During the live 8220;The Benefits of Using 4K Now” webinar, presenters James Fox, Geoff Peck and Scott Hamilton presented info that content creators need to consider in the present and future when it comes to 4K. As the CEO and VP of Technology at Dawnrunner, respectively, James and Geoff discussed what it means to take a 4K project from concept to completion while delivering incredible value to and for their clients. Scott is the Media & Entertainment Market Strategist at Dell, and as such he was able to talk through the best way content creators can work through technical and logistical issues presented by 4K. To watch a replay of the event, click here.
A number of questions came in during the webinar, and we were able to get to a few but there simply was not enough time to get to everything. Luckily, the guys found some time to address these questions in detail, and those questions along with answers from the Dawnrunner team and from Scott are now available.
When downsampling 4K 420 8bit, will I obtain 1080 444 10bit?
Dawnrunner Team: 4:4:4 Color sampling means that the chroma value of every pixel of the image is being sampled. 4:2:0 means that the chroma resolution is half of the actual resolution, so when shooting 4K your color resolution is actually 2k (lumanince still being sampled at 4K). Your color is already downsampled, so you won't really benefit as greatly from further downsampling. Downsampling 8bit footage will not make it 10bit, but I do suggest working in 16 or 32 bit color anyway and you won't lose any of the color depth you had before. While the benefits are not as great with 4:2:0 footage, there will still be a noticable difference by downsampling.
What do you think about delivering in 4K?
This is the new paradigm and there is a large advantage in shooting a higher resolution than your delivery format for many reasons. Right now 4K delivery is still in it's infancy. However, once it's widely adopted we will want to already be filming in 6K! We've already mentioned some of the creative reasons for filming in a higher resolution than your delivery, but quality is a factor as well. When you shoot at 4K and you deliver in 2K or 1080p you are in essence creating a much sharper, cleaner and more presentable film.
Not a question…but in this video presentation, the 4K and 1080P slides look the same. Too compressed for webcast?
Dawnrunner Team: Yeah, unfortunately the compression on the webcast killed that demonstration, but it looks like the 1080p is blurred and out of focus.
The image below should give you a better idea of the contrast.
Do we not still work inside the rec709 color space? I mean, consumer 4K TVs ARE rec709, but Sony is the only one developing a rec2020 OLED display. I really see the benefit in shooting 4K and delivering 2K, but what about REAL 4K?
Dawnrunner Team: First, I do think that part of the benefit of shooting and working in 4K is not only the increased spatial resolution but also the improved color. That said, one of the biggest advantages in the having better color rendition is for the post production artists; compositors and graders will get better results when they have better footage to start with. We can't control the how a consumer will view content, but we can support people with the best displays now. In a year or two the average consumer will be buying displays that do support wider color spaces and at least our content will be there for them to view.
I don't think 4K is future proof. 4K would be future proof if it could compliment the rec.2020 spec. We still have a sort of HDTV with rec709 spec with an enhanced resolution. I keep listening to “1080/2k delivering” so 4K isn’t future proof.
Dawnrunner Team: When we talk about the advantages of shooting 4K we're not necessarily talking about a specific standard of 4K. When we do our feature film work we're not working in rec709 just because at some point a viewer at home may have a display that only supports rec709 color. We suggest shooting in the highest format you can. At Dawnrunner, for 4K delivery we like to shoot 5k or 6k to get still take advantage of things like downsampling and reframing. Part of shooting high resolution is about giving yourself options in post. Don't worry about the delivery format so much if your video specs are better, you can always conform your output down to a lower spec.
How do you get the 4K brilliant images into broadcast colors?
Dawnrunner Team: That really depends on the applications that you are using. Adobe Premiere and After Effects, Assimilate Scratch, DaVinci Resolve and many other programs all do a fine job of color space conversion. The important part to remember is that it's relatively easy to drop down the color space but you can't recover color information that's lost which makes it important to shoot in a wide colorspace.
Speed to make a project is a key worry in our business… and limitation.
Dawnrunner Team: Speed is important to us too! We do a lot of client-based work and we're always under a deadline. You may be worried that 4K takes more time to process, but the slow-down isn't as significant as you'd expect. We've found that it's important to eliminate anything that slows down your artists first. So if a slow hard drive is making editing difficult address that issue. Issues that impact rendering or computer processes that don't involve human interaction can be addressed next. We've also seen that working in 4K helps us get better results the first time instead of wasting time with difficult to use HD footage. That in itself offsets any increased render time.
For the guys at Dawnrunner: What are the most common workflow pain points when selecting to work in 4K or 4K RAW?
Dawnrunner Team: There are some different things to think about when shooting 4K. Many people working with HD footage are used to working in a online-edit environment (editing with the camera original files directly). While this is possible today with fast computers, we have started making the first step of our post process a one-light color correction since the footage is raw. From there we can edit the graded footage in 4K or even create proxies for our editors. Finalizing, doing VFX, and delivering are pretty much the same, but we've found that it's these first steps that have changed a lot in our workflow and may be something that you need to get used to. We had to relearn how to estimate our post production schedule to accomodate these changes so that we could accurately communicate a time scale to our clients.
At Dawnrunner, what do you do to “squeeze” as much as you can out of a digital camera (Alexa or RED for example)? Shooting raw, convert in openEXR and work inside ACES?
Dawnrunner Team: In general we shoot RED raw, process a one-light in RED-Cine X, edit the raw R3D files in Adobe Premiere. If we're just cutting a simple piece for a client we work with the R3D files directly in the adobe suite, but for VFX sequences we usually take openEXR image sequences into after effects in ACES. However, we do change things up from project to project.
Does Scott know that in cuda computing a consumer card like geforce 780 can destroy a quadro one? I know that we are talking about workstation grade components vs consumer grade components but this is true.
Scott: Some GeForce products perform very well with Adobe products. Dell Workstations only support Quadro Professional graphics as they are more reliable and supported directly by Dell and NVIDIA.
Dawnrunner Team: The differences can be subtle but it's more than just the quality of the components. Quadro's do perform better in applications like 3DS Max and some other graphics packages. They also have some improvements that allow them to drive more, higher resolution displays which is key when you're working in 4K.
For James Fox, what's your outlook for 4K delivery to the home through “distribution points” other than the Internet video you mentioned? And with the growth of 4K TVs, when will the ad community embrace 4K commercials as they did with the advent of HD?
Dawnrunner Team: 4K will be coming to homes faster than you think. Displays are coming fast and as production ramps up prices will drop and people will buy 4K displays. It’s estimated that over 30 million 4K displays will ship this year. Consumers will want to have content that takes advantage of their new displays. Household distribution will happen for that reason alone. The lines between internet video and broadcast are already blurring, for many households it’s the same physical wires, the same company providing the services and set-top boxes are more like computers than they’ve ever been. Internet distributors, say Netflix for example, work hard to make their service available on every screen you own from phone to TV. This is a trend that will only continue and the difference between internet and broadcast will fade away.
On the second part… why not shoot commercials in 4K now? Commercials these days have so many outlets to be viewed by consumers from internet to broadcast and even public displays and in theaters. Those outlets will become 4K ready soon if they aren’t already so why shouldn’t your content look its best on every screen it can! Successful campaigns can have long lives too, and if you’re lucky enough to have a successful commercial you want it to be able to look as fresh 3 years from now as it does today.
Benefits of 4K vs 5K/6K for shooting? I don't want to spend large volumes of cash for 4K technology if it's going to be eclipsed in very near future. Any insight/thoughts?
Dawnrunner Team: That's a very valid point, and we have already begun filming in 5k/6k for VFX shoots that will be delivered in 4K. The transition from 4K to say, 6K will be much easier than the 1080 to 4K jump. When we talk about the advantages of shooting 4K we're not necessarily talking about a specificly 4K. It's more generally about shooting higher resolutions from 4K to 5K, 6K even 8K someday. The hurdle from HD to 4K+ is bigger than any of the jumps from 4K to 5K or 6K.
I'd like to ask about NVIDIA-DELL compatibility, why does the DELL UP2414Qit runs nicely at 4K 60Hz resolution in Windows, but not in a Mac iOS? Is it a technical issue?
Scott: There were some implementation challenges with the MST extension to DP 1.2 that is required to push UHD @ 60 Hz. Apple has actually loaded custom profile for both Ultra HD UltraSharps with the latest OSX update, 10.9.3. If the customer applies that update, the monitor should work.
Is 4K work even worth doing for a price point of $500 or below?
Dawnrunner Team: I'm not sure I understand the question fully, but if you mean a budget of $500 or below? It depends, really. If you're just starting out, or you're a looking to attract clients, any work (as long as it's high quality) is good for visibility. Just be careful not to unbalance your incoming/outgoing budgets. I argue that it's always good to produce the highest quality images possible – and the jobs and budgets will come! =)
Does Dell currently have any networked, say 6 video editors, solutions for editing?
Scott: Dell does offer servers and storage devices that can be used for centralized storage. See links below for details.
Also Dell server products (specially Power Edge 720) are certified for Adobe Anywhere.
Any arguments for how 4K makes sense for non-profit video production?
Dawnrunner Team: Absolutely! We do a lot of non-profit video work. You want to make sure you do not shoot obsolete footage… as visibility is key! Amazing, high-production quality images always help convey your message better, which can be vitally important for a non-profit. It's also worth noting that it's easy to get high-resolution still images from 4K video for use in print and web media which might save the time and money of additional shooting for those purposes.
10gbE or fiber SAS?
Dawnrunner Team: I'd go with 10gbE, I think it works out to be a little cheaper, but I don't have much experience with fiber. In general, though, go with the fastest equipment you can afford. That's true of hard drives, networking gear, cpus, graphics cards. Eliminating any bottlenecks will make your life easier and in most cases the equipment will pay for itself due to the decreased downtime waiting for processes to finish.
What was that mac/pc bridge product?
Scott: I’m not sure what you are referring to regarding a “bridge product”, but many of our solutions are great for transitioning from a Mac to a PC. The Dell Precision M3800 is a great product for those used to a MacBook Pro. The M3800 is lighter, thinner, has higher resolution and yet is more powerful than a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Plus, it’s designed and certified for professional applications like Adobe, AVID, and Autodesk. Go to dell.com/speedoflight to learn more.
If a client asks me to deliver prores I need to be able to do that. The only way to deliver prores is assimilate scratch
Dawnrunner Team: There are other solutions too for PC, Tachyon is one example.
Please email me full information about your rack mount solution for a computer edit station
Scott: We offer the R7610 rack mounted workstation and you can find out more at Dell.com/precision or contact your sales representative.
To watch a replay of the event, click here.