Photographer | Cinematographer

Shop Talk

Beyond HD

Early on and for the past several years anyone on set with me for any amount of time has probably heard me discussing my opinions on resolutions higher than HD (1920x1080p). With the exception of films with heavy VFX it has never seemed like a thing that would actually take off or even be something anyone would consider necessary.


I've had many conversations with ASC members and some of the biggest names in post workflow. Almost unanimously the opinion has been that one must look at the big picture, (pardon the pun), and that is that almost nothing is being delivered in resolutions higher than HD with the exception of cinemas.


Why do we need to spend all the money on data storage and machines capable of processing the incredible amount of information being captured by today's 4,5,and 6K capable camera systems? My personal opinion has always been that as cinematographers our job is to maintain control of the image. Directors of Photography are indeed as Dejan Georgevich, ASC says "the guardians of the image". I've said it many times and I'll say it again, we sometimes get so caught up in the gack that we can easily become distracted from the idea that our job is to fulfill the vision of the Director.


We are a community that is marketed to heavily and asked to try the latest toys of our industry. Just look at how many trade shows there are nowadays. 


So do I think we don't need to move beyond 2K? Not Really. I'm just ati-hype and putting the cart before the horse. 

Remember, my argument has always been regarding deliverables. As of late there have been several companies who I personally consider champions of industry that I feel always have their hand on the pulse of where technology really is and don't just jump the gun and push things down our throats. When Arri announced that they'd be moving beyond 2K and Apple recently announced a 5K IMac, I began to think that perhaps we have crossed the rubicon and perhaps soon the technology will be in place to deliver media at resolutions higher than HD. How this will happen is not really clear yet. We are only still at the beginnings of the era of streaming media and without some sort of compression algorithm that would allow that amount of data to pass through the current broadband infrastructure I don't see how Ultra High Definition video streaming will be possible. 


We we are incredibly fortunate to be living in an age of ever changing technology and ever expanding innovation. I wouldn't be surprised if the answer to all these questions are answered in the next couple of years.  


I guess all we can do is continue to adapt to the technology but never forget the fundamentals of cinematography.  


Here's to a beautiful future and beautiful pictures!  Cheers!  


Edward PagesComment