April 07, 2014 - Las Vegas, NV

by PF Bentley

As soon as I slowly walked into the Las Vegas Hotel after my flight from Hawaii at 12:30am I found him.

Elvis was standing there waiting for me.

That's more than I can say about Dirck Halstead, but we'll get to that shortly.

This year, I'm solo at National Association of Broadcasters conference. My colleague Roger Richards had to stay home to edit some big film project and Dirck Halstead is living in an armed compound deep in the jungles of Central America protected by a group of militant pigmies. Rumor has it that he's shaved his head and sits all day sweating in an old black cotton t-shirt while drinking cheap beer and mumbling "The horror, the horror". Whatever that means.

I'll try and obtain more information on Dirck as the week progresses and pass it on.

The big buzz here is about 4K. I'm slightly skeptical for several reasons.

Who out there has a 4K TV set? Did you buy a 3D set when the buzz here a couple years back at NAB was all about 3D? Where did 3D go? Did I miss the revolution?

I like the idea of 4K of course. Cleaner images are a great thing. There will be cameras that produce 4K. There will be editing programs that can edit 4K. But will the masses have 4K TV's in the next couple of years? I'm still having to output some jobs for the 12 people who still have 4:3 sets. Are you willing to ditch your current 1K set you just bought at Costco to watch the few programs available in 4K?

And as editors are you willing to now invest more hard drives and more powerful computers for the storage and processing of these giant 4K files? Do you need 4K for your web-based clients? Will 4K be only for stock agencies and Hollywood films? Did I mention you'll also need a really high-end (and expensive) video card?

Sony came out the the PWX-Z100 earlier his year. It was $5500.00 and worked like the famed EX-1. Was this finally the ENG unibody camera I have been trying to find since 2008 when I asked Canon to take the 5D sensor and merge into the unibody ENG body form.

My friend Rick Ray who owns the stock agency DVArchive bought one and tested it out. He was not impressed with the very noticeable noise/grain the image and it's poor low light performance. He ended up sending it back for a full refund. Not a good start of the 4K future, Sony. Maybe you want to test it out before releasing it. Hopefully there will be a firmware update shown here this week.

Yesterday Sony announced their new 35MM full frame Alpha A7s that shoots 4K video. I only hope someone with normal vision tested the output on this one. I'm sure Zacuto is already planning the new Sony A7s Frankenstein rig line.

I do have a few good things to say about 4K. The images are super resolution, you can crop (or pan & scan) the image for 1080 output, I saw how the new FCP 10.1 handles editing 4K proxies and it's pretty good. 4K makes HD look like Mini DV.

We are however trapped in a never ending spiral. 4K now, then we'll need 8K to crop in on the 4K output when that becomes the norm for broadcasting. Then 8K will be the norm and we'll want 16K… you get the picture.

By the way - if you shoot with a 5D Mark3 and install Magic Lantern, it will let you record RAW 5K video. Maybe this is something to think about if you're just shooting stock. Oh, yeah, you'll need more compact flash cards and more hard drives for this - hey's it's 5K.

The show starts in a few hours. I'll have more in the days ahead.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo
Get a FREE Portabrace RIG Case with Fee-N-G Purchase!