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How Something Is Filmed and How Something Is Shown

aspect ratio resolution

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#1 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:16 PM

If I decide to film something in 4K, and some years from now TV channels around the world decide to broadcast their content in 8K as the new standard, how will my 4K film appear on an 8K screen?

 

What happens in the reverse case, if I show a higher-resolution video on a lower-resolution screen?


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 01:53 AM

There is a maximum perceivable resolution and screen size and distance are more important then pixels. My old 32" Sony XBR television with laserdisc source, looked great. However, take that same source and project it up to 60" from the same viewing distance, it looks like a big mess of noise. Take that same 60" HD monitor and put a standard 1080i broadcast signal on it, the difference is night and day. So that's a good example of how smaller monitors kind cover up resolution issues.

So then you have to ask yourself, what will 4k bring us? Perhaps larger monitors, but will people want those in their houses? With the advent of OLED and stick on displays in the very near future, we may see larger viewing systems coming around BEFORE 4k is widely used at home. But people's displays will be limited to the size of the wall in that case and in the vast majority of cases, it will NOT take up a full wall and the viewing distance will be greater then it COULD be, because people are use to watching things within a smaller device window.

What does all this gibberish mean? Really, 4k vs 8k means nothing in the long run because very few setups will ever be able to display that perceivable difference due to physical issues in screen size vs seating location.

Now to the whole 4k vs 8k debate. For the record, broadcast television is 1080i and that standard will stay for quite a while. The reason is quite straight forward; cost. To stream a 1080p signal at 29.97 or even 23.98, takes up WAY more bandwidth then 1080i 59.94 which is what most terrestrial broadcast is in the states. There are still a lot of 720p and 480i broadcasters here. Plus, everyone recently invested in HD equipment, it's only been 6 years since it became mandatory. So it's going to be at least a decade before any major change is made and I predict, most big broadcasters won't be around by then anyway. Then you've got the HUGE problem of backwards compatibility, which there is none. Unlike 1080i broadcasts, which can be received by 720p displays... UHD broadcasts are of a different decoding system then what we're currently using today, so even our modern TV's can't read the signal. Sure, broadcasters can add another channel, but that's super costly. Satellite providers will have to cut back bandwidth of other channels to jack it up for UHD broadcasts, which is already a problem today.

Web streaming will be the only real way to watch UHD content and honestly, it's a huge problem as well. Even with todays standards, streaming UHD material on the internet is a lesson in futility. Netflix caches/buffers most of the content in advance before playback because they know it won't stream in real time. Plus, part of the reason is server infrastructure, it's just not strong enough. The cost to setup 4k streaming is huge and you can only compress the signal so much before it looks like crap. Far better to run a 1080p signal and compress it less, it will look better in the long run.

Finally, you've got Sony's failed UHD BluRay and steaming service. None of the studio's are signing on because they don't have UHD masters. It's a complete failure because nobody cares and honestly, I feel that is the same case about UHD across the board. See, the government forced everyone to buy new TV's, even when people were perfectly happy with their old ones. Most people are sick and tired of constantly upgrading and honestly 1080i is so much better then what they're use to, upgrading isn't even on the radar. So without the consumers jumping on board in droves like they were forced to for the HD roll out, UHD is going to be a long road.

In the end, if you shoot something in 4k, it will most likely never been shown in 4k. You will make a DCP and be asked to make a 1080p version. It's that lower-resolution 1080p version which will be seen everywhere forever. The 4k version will be lost over the decades, like so many digital-only films have been already. By the time UHD is standard, finding your 4k maters will be difficult and since you can't go back to a camera negative to re-scan at 4k, you'll be stuck with whatever you have quality wise. Trust me, this happens so much it's not even funny. Forget about 8k at home, that's a pipe dream you'll be telling your grand kids about when you talk about technology failures.

If you shoot and produce in 2k, you will save a lot of money and never see any difference with broadcast, BluRay or web distribution.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 02:56 AM

As has been said by other people, If you want a production to have a future, make something that's worth watching. In the UK a comedy program called "Dads Army", made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, still gets shown on prime time BBC, this was shot using stand definition colour studio TV cameras (most likely EMI 2001s) with 16mm film inserts, So, I wouldn't get too hung up on 4k v 8k.


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#4 Alexandros Angelopoulos Apostolos

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 03:02 AM

As has been said by other people, If you want a production to have a future, make something that's worth watching. In the UK a comedy program called "Dads Army", made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, still gets shown on prime time BBC, this was shot using stand definition colour studio TV cameras (most likely EMI 2001s) with 16mm film inserts, So, I wouldn't get too hung up on 4k v 8k.

 

I knew I made a mistake when I mentioned 4K and 8K specifically. I was to lazy to correct it. The point wasn’t in specific values, but in what will happen when you show something shot in lower resolution on a high-resolution screen. I’m not getting hung up on it. :) I just wanted to know what it will look like.

 

Then there’s that other thing Tyler Purcell mentioned, which is the matter of storage. We’ll leave that for some other time. :)


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 04:31 AM

As has been said by other people, If you want a production to have a future, make something that's worth watching. In the UK a comedy program called "Dads Army", made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, still gets shown on prime time BBC, this was shot using stand definition colour studio TV cameras (most likely EMI 2001s) with 16mm film inserts, So, I wouldn't get too hung up on 4k v 8k.

It's a shame the 16mm. inserts are forever limited by the telecine of the time, because obviously the originals are gone. If they could rescan them now, they would probably look as good as the video. They could even get rid of the dirt and tidy up the tape splices.


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#6 Doug Palmer

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 04:55 AM

It's a shame the 16mm. inserts are forever limited by the telecine of the time, because obviously the originals are gone. If they could rescan them now, they would probably look as good as the video. They could even get rid of the dirt and tidy up the tape splices.

And not only the 16mm have gone.  The videos too.  That must be why the Beeb keeps showing the same 20 or so episodes again and again.


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#7 Doug Palmer

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 05:36 AM

In those days video tapes were expensive and bulky, and probably reused a lot.

Assuming 4K becomes standard everywhere it would seem there is a better chance now of TV films being shown as they were intended, well into the future ...?


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#8 Peter Bitic

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 05:56 AM

Upres the footage to 8k, crop to 4k and you will see how it will look on an 8k monitor (given the same ppi and viewing distance).

 

As far as I am concerned, you have to downres the footage shot with Bayer sensor cameras to get good results, so obviously not a big fan of upscaling. Digital imaging is at it's very beginning, it will get much better in the future when cameras with more and more resolution will be made. I think stuff shot on 8k, downresed to 2k is kind of a benchmark for a good digital 2k picture, so of course in the future when people will be shooting crazy high resolution footage and display it on 4k or 8k monitors, stuff shot on today's 2k or 4k CMOS sensors won't be able to compare in quality.

 

Film is a future-proof alternative. It can be scanned at any resolution and look good at any size (IMO).


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#9 John E Clark

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 11:20 AM

 

I knew I made a mistake when I mentioned 4K and 8K specifically. I was to lazy to correct it. The point wasn’t in specific values, but in what will happen when you show something shot in lower resolution on a high-resolution screen. I’m not getting hung up on it. :) I just wanted to know what it will look like.

 

Then there’s that other thing Tyler Purcell mentioned, which is the matter of storage. We’ll leave that for some other time. :)

 

The question is... do you walk out of a theater that has a 2K projector... if not... then there is no real problem... I think in terms of resolution... I think Film film is around 6K, under the 'best' of conditions. So 8K would be beyond that, and 4K is 'close enough' for most purposes... and as we know... 2K is quite popular throughout the world as we speak...


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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 11:53 AM

Film is a future-proof alternative. It can be scanned at any resolution and look good at any size (IMO).


Yep, that's 100% correct. But I've found most people who ask about resolution are digital people, they wouldn't even contemplate shooting on 35mm to begin with.
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#11 John E Clark

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 12:59 PM

Yep, that's 100% correct. But I've found most people who ask about resolution are digital people, they wouldn't even contemplate shooting on 35mm to begin with.

 

It is true that one can get enough 'resolution' out of Film film to produce an electron microscope level of scan... but does that actually add anything to the usual presented visual image on a screen, especially a screen that is 2K or so, in the home...

 

I think realistically 6K is about it for 'useful' resolution from Film film.

 

In most of these discussions for cameras that I can afford... like the BMPCC... I'm fine with 2K and want as a wish list item, as in the ever cheaper product offering, something with 12 bits in each channel of R, G, B... (aka 36 bit image data...)


Edited by John E Clark, 22 March 2016 - 12:59 PM.

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#12 Peter Bitic

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 01:21 PM

Why do you write Film film? Is there any other film (when speaking about the film as a medium, not film as a movie)?


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#13 John E Clark

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 01:41 PM

Why do you write Film film? Is there any other film (when speaking about the film as a medium, not film as a movie)?

 

Because there is Digital film as a medium. I am not now, nor have I ever been (really) interested in Video. Ok... I did quite a bit of image processing using video camera equipment in the 80's. And of course that's when I had the epiphany of the future of Digital film (and obviously was not alone, unique, etc. in seeing that future.) as a replacement for Film.

 

ARRI and RED have both made cameras to specifically replace silver based film. Whereas Sony et al. do have 'video' cameras which can be used, have been used, in situations where Film film was used.

 

And in the still world, one never refers to a digital SLR as an Electronic SLR... despite that being the capture method via a CCD/CMOS sensor.

 

About the only thing I do find useful from the 'video' world is the waveform display... it saves on having to make graphs by hand of step wedges... although I can do that too via a program called "IMAGE-J"... free image processing tool... from either a series of images aka 'movie' or a still...

 

And of course there is something called Digital Video... which uses video terms, encodes digital data such that resulting captured data is usable by 'video' processing equipment, such as conforming to Rec 709 or the older Rec 601 color spaces, etc.


Edited by John E Clark, 22 March 2016 - 01:45 PM.

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#14 Peter Bitic

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 02:16 PM

Thanks for elaboration, makes sense if you see it that way.

 

***

 

BTW, I went and made a crop of an approximatelly 8k darkroom print scan of a cheap plastic point and shoot camera:

 

image.jpg

 

And here is the same image downresed by a factor of 2 (therefore to approx. 4k) and then upscaled back to 8k:

 

image.jpg

 

There isn't much difference, but the grain is more pleasant looking (and most importantly, more accurate) in original version. I know it's not directly comparable to motion film, given that 35mm still film has more resolution, but the picture is more than 20 years old (when film had less resolution I suppose?), shot with plastic lenses and printed on a paper, and even in these conditions it looks better in 8k than 4k. I don't know where would be the point where there wouldn't be any difference in quality between the resolution.


Edited by Peter Bitic, 22 March 2016 - 02:17 PM.

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#15 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 06:27 PM

I remember reading an article about the usefulness of 4K as being mostly a better way to get 2K.  If you want a better quality 2K, shoot 4K and downscale.  So wouldn't that be true of 6K and 8K?  Just to get a better, true 4K.  If and when 4K laser projection becomes affordable and more common?

 

I see increased resolution in capture being more about the ability to do things like handheld shots that can later be smoothed out using warp stabilizer and "cropped" in on without a lot of resolution loss.  That kind of thing.  Cause I also agree that presenting in anything greater than 4K is likely far into the future.  But if Sony's laser projection technology is ever made available to consumers, it could hopefully speed that up.


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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 08:36 PM

I think realistically 6K is about it for 'useful' resolution from Film film.


In terms of standard 4 perf 35mm negative yea, it's only really capable of around 4k.

But 5 perf 65mm camera negative is around 8k. 15 perf 65mm is just north of 12k.

Sure, once you strike prints and project it, the resolution does cut in half. Most theatrical 35mm prints are around 2k worth of perceivable resolution. So it's true that if you compare standard 4 perf 35mm which isn't even using the full potential of the format, it's about equal to today's 2k cinema projectors. I guess my earlier point is that digital cinema technology hasn't really changed much in the last 10 years. Sure, it's become more popular, but we're still stuck with most theaters being 2k, most films being finished in 2k (which means there is no high resolution negative to go back to for UHD release) and people discussing 8k as if it's right around the corner. From my point of view, film is the only fool-proof way to make your movie future proof. Otherwise, it's always going to be a debate between which is better... Alexa 4k or RED 8k. I say throw the K's away and suck it up and shoot it on film. :)

Ohh and we're very much on the same page about digital technology, 12 bit RAW is the lowest I'll ever go as well. I see no point in going lower if you're making the investment. I'd rather have all that beautiful color space in 1080p then highly compressed 4k with the lower-end offerings from MOST manufacturers. You'd be surprised how acceptable 1080p looks in a normal theater when done right.
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#17 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:17 PM

Hopefully I am not retreading something I missed in a reply above, but the ANGULAR resolution of the human eye would not resolve 8K on a TV-sized screen.


You have to realize that the resolution of the human eye is finite, and even 4K is pushing it.  Not that this stops people from selling things and technologies (like "20 megapixel camera phones") from catching on anyway, but 4K is pushing it in terms of appreciable quality improvement.

You would have to sit closeto a 4K screen to even see the difference between 4K and 2K (high def 1080P) anyway.


Star Wars was projected digitally at only 2K.  There is absolutely no need, whatsoever, to worry about "8K TV."


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#18 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:18 PM

Tyler:

Prior to the digital intermediate, not trying to nitpick too much, but it wsa higher.

Want to say around 2500 lines, so around 2.5K.  That's for a fourth generation print.  A showprint pretty close to 3K, I'd say.  I agree for the most part with your large format numbers, though.


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#19 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:36 PM

Hopefully I am not retreading something I missed in a reply above, but the ANGULAR resolution of the human eye would not resolve 8K on a TV-sized screen.


Well, it depends on the size of the screen. I can configure my home theater into a 14 foot wide screen with the viewing distance of around 10 - 14 feet. Full-height, floor to ceiling displays are already in development and should be out WAY before broadcasters make the switch to UHD. With OLED technology, the cost will be super low for this type of display, so the average joe can afford it. This is where higher resolution images come into play and why anyone is discussing UHD or 8k. In reality a standard 60" TV being viewed from lets say 5 - 10 feet away, is impossible to resolve anything greater then 4k. Since most people sit further back then that, there is really no way any of this high resolution technology has any value for the average consumer.

Ohh and in terms of 35mm print quality, the data sheets I've read from independent research firms, have put 4th generation photochemical film prints at between 700 and 1200 vertical lines, depending on the origination stock graininess. Now, the tests were done years ago and there is no doubt in my mind if you shot an entire feature on 50 ASA 1.33:1 full aperture, you'd probably get a bit more resolution out of it. But from my research and even viewings of movies over the years, I'd say 2k is about right on for a standard 4th generation 35mm print.

I have yet to see a study on 5 perf 70mm print resolution, but it's more then double the resolution of 35mm.
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#20 Ari Michael Leeds

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:48 PM

"K's" are horizontal, so your figure isn't necessarily in disagreement.  I remember getting in a long-winded argument with a projectionist who INSISTED that 2K was "twice the resolution" of 1080i, and this guy, in addition to running film had an engineering degree, I think.

My observations of contact vs. DI prints are in agreement, too:  With the exception of Super 35 blowups, the digital intermediate process hurt the resolution of film prints in theatres.

Anecdotally, I know a projectionist who knows NOTHING about photography, not even the F/stops, and he said something along the lines, when I explained this to him "so THAT's why the movies aren't crisp when they're in focus anymore!"


I saw a study, mind you this is from memory half a decade ago now, that said even 4K was beyond what most people could see on a TV at normal viewing distance.

And a lot of TV shows are/were mastering at 2K.  Has 3D TV caught on yet?  ;-)


Edited by Ari Michael Leeds, 23 March 2016 - 04:48 PM.

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