2K or 4K workflow?

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  04 April 2013
2K or 4K workflow?


Just a question regarding does anyone do 4K workflows?

Especially as recent movie cameras from NAB allowing for affordable 4K acquisition, are we still downscaling to 2K for VFX work? Or are there stages, like do all keying in 4K and then compositing results downscaled?

JUst wanted to know is there is a trend happening, I put an order for a 4K camera, trying to grasp how important the extra pixels are?

  04 April 2013
The extra cost in disk and rendertime means that typically a studio will only do 4K if it's specified by the client or for a hero type sequence. If a Film is scanned or Digitally shot at 2k then you might as well work in 2k. If it's shot at 4k then well you have to make a decision as to what you can afford to do. First thing you should consider is do you even have a decent reviewing system to review in 4k? Your either buying an expensive projector or new 4k TV, or your reviewing 25% of the image at a time at best.
Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
  04 April 2013
I've only seen 4K for shots that need to be keyed or scaled up. Anything else is usually 2K, apart from material for the offline edit which is usually HD or even 720p. And I've never seen any output larger than 2K.
  04 April 2013
Hi, the latest Blender movie is rerendered in 4K and all compositing and color grading is using 4K.
The orginal footage was filmed in 4K.


I think in the next years more and more 4K is comming.

Cheers, mib.
  04 April 2013
Most im willing to bet is still 2k. Unless you own a massive projector at home, half the size of an Imax screen, you're buying marketing, not quality.

TV stuff is HD and its not ever going to switch to 4k without budgets going throgh the roof.

The current 4k TV stuff is manufacturers running out of ideas and grasping at straws. They havent had a massive "idea" to get behind ever since SD to HD days.

They tried, and some would argue, failed, with the 3D trend. Now its onto the next thing marketing can come up with.

Untill they invent smellOvision or holographic displays, they'll keep coming out with thise gold nuggets to try and make sales.
  04 April 2013
So what we are seeing in cinemas that have 4K projectors is really only ever upscaled 2K? The VFX wouldn't be re-rendered at higher res?

  04 April 2013
most movies are shot in 2-4k with a 2k post pipeline, unless they're major blockbusters, and even if they are, a lot are processed at 2k.

4k pipelines are generally reserved for big time movies like Nolan's Batman series, possibly Avengers, though im just guessing on that one based on budget.

a full 8k pipeline for the entire project (every shot), from my knowledge, currently hasnt been done(in terms of a big fx movie). Its been used sparingly is some IMAX films, again Batman being a good example, for a few shots.

Movies in IMAX (not to be confused with IMAX movies) are up-scaled 2/4k to 4k/8k.

Size of the project can usually dictate what the end product will be output to, but its not a rule. For FX output to be 4k for the entire movie, you're probably looking at a project over 200 mil, and it usually has to be a big deal in terms of marketing to make sure they get people in theaters for it.

Its quite simple. 4k is more expensive than 2k, and to theater goers, unless they squint in IMAX theaters, they'll never perceive the difference (and even then, 99% regular Joe probably wont know better), which makes the extra cost worthless.
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by Jules123: So what we are seeing in cinemas that have 4K projectors is really only ever upscaled 2K? The VFX wouldn't be re-rendered at higher res?


To quote one of my favourite internet videos, "Aint nobody got time for that".

Only addressing your second question, you'd need to re-composite the movie, re-render every asset, and re-post the entire thing through for native 4k. No studio in their right mind would throw money out the window like that. Up-scaling is always the answer if it needs to be done.
  04 April 2013
Very few films are posted at anything greater than 2k wide. There are rare exceptions such as those which are shot anamorphic or have Imax sequences - for example The Dark Knight I believe used a combination of 4k, 5.6k and 8k (depending on the shot) for it's Imax sequences.

I guess a lot of this depends on what you want to do with the film your working on - is it going to be playing on the big screen? do you want to future-proof it so it can be released at 4k?

To give you an idea of storage requirements, a 90min 4K (4096x2304) film stored as a 10bit DPX files takes up 4553 GB of storage space, while the 2K (2048x1152) version would only take up 1138 GB of space.

But in saying that, there is no reason why you can't make you film at 4k. Just pays to keep some of the practical considerations in mind when doing so.
  04 April 2013
I worked on half a dozen films with 4k delivery in the mid 2000's before film started going away. Many DI's in mid 2000's we're done in 4k scans and we would comp all in 4k but the cgi would all be done in 2k and uprezed because the renders took too long. There are some vfx supes who are big on 4k because the green screen keys and comps just make everything look better. Also if you worked on any anamorphic shows it is almost a 4k show when it is undistorted.

Now that all the new digital cameras do 4k, there is a new big push for everything in 4k. Television manufacturers need 4k content in order to convince consumers to buy 4k televisions(which we're the big buzz at CES and NAB). You can probably guess the one big film studio which is a division of a company who also makes TV's. So in the next 5 years, everything including television is going to start making the switch.
  04 April 2013
4k is anything but uncommon these days.

At the very least you keep the plates around at that res if you have them, and try to keep as much prep work at that res as well.

If and when you downscale it's usually with a chunk of overscan (now that we have the luxury of it when footage comes from 4k and was actually shot with overscan in mind) for that last minute shake or pan&scan or at the very least undistortion/compensation that might not be redistorted back in full for various reasons, not to mention stereo done in post benefits enormously from a bigger source with overscan available.

Very little output and expensive rendering is done at 4k, but for as long as possible, given storage and processing constraints, you try at least to keep 2.5 to 2.8k alive and to the edges and reconform to 2k at the very end.
For as long as you can operate at a higher res, it's almost always beneficial to.

You usually proxy things down as well, of course, to avoid moving teras around every time someone opens a sequence.

4k camera availability is unlikely to become a full 4k pipeline for every movie any time soon given it can't even be projected properly more often than not anyway, but in many places you don't just ingest and immediately cut down to the smallest you can right away, nobody in their right mind throws away additional info unless they absolutely have to.
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  04 April 2013
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