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2.07.2009

24P, 4K, and Pixels

If you're interested in HD video production, the latest in camera technology, and love all things RED, 4K, 24P, P2, or otherwise... you need to read an article in the latest Creavite Cow Magazine: The truth about 2K, 4K & the Future of Pixels (it starts on page 5 of the .pdf).

For as much as I like geeking-out to media technology, I'll admit that I was completely lost in a couple places. For instance, I still don't understand how pixel technology works (specifically how RGB and YUV exist in the same sensor space, no matter if it uses a 4:4:4 sampling or a Bayer pattern):


RGB, Bayer, 4:4:4 and YUV

But I'm going to put that aside for a while until someone can finally present it in a way I understand. (In the meantime, if you want to know more about HDV and how it works, check out DJTV's segment on High Definition Acquisition).

Some of the things that John Galt talked about in the Creative Cow article made a ton of sense to me, and I'll try to give a couple examples so you can get excited about reading it.

1. 4K isn't 4K and not even IMAX is 4K

Some of the IMAX tech guys did a demonstration in which they used something very much like the following image:


Resolution Test

What do you see?

A gray box.

It's actually a grid of black and white squares. What the IMAX guys demonstrated was that even before you hit 4,000 of these pixels on the screen, it looks like the image above, meaning, "There was no longer any difference between black and white, which is what allows you to see sharpness. [Even if it was 4K,] everyone would have to be sitting in the first 6 rows. Otherwise [their] eyes wouldn't let them see [the extra detail]."

2. 24P should be replaced by more frames

I've been saying this for a long time: I really dislike the look of movement in 24P, especially in pans. It is impossible to focus on a single frame. The instance this really bothered me was watching Matrix: Reloaded during the Smith fight.


Matrix 2: Smith Fight sorry for the low-rez web grab

Mr. Galt notes that 24 frames per second was used because of the limitations of sound recording, not because of some visual aesthetic. And to prove one of his points, I took pictures at 1/25th of a second shutter speed while panning my camera. [After posting this, I think I misunderstood what was going on here, but now I'm afraid I'm even more confused <smile>]


Blurry Tree

There's more to the article, but for all the tech-speak and comparisons and marketing statements, the important thing for us to remember is:

Good media production has to do with how you use your tools to tell a good story. The rest is just details.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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