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Setting Expectations for 4K Video cameras

4K Camera

Posted by: Clayton Moore

4k and larger is now-a-days becoming a standard for shooting things like features and documentaries, PSAs and commercials and the like.

For our forte’ live streaming, switchers like the NewTek Tricaster and almost all others that we use so much are not a 4k device so its all HD for that now. What we hope to find out with a test drive in October of the Panasonic AG-DVX20, its newest 4K camera, is to find out is how the Image Stabilizer performs in HD for the streaming we do. Many of the shots we need are from across a room or auditorium. We want to see less movement when zoomed in and we want to see less interference from people walking near the camera (particularly the press gorillas). If the IS is (like a lot of new camcorders now) much better ………. then combined with a heavier lens, it might be what we need in that regard. And we have 4k for more eye-popping production work.

One of our PDs ……… gave thumbs down on the camera saying it was not updated enough technology wise. Specifically he was on the whole High Dynamic Range kick saying that was the next thing coming…..soon. I don’t think he understands what thats really about. Then again maybe he means something different.

Let me explain. At the HPA Tech Retreat back in 2013 I think it was, Dolby Labs introduced Dolby Vision. It’s about re-producing greater color depth combined with MUCH brighter images and more dynamic range. The key is “re-producing” images at the viewer level. You may have seen what images looked like in a TV station control room vs what they were like once you got home. Because broadcast monitors were capable of much brighter and sharper and more color accurate images what you saw in the control room was not what you got when you got home.

Dolby has come up with a way to (using a carrier signal) infuse way more color and brightness information into a TV designed to decode that signal at the viewer end.

There are TVs about to hit the market that can do this but they are very pricey and the only high dynamic range content that I know of now are streaming solutions. Though SONY wants to play with this as well.

Here is the take away on this and why I’m not sure our PD and I were on the same page. There are already cameras out there that can shoot video to take advantage of high dynamic range. There have been for a while its just that we have a broadcast medium and older TV standards that cannot “re-produce” it. RED, Black Magic, Kinefinity, ARRI can all do this. 14-16 stops of dynamic range 12 bit color etc. $5,000 an up. The work flow on the back end for post using these rigs is not cheap. Our own Black Magic Cinema camera when shooting RAW can already do some super eye-popping video working in 2.5k resolution that would far out perform what a standard TV could give you.

About the Author:

Clayton Moore is a very creative individual with years of experience in television broadcasting, videography and cinematography. He worked for Apple computer for many years and is an expert in the fields of non-linear editing and camera work.



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