Digital magazine of the broadcast and audiovisual market
4K/UHD to suit all budgets
If something is resonating in our heads, it has to be 4K/UHD
We should clarify that 4K is the equivalent to the DCI formats for cinema purposes with a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, whereas UHD is the television format with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. Even so, when speaking about this resolution, we commonly call it 4K.
The use of cameras with 4K capturing technology has increased at a good pace, since the conception of 4K. Having an image that is 4 times a Full-HD provided a very distinct advantage in a production: the possibility of re-framing in post-production without losing quality or image resolution in HD. To this, we must also add that storage systems and workstations have moderated their costs quite a bit and edition no longer poses any problems. This has been of great help, as we can now choose with ultimate freedom where to do our post-production.
It makes increasing sense to work in this resolution from start to finish. The requirement levels of the platforms encourage having to deliver contents in this format even more. To this, we need to add that 4K does not only mean higher resolution but it also offers more dynamic range—it makes HDR possible—and broader colour spaces, so the quality of the image is much better. It is not just a matter of more pixels but also, better pixels and that they offer higher quality.
From our point of view, productions for cinema and television must be filmed in 4K or even higher, even if it is to lower them to 2K or HD after, depending on the screen for which the production is intended. Another kettle of fish altogether is live television, which continues to be a field for expensive equipment and prohibitive workflows, often because there is no margin for error. However, for documentaries, series, crafted features and films, it is the ideal format. Nowadays, there is equipment for all budgets, and this is what this article is all about.
Blackmagic Design Production Camera
Our favourite Blackmagic Design camera is the Production Camera, which is being used a lot these days. It works with 4K in RAW with the Adobe CinemaDNG codec. Perhaps this format penalises a bit because it is not one of the most polished codecs, but even so, it is a low-cost system that makes 4K images in RAW quite affordable. One important advantage is the DaVinci software with which you can edit quite well and is perfectly integrated with the camera. Blackmagic has seized the opportunity and gives the DaVinci licence free with your purchase.
The lightest and cheapest way of working with Canon is to use the XC15, a compact camera that has the advantage of using XF-AVC, the same codec as the C300 Mark ll. With this camera, we can record 4K video signals on CFast 2.0 cards. XF-AVC permits using the same compression system on several cameras, despite the sensor not being the same. In fact, if our budget was a little higher, we could use the C300 MII as our main camera and the XC15 as a B camera. Although the latter generates a lighter signal (the signal is lower), it can also be used as a complement to the C300 with no problem at all, and all this without using external recorders. The XF-AVC codec is supported by the common edition systems.