4K Workflow: Industry Pros Face the Challenges

Creative COW by Debra Kaufman

Is 4K the latest over-hyped fad to come from the consumer electronics marketplace? Or is it a dominant force that will replace HD, just as HD did Standard Definition? A group of experts from various parts of the industry convened to discuss the issues, from acquisition through post and distribution. The use of 4K to shoot and distribute theatrical releases was much less controversial than 4K TV, which many think will first be distributed via IP networks. Although our experts disagreed on many points -- including whether 4K is even necessary -- they all agreed that the pitfalls of 4K TV are many. Here are some of their questions and conclusions.

Much has been made over the fact that we have 4K cameras that have proven themselves in production: in Creative COW, we covered BSC/ASC cinematographer Peter Suschitzky's experience with the Sony F65 on After Earth, and cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC also used the Sony F65 to shoot a 4K Oblivion. A visit to NAB this year showed plenty of 4K workflows -- with shipping and prototype gear.

How easy will it be to move from HD to 4K? What are the pain points and is there a way to get past them? How will 4K change how we work and do business? Do we even need 4K?

These and other questions were considered by a panel of experts convened by the Hollywood Post Alliance's SCRG (Sales Career Resource Group). Moderated by Phil Squyres, Senior Vice President, Sony Pictures Television, the panel included Curtis Clark, ASC; Terence Curren, President, AlphaDogs; Timothy Huber, Managing Partner, Theory Consulting; Steven Kang, Sr. Engineer, Content Partner Ops, Netflix; and Clyde Smith, SVP New Technology, Fox Network Engineering and Operations.

Squyres noted that the panel was chosen with an eye towards people with "skin in the game." "We have a cinematographer, a network engineering expert, a consultant that guides clients through options, a post production principal and an engineer from a more recent player in content distribution who has to figure out how to get 4K content in the home," he said, reporting that the conversation would focus on 4K TV but also touch on any other topics that came up relevant to 4K acquisition, post and distribution. read more...

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