Bruce told that 720 plays surprisingly well in
A theater BUT at the condition that it's compression
After this experience I have to say that he was
Absolutly right. It's not that much the reso that
Counts, although it does of course, but the quality
Of the recording and so the compression.
I think everyone in the professional imaging business hates catch phrases.
I know I do.
We saw it with stills, 6, 11, 22, 31, 40, 60 now 36 megapixels and that was the only thing that mattered for a long time.
Now that still digital has kind of settled down, nobody asks (or demands) that you send a 300 ppi, 40" file, in fact if you send a still that is much over 40mb, they say it's too big.
But motion imagery is going through the same catch phrase stage.
I just had an ad agency ask for a uncompressed prorezz 444 clip . . . and . . . they wanted it online to download. It took 26 hours to put it on the server and once they realized it would take them 6 hours to download it . . . then an h264 compressed file was fine.
"Catch phrases" and I'm sure somebody said "I dunno, just ask for a uncompressed file", rather than actually look at what they needed.
When it comes to cameras, it's interesting that the bigger the budget, the higher the production values, the less the camera matters.
Stills or motion. We all know if you have excellent production values, shooting a still project with a 17mp camera vs. a 40mpx camera is just splitting hairs, hairs that nobody will see in any format, unless you spend your days with your nose on a screen.
In fact the only people that push for larger files is the hardware and software makers. For them it's just another reason to sell more, buy more stuff, but for the production company that has to do all of this work, it's just another sea change where everything you owned today became obsolete.
Not that you'd shoot a 220 million dollar movie on a gh3 or a 5d2, but honestly if you have the budget to really light, to have a huge team work in post, you could and nobody would know, even the experts.
Actually the less production values you have, the less ability to fill light properly, the more you have to mess with an image the more resolution, compression and bit depth matter.
We're starting to see a huge volume of 4k cameras come our way, in every style, shape and format, but as you can see from a movie shot on an Arri at 2k, compared to an Epic at 5k, the differences just aren't there if the production is proper. Even "Act Of Valor" which was shot on Canon 5d's looks tremendous in any theatre, but it has a year of post production.
Though when the 4k cameras hit the door, from cell phones to handicams, it's going to be another catch phrase based around pixels and more pixels does not usually make a better image, though it does change the pricing dynamics of a production, for us non 200 million dollar per production workers.
The project we are presently in post production with, will have close to 30 terbytes of storage when finished. Yea 30 tb. 10 tb on set backed up, another 10 tb to transfer to a large system drive and transcoded, the edits, the burned out projects, transcoded for preview and web, the proxy files that have to be subtitled in multiple languages and replaced with final footage, then the final coloration. Of course that final 10 TB has to be backed up again.
But pixels are pixels and whether you shoot in 4:2:0 (which is 1/4 of the color information) or 4:4:4 (which is full color information) at any bitrate, by the time you edit and color and purpose out to a client acceptable files your looking at huge volumes of data for a just a series of two minute web movies and soon instead of asking for 1920 x 1080 footage it will be some flavor of 4k.
My advice to anyone looking at motion cameras is, 1. Make sure it shoots a minimum of 442, 2. has a minimum 70 something mbs recording, has the least amount of compression possible 3. Allows you to capture a file you believe is pretty (like a film stock) and don't worry if it's 2k, 4k, 5k or 8k.
But my advice like many others that produce commerce for a living will probably fall on deaf ears, because everyone in the sell equipment chain, from camera reviewers, to blogs, to websites to the makers will be pushing the magic word, 4k.
Though just like in stills, you want sharpness, detail, get a tripod, you want nice motion imagery, try some fill lighting. No camera will cover limited production values.