Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beyond HD

Back in the mid to late 2000s, HD cameras became affordable enough for the prosumer and indie market. That same trend is beginning for 4k.

There has been a number of really exciting 4k product announcements in the film/video industry.


Sony recently announced 2 new 4k cameras, F5 $19,400 & F55 $34,500.

Sony already has a high end 4k camera,  F65 for $65,000. The FS900, $9,900, which will be upgradable to 4k in the future.

Red, which created this 4k party, announced price drops:

RED EPIC-M: $24,000
RED EPIC-X: $19,000 
RED SCARLET-X: $7,950 
RED ONE MX: $4,000   limited supply of battle-tested bodies and is sold out.

GoPro released Hero 3 version of their compact camera, low cost camera. Hero 3: Black Edition records 4k at 15fps, $399. It also shoots at 2.7k at 24 and 30 fps.   

In addition there is Canon 4k cameras: EOS-1D C  $15,000 and C-500 $30,000, JVC GY-HMQ10 $5,000

I'd also like to mention the Black Magic Cinema Camera $3,000.  It's not 4k, but at 2.5k and at a price point a lot of indie filmmakers find appealing.


Sony as well as other tv manufacturers have 4k TVs available soon. Sony even has a 4k upscaling Blu-Ray player.

Sony announced the 4k Ultra HD Video Player, which will be loaned to anyone buying the Sony XBR-84X900 4k LED TV. It's essentially a hard drive based server with movies on it. 

Red has announced their Red Ray 4k playback system for $1500.

What's it mean?

Do you give up your HD camera right now?  Not yet. Broadcast in the US is still HD. It took years to get HD and I don't see it going to 4k anytime soon. So there isn't an immediate need to transition to 4k like there was to HD from SD.

What it does mean is you need to be more mindful of your options. 

Think about how you want to distribute your project. Theatrical, broadcast, home video, online? Or maybe specialized outlets like digital signage and second screen.

What is your workflow? Shooting in 4k may be cheap, but not everything else will be. Storage requirements more than quadruple. You'll need more computing power to deal with the render times.

Is this a project that has a quick turnaround? Besides money, the other expenses are resources and time. Will you be able to finish your project on time.  Even if you don't have a deadline for your project, you don't want to be stuck in post production limbo. VFX work is already time consuming, but at 4k will get exponentially longer.

These issues will become less of a problem as time goes on. Just as everything was transitioning from SD to HD, these same questions were being asked. Soon enough technology caught up with the needs, as they will again for 4k. Just be aware of all the pitfalls and realize not every project needs 4k.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your tools and you

By now there has been a lot of talk about how Apple really screwed up with the launch of Final Cut Pro X.

Both Avid and Adobe are using this opportunity to woo users with really enticing upgrade offers.

I urge everyone to take advantage of these offers before they expire, because you never know if you'll get a better deal later.

You can find all the commentary about the FCPX launch if you look it up on all the usual FCP forums and sites, so there's no need to rehash.

A lot of FCP Studio only users are going to have to figure out what to do next. Will they move forward with FCPX as it matures or will they go to Avid, Adobe or another NLE.

Back in December I posted a comment about forget switching to a new NLE, use them all.

I once again say, it shouldn't be an either/or answer, but all the above.

Despite how Apple handled the FCPX launch, they still find the pro market important to them. Many of you may not believe it now, but you may be persuaded a few upgrades from now, when FCPX has matured a bit.

Avid, Apple and Adobe all leap frog each other with each new release. In addition, there are usually features or additional applications that are exclusive to one developer that the others haven't attempted to take on or match.

All the developers are aware that a good amount of their user base want their applications to handshake with many other applications as smoothly as possible.

Avid and Adobe have added support for Apple's ProRes codecs and the XML format to work nicely with FCP Studio. We'll see how this all evolves with FCPX in the future.

Now it's understandable that cost is an important consideration with using more than one suite of tools, and more hardware may be needed so that some of the other tools can be used with optimal performance.

If you're in the business of post, it's easier to pay for these costs, because you can seek out clients who will pay for the versatility you can bring to their projects.

Indie filmmakers may be too cash strapped to do so, but I still recommend they take advantage of these deals when they come along. If a tool can save you time and enhance the quality of your work, it's valuable, especially as those tools get more advanced.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A few hundred of my closest strangers...

When I first heard about Twitter, I was thinking it's similar to Facebook's status update feature, but limited to only 140 characters. It wasn't appealing at the time.

Some time later, I noticed a number of the bloggers I been following were making frequent updates on Twitter and only the occasional blog posts. I decided to sign up on Twitter, follow the bloggers I liked and even follow some of people the bloggers liked.

The benefit of Twitter for me became clear when the annual NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Conference began in Las Vegas. Many of the people I've been following were at NAB, and been tweeting and taking pictures on the show floor. They also linked to press releases or websites going into depth about interesting products and announcements.

I've expanded my follow list on Twitter considerably since then, and find that it invaluable in keeping up with interesting trends in film, media and technology.