The Big Question: Why Post in 4K?

StudioDaily by Bryany Frazer

Panelists at CCW Say Costs, Benefits Must Be Weighed to Make Decisions

When does 4K make sense in post? Not as often as you might think, according to some speakers at last week's Production + Post Conference, held in conjunction with Content and Communications World at Javits Center in New York City. Post gurus said it's not always easy to make a budgetary case for 4K, with its dramatically increased demands for post-production bandwidth and storage capacity. High-profile features are often graded at 2K or, in the case of Dallas Buyers Club (pictured, top), in HD.

There was general agreement that 4K acquisition has gotten a solid foothold fairly quickly in production. One session was dedicated to Sony's 4K-capable F5 and F55 cameras, as panelists assessed their usability in a number of different applications. Matthew Schneider, director of technology for Technicolor/Postworks NY, said that while scripted TV and feature filmmakers were his first 4K customers, he was surprised to see a "vocal" interest in shooting 4K from reality TV producers.

Of the projects being posted in Postworks' more-than-100 editing rooms, Schneider said "a good number are shooting XAVC HD or, more recently, XAVC 4K," eyeing a final 16×9 HD frame extraction from the high-resolution original. Schneider said it's a way for those productions to differentiate themselves. "Any way they can get a leg up, it's the smart thing for them to do," he said.

Cinematographer Mauricio Rubinstein agreed that 4K had gotten a firm foothold in production, but noted the disconnect between the resolution at acquisition and at delivery. "A year ago, we were shooting Gossip Girl to tape," he said. "Now, we're shooting 4K to cards. And the first thing we do is downconvert to 2K, because there are no 4K broadcasts yet." read more...

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