, particularly if that tool is perceived better at that rate. I do believe though that 2d motion is best at 24.


No offense, I think 3D, especially with the almost ubiquitous exaggerated perspective, is bullsh&*.

Problem is, Europe and the rest of the world I think, is pretty well happy with 25 fps on TV and in the theatre.

So, yeah, I think Hollywood feeds us lies about pretty women, but 24 to 48 fps or even a non-even integer thereof should be much less difficult to adapt to.

People think I hate change. I hate change that REDUCES the quality of something, not change itself.

The arguments made solely for the sake of efficiency are poorly-disguised arguments of the businessmen that run the big companies that peddle the technology behind what we do.


To end this digression, I would argue that paper, motion picture film, printing in general needs to seize the moment right now and start offering vastly-improved quality, maybe 300DPI newspapers, 4K, 2nd generation motion picture prints, shot on 50D 4-perf or 5-perf. 65mm or 8-perf. 35mm, RIGHT NOW, to keep theatres and papers important.

Analog media needs to continually reinvent itself to keep ahead of this technological arms-race. I'm with Roger Ebert. We need 48fps. maxivision conversions, not DLP cinema. It's been ten years since he said it, almost. Isn't it about time?
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#17 Chris Durham

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 04:09 PM

Ack! Karl, you've given me too much to respond to on a Friday. Just one point though:

I hate change that REDUCES the quality of something, not change itself.


Couldn't agree more. I think comparing Newspaper to Film is kind of askew though. An online newspaper still gives me, or at least has the potential to give me, quality reporting - both in text and imagery. Text on a screen is no better or worse than text on paper and a newspaper photo and a web photo are generally both a degradation from what an actual print would be. Film on the other hand is still more pleasing, still produces a higher quality image than digital (the skill of the filmmaker notwithstanding). In my opinion I don't lose anything in the newspaper going digital. I do lose something with cinema going digital. I'll admit that loss is growing smaller as technology progresses, but for now it stands and will for some time.
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#18 Thomas James

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 11:31 PM

The problem with 35mm film projection is that you will never see the resolution of the film negative but rather an image that resolves about equal to the 720p format which is what you can get at home. Although 2K digital cinema might not be the resolution of the film negative it is a definite improvement over 35mm film projection.
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#19 John Sprung

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 02:40 AM

To me, the printed newspaper is a thing of the past. It belongs with the manual typewriter, carbon paper, steam locomotives, 78 RPM records, rotary dial phones, glass deposit coke bottles locked in those vending macines that kept them under water, DIY vacuum tube testers in the grocery store.... TV gets us the news faster. The turning point was in the early 1960's, about the time of the JFK assassination. Come to think of it, I'm more and more a thing of the past, too. I guess it takes one to know one..... ;-)




-- J.S.
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#20 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:32 PM

.... TV gets us the news faster.


But what about the comics. the crossword puzzles and cryptograms?

& doodling in the margins?
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