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Is 4K really necessary? Editing suite for 4K


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#1 Afolayan Dammy

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 12:58 AM

Hello, I have been a long time canon and panasonic gh shooter. Of recent I have been eyeing the serious buzz about 4K and how my brain subconsiously says maybe I am out of date with shooting 1080p, everbody shoots 4K now. Of recent, I got a phantom 4pro drone and I have been shooting on it with 4K. However editing the clips has been hell for me. My system somehow cant handle it which leads me to two questions

1. Is 4K really a must? Am I out of date for choosing to continually shoot in 1080p?

2. I use a Hp Elitebook 8560w portable workstation with 16Gb of RAM, 1TB Harddisk, Core i7, quadcore(I think), 2.7GHz processor speed. And my premiere pro editing suite could not play the 4K shots from the drone smoothly making editing the shots a bad experience for me.My system that I use to be very confident of is now beginning to look not capable to me. Is there a budget friendly option you can suggest that is not expensive for 4K editing.

Thanks. Hoping to get as many reply as possible on the two questions.
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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:50 AM

Well, it's the age old question.

 

Think of it a different way. Most movie theaters still project in 2k. This is for a myriad of reasons from theaters not upgrading their servers and/or projectors to 4k. Most of the time it's simply the filmmakers, not making a 4k DCP. So if theaters are not really 4k, then... what's the point right? 

 

There are pro's of shooting 4k. The biggest one is being able to re-frame in post without loosing much resolution. The other big one is using the complete imager, without scaling or cropping the image. 

 

The negatives of 4k are... well, data size. That's the only negative/detractor. So what does that really mean? Well, it's difficult for anything to playback 4k fluently, especially heavily compressed 4k like .h264 that comes out of most consumer cameras. It's a very difficult format to playback, I even struggle to playback 1080p versions on my edit bay in Premiere. Good 4k like Pro Res, DNX or XAVC-I, should playback much smoother because they're simply compressed less then the .h264. 

 

I shoot everything 1080p today, even though my GoPro is 4k, I've never used that mode. I do this because 9 times out of 10, what I shoot will be streamed online or on DVD/BluRay. Even the feature I shot a few years ago, which did a theatrical run, was still shot in 1080p. The final Pro Res HQ 23.98fps file was 119GB! We would have never been able to make the movie if it was 4k, the storage cost would have killed us. So I'm totally over 4k unless it's a necessity for distribution, which in some cases it really is. 

 

So how do you make 4k playback properly? Lots of CPU power and really good GPU. Laptops don't really have either one of those. The i7 mobile processors, motherboards and in a lot of cases, integrated graphics, aren't fast enough to cope with decoding .h264 in real time. Even the fastest MacBook Pro's struggle to play it back smoothly, one hiccup and it will start to stutter. My old edit bay (soon to be upgraded) can't do it, but thats my own fault, it's old... Yet I have no problem playing back Pro Res XQ in 4k... so go figure! 

 

In the end, it's about your project and where it's going. If a few people may see it on youtube or vimeo, shoot in 1080p. If the final product will be seen theatrically or at festivals, why not shoot 4k to put your best image forward? 


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#3 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 09:18 AM

Yeah your laptop isn't gonna help your case with 4K. If you need to upgrade, go for a desktop with heavy specs to save a bit of cash for the sacrifice of portability. You can get something competent hovering around a grand.

 

A negative I've heard of 4k aside from the data hogging one would be the final product being too sharp. When so much detail is crammed in a given space it starts looking a bit unnatural. I suppose IMAX screens could be a different story though.


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#4 Dmitry Sheglov

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 12:40 PM

Hello, just use proxies, and you can edit even 8k on your laptop with no lags. Now Adobe Premiere has this feature.


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#5 Ravi Kiran

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 04:15 PM

It depends on what what you're shooting and what your deliverables are. At my last job I shot commercials, and I shot most of them at 1080, but for certain bigger projects I shot at 4K to have the flexibility to reframe or add zoom-ins/outs. Never had a problem editing 4K ProRes on my MacBook. For 4K H.264 drone shots I transcoded for smoother playback.


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#6 Stephen Baldassarre

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:06 AM

Hello, I have been a long time canon and panasonic gh shooter. Of recent I have been eyeing the serious buzz about 4K and how my brain subconsiously says maybe I am out of date with shooting 1080p, everbody shoots 4K now.

It seems the buzz is mostly in the consumer market.  While some movies are being produced in 4K and UHD (they are two different things; 4K is a theatrical format, UHD is a consumer format), pretty much nothing makes it all the way to the end user that way.  One reason as mentioned is a lack of screens that can do it, but it also takes 4x as much compression to stay within the 250mbps limit of DCP.  Then there's outlets like Netflix that accept UHD but the compression is so ridiculous at any res...  That said, virtually all professional video production is HD and almost all broadcast is 720 or 480, so you are not at all out of date.  UHD as a consumer format is mostly hype, particularly considering most viewers don't even notice the difference between 720 and 1080 due to the limitations of the human eye.

 

 

1. Is 4K really a must? Am I out of date for choosing to continually shoot in 1080p?

Absolutely not!  I like the IDEA of UHD and 4K, with some caveats.  35mm film is great with 4K because the lenses and medium can take advantage of it, but more important than resolution is scanners in 2K mode tend to have more aliasing.  So, it's better to scan in 4K even if you plan to down-res to 2K for release.  Also, in theory, single-chip cameras potentially benefit from UHD/4K because the Bayer patterns really restrict color information, so there is potential benefit to recording at high res and downsizing for editing.  Many cameras (especially consumer cameras and DSLRs, including Blackmagic) either don't have OLPFs or they are optimized for still images, making aliasing a bigger problem in HD mode than with 3-chip cameras.  However, all 4K/UHD cameras have CMOS sensors and thus most (depending on how they resize) have worse rolling shutter in 4K/UHD modes than HD modes.  I absolutely cannot stand rolling shutter, to the point where I consider 95% of CMOS cameras to be useless as a serious production tool.  Anything I can do to decrease it is far more important than a relatively meaningless number.  Finally, more pixels doesn't mean a thing if the optics, which are the biggest determining factor of resolution, can't resolve the extra information.  Most cameras I've tested resolve around 500-900 lines ($300-$25,000 range respectively) regardless of how many pixels are being recorded.  A GoPro in any mode mode, including UHD, is always lower-res than a decent HD camera because the lens is terrible.

 

 

2. I use a Hp Elitebook 8560w portable workstation with 16Gb of RAM, 1TB Harddisk, Core i7, quadcore(I think), 2.7GHz processor speed.

 

I have a pretty powerful desktop computer that will run circles around just about any laptop and I don't even try to deal with UHD.  I down-size it before I start editing.  I suppose I COULD use proxies and do the final render in UHD, but what's the point when nobody would ever see greater clarity?  I'm assuming nobody is sitting 20CM away from their screen of course.


Edited by Stephen Baldassarre, 07 March 2017 - 09:14 AM.

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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:53 AM

One thing you can do is shoot 4K but finish in 1080. If you organise things right (and you do have to set everything up properly) you should be able to conform the 4K fairly easily, unless it's a big VFX show or whatever.

 

P


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