I have been watching the rollout of 2K/4K Camera, Stock Footage, and Post Production tools over the last 9 months. Is 2-4K going to follow in the footsteps of the much touted 3D Universe that was going to revolutionize production, only to find it’s way into very small niche markets for it’s Content, or is it the Next Big Thing??
After watching the 2K/4k movement develop, and its merits beginning to be taken seriously, it appears that it has many more fundamental trends in it’s favor.
1. The availability of relatively inexpensive 2K/4K Sensors, Digital Cinema Cameras, lenses & capturing tools, to ensure low cost production tools and the Digital Content Democracy ( the ability of cheap high quality production tools, so everyone can own and create with them).
2. IBM’s Thunderbolt transport technology. I am sure you remember when Firewire came along and disrupted or transformed ( depending on your point of View) our industry. Back then, Firewire and disk speed advances allowed everyone to build and afford their own edit suite. Thunderbolt has the ability right now to provide 2K/4K digital transport in/out of your computer. and it’s framework offers a future path to Optical transport.
3. The development of SSD Disk Drives. Solid State Drives are being used increasingly in Acquisition (Camera Playback and Record) Post Production, and Content Delivery. The Digital Cinema camera just released by Blackmagic Design, and our friend Mr Grant Petty is a prime example of this 2K/4K infrastructure. I will cover the new tools at BMD in a later post.
The SSD’s are Silicon Based, with no moving parts, and provide a 5 fold increase in throughput. By using these SSD’s to create a RAID (redundant array of independent disks) you have the bandwidth to create and edit 2K/4K in realtime.
2K4K Production Drivers
The future of these production tools and technologies, will only be driven by demand. In that regard, I am seeing more and more live event production (Concert, Broadcast, Corporate, etc) that are looking to Projected and/or LED wall video Content as a enhancement and/or replacement for physical sets. The ability to present a Live Full scale image 150 ft long and 60 ft high in 4K resolution, does create a immerse impact.
The major video projection manufacturers are delivering 2-4K projectors for Large Venue Corporate and Rental Markets. As the US consumer is exposed to 2-4K Technology in Concerts, and Corporate Staging events,the want to have the same for their Home Theater.. ( Think floor to ceiling sized, real life scaled immerse images). The pricing is still quite high, but as the costs for the 2-4K sensors and LED panels come down, as the always do (See Moore’s law ), the demand will only heat up further. The US consumer will always want it Bigger, Better, and 2K-4K seems to fit the requirements.
The First time I saw 4K projected was at the NAB two or three years ago, and Sony displayed their new 4K projector is a small demo theater. A segment of Lord of the Rings was presented in 4K , and when it began to play I was stunned. The immerse effects of it’s high resolution and scale of picture was overwhelming.
I was reminded of the last time I felt that way.. It was summer 1978 and I talked my kid brother into going with me to a Sci Fi flick called StarWars.. As the first spaceship flew over head, I knew I was seeing the start of a whole new Thing..
Would love to hear your input on this subject