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4K VS 2K VS HD FOR DCP


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#1 Giorgio Taricco

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 07:01 AM

Hello gents,
I was thinking to sell some of my s16 cameras to buy a Kinefinity Terra 4k, mumble mumble... but:
As I've always in mind my finished work for concours film, theatrically projected, so converted to DCP 2:39 scope, I'm right if I say that shooting real 2k vs shooting 1920x1080 with a BMPCC is at the end the same result? What's the benefit shotting 4k and then downsample to 2k for the 2048x858 DCP SCOPE resolution? I'm thinking that is not worth to spend 6k for the Terra camera vs Bmpcc... what do you think guys?

Thanks

Giorgio
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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 02:04 PM

The kinefinity cameras are scary. They are a small Chinese company and they're pretty much all proprietary. So if they went out of business all of a sudden, you'd be stuck with a brick that has little to no value as they're such software driven devices, if anything went wrong, you'd be SOL. I'm also scared of the quality, I haven't seen anything that made me think it was on par with the competition. Almost everything has been graded to death so you really don't know what the camera truly looks like.

The benefit of shooting/scanning at higher resolution then your delivery is the ability to re-frame in post and to compress your pixels into a more full RGB image, rather then being stuck at 4:2:2. CMOS imagers are native 4:2:2 and the only way to help remedy that is scaling down slightly, which helps fill in those gaps. This is why people shoot with the Alexa XT 3.2k and deliver a 2k master that looks great.

Also, the Blackmagic Pocket camera doesn't really hold a candle to the larger imager cameras, so you really can't compare the two. The BMPCC is great for the sub $1000 category, but when you get into the $5k + category, there are far better "used" camera choices if all you're interested in is picture quality. Nothing quite beats the form factor of the pocket, but getting a decent 4k image out of a camera the size of the pocket FOR the pocket price, is... kinda impossible today. Blackmagic are making a new 4k pocket, but the form factor is larger and I don't know when we'll see it on the market.

But to answer the question, no there isn't much difference with 2k (2048x1080) vs 1080p(1920x1080), the image is just slightly wider. For "scope" 2.40:1 shooting, I wouldn't shoot with a pocket camera because the imager is so small as it is, you'd really be loosing a lot of information. With it's native 1.75:1 aspect ratio, it's OK, but much more cropping, it just doesn't look good. Same goes for S16, but if that's the look your after, IDK what to say.

Personally if I were to buy a sub 10k digital cinema camera today, the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro with the new aftermarket IR/OPLF is the way to go. The whole kit is around $8500 USD and it looks pretty friggen awesome for that price. I'd put it next to a Dragon any day of the week.
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#3 AJ Young

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:09 AM

2K and HD are virtually the same, so yes you are correct, Giorgio. A lot of movies, especially Hollywood films, have been shot and finished in 2K.

 

I recommend checking out Steve Yedlin's resolution demo: http://yedlin.net/ResDemo/. He recently shot the new Star Wars film, if you need any back story on him.

 

HOWEVER, I do recommend looking at a 4K camera because the industry is already heading into that direction. 2K is a perfectly fine format to shoot and finish in, but most producers and studios are beginning to require 4K standards (see Netflix).

 

So, that being said, 4K is perfectly fine, you don't need anything beyond it. Instead, focus on better pixels, not more of them. There's a reason people still shoot on the Alexa Classic.


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#4 Reggie A Brown

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 01:14 AM

HOWEVER, I do recommend looking at a 4K camera because the industry is already heading into that direction. 2K is a perfectly fine format to shoot and finish in, but most producers and studios are beginning to require 4K standards (see Netflix).


When you have big production companies and studios wanting their material shot in a certain format they'll provide you a budget for cameras that'll shoot in that format. Netflix have certain cameras that they'll accept, but they'll also provide you the budget to rent the camera package. If your current clientele isn't "requesting" 4k I'd say leave your options open to buying a camera that doesn't shoot 4k. But on the flip side, a 4k camera purchase can possibly prevent you from having to purchase another camera within the next 2-5 yrs. 4k tvs are becoming cheaper, and may become a household and office product soon; people will want to show off their videos in 4k on their 4k tvs. Decisions decision LOL

Edited by Reggie A Brown, 23 September 2017 - 01:17 AM.

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#5 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 08:03 PM

I would agree with the 4K camera purchase .. I almost made a costly mistake along the same lines, with buying a Sony f5 3 years ago.. thinking 4K was a long way off and having had no requests for it.. it was only the enforced 4K internal $1K up grade that saved me having to sell that camera less that a year after buying it.. luckly the lens I bought was 4K spec (what ever that actually means, production like to hear that it is)

Only a tiny percentage is for actual 4K delivery .. .. but they want 4K original.. now abut 90% of stuff I shoot is 4K.. and its not high end drama or commercials.. . ironically so far at that level you dont need 4K.. but docs and corps..

 

But yes, I think in general, it would be madness to buy a camera that doesn't shoot 4K these days..


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#6 Sean Emer

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:35 PM

Do they even make non-4k professional cameras anymore? The bmpcc is all I can think of, but that's pretty old by now.
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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:46 PM

Do they even make non-4k professional cameras anymore? The bmpcc is all I can think of, but that's pretty old by now.


Alexa XT is a 3.2k camera and still A LOT of projects are shot with it.
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#8 Sean Emer

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:59 PM

XT is still about as old now as the bmpcc! Sxt does 4k, as does the mini so Arri has already jumped aboard the 4k train. The XT looks great, and upsampled to 4k still beats most native 4k cams, but if you're going to buy an Alexa today it's going to be a mini or an sxt
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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 08:06 AM

So then yea... in terms of currently manufactured, I can't think of any company building a professional camera that's less then 4k.

Blackmagic aren't exactly making more pockets either, they've got the inventory they've got and that's it. The new pocket will be 4k for sure, it's just a question of when they release it.
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#10 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 08:27 AM

Do they even make non-4k professional cameras anymore? The bmpcc is all I can think of, but that's pretty old by now.

 

 Are any of the Arri actually 4K .. except the 65mm one.. they still make the Amira dont they.. I didnt know the newer Alexa was 4096.. ?


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 24 September 2017 - 08:31 AM.

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#11 Sean Emer

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:57 AM

Alexa mini does 3.8k, so UHD. I think, but am not sure, that it is an internal upscale, but it certainly looks just as good as any other 4k footage I see. The sxt is in the same boat I believe, but I haven't used it so I won't say anything specific.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 11:02 AM

it certainly looks just as good as any other 4k footage I see

 

Eh, well...


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#13 Sean Emer

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 11:39 AM

 
Eh, well...


No?
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#14 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 06:19 PM

Found this on the inter web.. its about the Amira but I believe the Mini is 3.2 up scaled to 3.8.. 

 

According to Arri the new mode goes even a little bit further than that afore mentioned 2.8K. It crops the 3.4K video directly from “open gate mode” to get 3.2K and from there it does the upscale  to get the 3.8K of UHD.  So it turns out that this isn’t just an upscale from the 2K that the Amira is normally capable of but an upscale from 3.2K to 3.8K. (That’s just 0.6K difference!) Of course it’s not actually 4K as such but then nor is UHD itself! 

 

​The point that UHD is not 4K is also true.. Im not of the pixel peeping tribe.. and of course the Arri,s look great.. and people are beginning to see that larger pixels have an advantage over cramming 8K onto a sensor .. for no point at all.. except marketing and a shiny skull and cross bones.. it depends on your work.. as a freelancer its going to full 4K in my experience  17-9.. more and more.. let alone up res UHD.. personally I dont think it has to be.. but to pay my kids school fees I need the camera that will be "ok ed" by a production manager who often knows very little about cameras but has a list or some directive on their desk .. 


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#15 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:18 PM

The Alev III sensor yields 2.8k in a regular S35mm mode, 3.2k in its 'pushed' S35mm mode, and 3.4k in open gate mode. That's the native resolution of the sensor, and all of its resolution offerings above those figures are upscales.

If you're shooting 2x anamorphic on the Arri, once you stretch out the horizontal, you're looking at a 5.1k image.

 

Ultimately, I think the reason everyone struggles to see any real difference between the Arris and all of the 4k cameras going around, is that  (even in regular old 2.8k mode) the Arri only has 30% less resolution than 4k. In 3.2k mode, it's just 23% less. And in Open Gate mode, it's just 17% less.

It's really not a significant difference.


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#16 Sean Emer

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 08:16 PM

A-Bing a 2k and 4k image yields no tangible difference assuming decent quality cameras and glass was used. It's a silly delineation to be sure, and I'm very hesitant to say that UHD isn't 4k, since the only difference between uhd and 'cinema 4k'is the width of the image, not the height. And uhd already fits 16:9. It's the difference between HD and 2k. Show me someone who can tell the difference and I'll give you everything I own!
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#17 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for the clarification Mark.. Sean.. well basically its not 4K because its only 3840 K... :)..   but I agree totally.. who can ever see the difference.. Im not arguing that point at all.. only that when I ( freelance worker) get an email for a shoot saying they want full 17-9 4K.. if I had an Alexa/Mini/ Amira.. I wouldn't get my gear on the shoot.. no point to argue with production managers.. its like the old Varicam/HDX900 1080/720p craziness.. they dont want to, have to, hear it, or really understand it.. not their job..eg.. can your camera shoot full 4K.. no.. will you rent one that does.. no.. ok .. I hope we can work with you on another production n the future.. bye.. phone hangs up..


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#18 Sean Emer

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 09:47 PM

In that context it of course makes sense, but relinquishing to ignorance for the sake of convenience isn't a good method to make a habit of! Luckily we have tests like Steve Yedlin's that we can use to try to educate people on these 'non-issue issues'. If I have to shoot on a C300 II because my Arri is disqualified, we have made some serious mistakes in how we go about our business. I imagine it would be possible to write a custom upscaling algorithm to convert 3.2k Mini footage to 17:9 4K. If you have the producer a file with 4k, who can complain!


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#19 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:08 PM

I agree.. also saw the Yedlin tests.. says it all really.. but unfortunately I dont think it will sway the suits.. or who ever dictates from on high.. Ive mentioned before here ,but even for pretty low level corps Ive shot for Netflix.. it was 4096.. 17-9 or nothing..I presumed UHD and they nearly fainted.. ! so its not only their high end drama that they require it.. its across the board.. Ill bet their CCTV in the car park is 17-9 :)..  

 

Back in the day.. the very able Pana Varicam was being turned down as not HD (720p).. while the lower level HDX900 (720p) which has an in camera up scale to 1080i was ok.. !!    no logic there but it stuck..  4K has its advantages for some things.. stabilization .. cropping out the odd boom etc.. but this whole 8K thing is really nuts.. and just some NHK ego thing.. funded by the tax payer ofcourse.. I worked on an NHK co production and their camera tech told me initially NHK would have nothing to do with 4K.. as they wanted all the glory for bringing in 8K to the world.. and had to do a big U turn back to 4K..  truly awful company .. 


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#20 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:35 PM

I honestly won't work for a client who insists on 4k and doesn't give a reason. The very few times I've delivered a 4k finish, it's either been because the client forwarded to me the delivery requirements and I met them OR because I got bitched out by a content aggrigator who refused to accept anything else BUT 4k. I've done quite a bit of upresing from 2k to 4k and nobody has noticed a difference.

Steve Yedlin's tests were comprehensive and I agree with his philosophy, even tough he only takes into account digital distribution. I was also slightly dismayed with the way he shot things in his recent video, I think some of it is a bit bogus, mostly showing the "problems" rather then simply shooting a short narrative with all those formats and then breaking it down. I hate camera tests because you can make anything look good or bad based on the conditions. He made film look quite horrible and most of that is because he focused so much on making it look good on digital.
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