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4K Cinematography UHD CES

4K Cinematography UHD CES, the Consumer Electronics Association, introduced the term UHD or Ultra High Definition, partly defined as resolutions of “at least 3,840×2,160 pixels”.

We have a Red Dragon Camera package for rent in our studio or on location with our AC/DIT.

Video Production Red Pro Camera

The idea was to replace the term 4K.


Sony then announced it was going to call the technology “4K UHD or Ultra High Definition. This is the term now used by most other manufacturers as well, who seem interested in covering all the bases. You will often see UHD used interchangeably with 4K when describing TVs, monitors,  tablets, accessories or the resolution of the content. 4K is the new buzz word in the tech world right now, and it’s rewriting the book when it comes to high image quality. And not merely, 4K TV and cinema, but also cameras, computer monitors smartphones and tablets,  etc.  That is virtually anything could display high-quality images. Commercial 4K monitors and television sets are now available from most of the major manufacturers such as Samsung, and Sony.

UHD is the term for higher res (that is more pixels) than standard HDTV, as well as producing more realistic color space and HFR  (high frame rates). This year, the only one available in new monitors and content in 4K resolution.   Looking at the new TVs shown at CES 2014, manufacturers are tripping over themselves to bring you a new array of 4K compatible products. And the trend is sure to continue.

The transition from HD 1080p to 4K TV hardware we predict will be swift and inevitable. This year 4K TVs will replace high-end 1080p sets as the best-performing LED LCD-based TV monitors available on the market.   Oddly enough, although the actual reason they’re better will have nothing to do with their resolution.

Confused again?

Ok, we’ll walk you through the maze of terms, starting with the this “What the hell is  4K anyway and what makes it different from 18080p HD?


4K Cinema vs ‘Ultra HD’

A short history lesson:  CES, the Consumer Electronics Association, introduced the term UHD or Ultra High Definition, partially defined as resolutions of “at least 3,840 X 2,160 pixels”.  The idea was to replace the term “4K”.

The CEA’s name lasted less than a day, as Sony then announced it was going to call it “4K Ultra High Definition”. This is the term now used by most other cameras and TV manufacturers.

In practice, you will often see UHD used interchangeably with 4K, whether describing TVs, source devices, accessories or even content.

Newer, high-end Digital cinematography cameras such as the RED & Alexa can capture high-quality images with either CMOS or CCD sensors similar in size to 35 mm or as with the new Vision 65 camera an actual widescreen 65 mm frame.

The image might be projected onto a single 35mm sensor in the same way as it would onto an equal-sized film frame.  Professional cameras of this type are often outfitted with PL camera mounts like their film camera counterparts.  The PL mounts fit a very wide range of existing cinema lenses.  As with the present 35 mm film cameras,  these digital devices are built to capture images with the same shallow depth of field as the usual cinema 35 mm cameras.

ALEXA MB-450 Camera

ALEXA MB-450 4K Camera

Shallow depth of field is a highly desirable feature for most professional cinematographers.   Previous video formats are usually talked about in terms of their vertical resolution, 1080p at 1920 X 1080 pixels.  While the new digital formats are described in terms of horizontal res.

Thus, the horizontal resolution of a corresponding full-aperture digital frame is actually 4K pixels.   Vertical resolutions vary with their aspect ratios;  so a 2K image with the usual 16 X 9  ratio is 2048 X 1152 pixels,  and a 2K image with an “Academy Frame”  of 4:3  is 2048 X 1536 pixels.  For example, a 2K image is 2048 pixels wide, and a 4K image is 4096 pixels wide.

Formats designed for digital cinema are progressive scans (as in 1080p, 720p, etc, and capture in the higher formats occurs a the same 24 fps rate established as the standard for 35mm film.

Recent cinema event feature films such as “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”  have an HFR  (High Frame Rate) twice the normal 24 FPS which has long been a cinema standard.  The DCI standard for cinema usually relies on a 1.89:1 aspect ratio, thus defining the maximum container size for 4K as 4096×2160 pixels and for 2K as 2048×1080 pixels. When distributed in the form of a Digital Cinema Package (DCP), content is letterboxed to fit within one of these formats.

Is 4K or UHD a fad or here to stay?

Our opinion is that will become the new, de-facto standard.  And we will soon see a jump on the advance cinema front to 8K and beyond.

KenKast CES 4K Video production

KenCast at CES 2014. We were privileged to be at the Ken cast Corporation booth at NAB 2014 for the unveiling of the Cinema Of the future.

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