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Gene Sung

4K Finishes vs. 2K Finishes

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No luck on trying to Google it, but does anyone know the actual percentage of content that are finished / delivered in 4K / UHD vs. 2K / HD? Ex. = Movies? TV Shows? Web spots?

 

I'm assuming that most films finish in 2K / HD still, since many are shot on Alexa which is not a 4K camera? What do Marvel block busters finish in vs. Indie films?

At this point, a very slim percentage of my professional / paid jobs finish in 4K, but I work mainly in TV and web delivery, not Netflix (a boy can dream). I always capture in at least 4K to 6.5K. I personally believe you have a huge advantage by capturing more resolution than your finish, ie… capture 4K for a 2K finish.

What have your experiences been? Are you guys finishing more in 4K these days? Are you primarily capturing in 4K or more resolution? Even for HD finishes?

Mainly, I’m wondering if you’re finishing more in 4K these days?

The reason I ask is because I’m contemplating selling my 8K Red Epic-W (Usually shoot in 6.5K Super 35mm FOV or 6K APS-C FOV) and switching to a 5K Red Gemini (Will mainly shoot in 4K Super 35mm) which resolution aside, appears to have a better image, higher frame rates and big low light advantage.

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Most standard theatrical releases are finished in 2K (who knows if that'll change in a decade).

Every now and then you get a 4k feature finish, but it's mostly intended for the IMAX type screens, or they might do a separate finish for the 4k blurays.

 

I see a lot of the guys posting around here mention how they get annoyed that clients will ask for 4k for their web commercial while feature films are mostly still finished in 2K.

 

I've yet to have a client bring up 4K to me.

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Yeah, it's really weird. All of my better network and commercial jobs are HD finishes. I've only had two 4K finishes in the last year.

 

The "help your friends on passion projects / no money projects," they want a 4K finish, LOL.

 

Oh... the irony.

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Well for features, it's still 2k and the reason is quite simple; 3D and VFX. Right now the 3D theaters are all 2k outside of IMAX. So the studio's have zero reason to do a 4k finish with all the added render time for VFX work, so they don't bother most of the time. Yes, there are on average around 6 - 8 movies released on 4k each year for theatrical release, but most of those are not VFX movies.

 

For "made at home" and lower-budget productions, 4k is a lot easier. So you do see A LOT of 4k content being produced, it's just on the smaller scale of things. Heck, this kids movie I'm cutting now, they want a 4k finish and shot in 6k. Nobody cares... but they want it so... :gulp: I'm gonna deliver it.

 

So for theatrical 2k is still the standard. For television it's 1080p or 1080i a lot of times and for web (netflix/amazon), it's becoming increasingly 4k as a way to compete with broadcast. They want to drive consumers to their content by offering not only better but also higher resolution content for longevity purposes.

 

The funny thing is that quite a few "UHD" releases are up-scales from 2k masters. They do look A LOT BETTER then the HD BluRay releases, but that's because UHD BluRay is 10 bit 4:2:2, rather then 8 bit 4:2:0 and the data bit rate is WAY higher. So honestly a UHD BluRay @ 2k will probably be the best home theater solution available.

 

Finally... as Steve Yedlin pointed out in his recent video release, unless you sit on top of your monitor, a decent 2k release won't look any better then a 4k release. The only reason why 4k looks better is due to the higher bandwidth. Give 2k releases the same bandwidth and they will look nearly identical to the human eye.

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I work in VFX and we do get requests to deliver in 4K. I'm on the previs/animation side so I don't know all of the final delivery specs, but I do know that the most recent Netflix production I was on was shooting in 8K (!) and finishing in 4K. Why 8K, I don't know - doesn't make sense but they had the money and maybe wanted to "future proof" their camera original.

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I found a couple of fairly recent delivery spec documents for two different Netflix projects. This isn't really proprietary info and one of these two projects is out there so I'm pretty sure I'm not violating my NDA's.

 

This is for a recent Netflix series: show resolution 3840 x 2160

 

And this is for a Netflix feature:

plates turned over from Production will have resolution of 4144 x 2184 (effective 4k framed area of Open Gate)

shots delivered back to Production should have 5% protection resolution of 4042 x 2184

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And this is for a Netflix feature:

plates turned over from Production will have resolution of 4144 x 2184 (effective 4k framed area of Open Gate)

shots delivered back to Production should have 5% protection resolution of 4042 x 2184

Yep, all internal Netflix and Amazon productions are acquired and finished in 4k or greater.

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My last two features have decided to finish in 4K. It's not becoming much of an issue for indie filmmakers to shoot in 4K anymore in terms of digital storage space, at least in my experience.

 

I've never been requested anything higher than a 4K finish on any project, so selling your 8K Red for a 5K Gemini is probably a safe idea. Plus, you get that oh-so-sweet dual ISO. :)

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My last two features have decided to finish in 4K. It's not becoming much of an issue for indie filmmakers to shoot in 4K anymore in terms of digital storage space, at least in my experience.

 

I've never been requested anything higher than a 4K finish on any project, so selling your 8K Red for a 5K Gemini is probably a safe idea. Plus, you get that oh-so-sweet dual ISO. :)

 

Hey AJ, what was the resolution of the negative? I'm assuming if the negative was more than 4K it was a Red?

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Hey AJ, what was the resolution of the negative? I'm assuming if the negative was more than 4K it was a Red?

 

What do you mean by negative? All of my production's I've shot have been digital.

 

Mandao of the Dead was shot on a GH5 with an external recorder in 4K ProRes. Noise and Color was shot on the Red Dragon in anamorphic, R3D ~6K.

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What do you mean by negative? All of my production's I've shot have been digital.

 

Mandao of the Dead was shot on a GH5 with an external recorder in 4K ProRes. Noise and Color was shot on the Red Dragon in anamorphic, R3D ~6K.

 

My bad, I meant Digital Negative.

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My bad, I meant Digital Negative.

 

Ah, no worries!

 

Typically, though, I ask productions what their final deliverable is and then any VFX requirements before landing on a resolution. If it's for YouTube/Vimeo with little-to-no VFX, then a 1080p finish (and capture) will work just fine. Heavy color grade, lots of VFX, and a theatrical run? Definitely shoot in at least 4K-ish at a high bit depth and low compression (IE RAW, ProRes 4x4, etc).

 

That being said, there is no one-size-fits all approach to capturing the image. 1080p in the GH4 has more info per frame than 4K in the GH4 (when recorded internally for both resolutions), which will be a better format to shoot in if your final product (on said GH4) will be played on YouTube/Vimeo only.

 

I recommend checking out Steve Yedlin, ASC's resolution demo on his website. LINK I also recommend shooting him a tweet via twitter with any questions on resolution and final product. He'll usually respond! :)

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I work in VFX and we do get requests to deliver in 4K. I'm on the previs/animation side so I don't know all of the final delivery specs, but I do know that the most recent Netflix production I was on was shooting in 8K (!) and finishing in 4K. Why 8K, I don't know - doesn't make sense but they had the money and maybe wanted to "future proof" their camera original.

if its red 8k, shooting that and then downsampling to 4k will definitely overcome any downsides of the bayer sensor.

 

Now if they want you to work in 8k for a 4k delivery... yoish

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