Who cares about 4K? Philip Bloom, Vincent Laforet and others discuss ultra high-def at NAB

by Liam McCabe

posted Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM EST


At least a half-dozen new 4K cameras were announced at NAB 2014 earlier this week. But 4K TVs are still absurdly expensive, and even if you own one, there’s almost nothing to watch. Plenty of people don’t even bother to watch movies or TV in high-definition as it is, so why are we in such a rush to capture even more resolution that nobody will watch?

Here’s a chance to hear about it from the folks who actually use these cameras. Noted filmmakers Vincent Laforet, Philip Bloom, and Garret Brown (among others) sat down for a panel discussion at NAB about the ways that they use 4K in their workflow, whether there’s really a place for 4K in homes, and attitudes toward technological changes in filmmaking.

The main takeaway from the conversation is that 4K cameras don’t always need to shoot content that will be displayed in 4K. The extra resolution just allows for more breathing room when it comes to filming work meant for HD or even 2K. “It allows me to have more latitude in terms of mistakes,” said Laforet, noting that you can always just crop in. Special-effects producers also prefer to work with higher-res footage.


Bloom noted that most people will not be able to notice a difference between HD and 4K unless they get an enormous TV, or sit close to the screen. “Where 4K is going to come into its own is the movie theater,” Bloom said. “That’s the experience.” (Bloom also admits that when he has trouble sleeping, he watches his own films.) Most of the panel hosts admitted that their parents can’t see a difference between 4K and 1080p, and usually just watch standard-definition TV channels, even though they pay for high-def.

Toward the end of the panel, host Dan Chung joked that, “You came here two years ago, and you were all talking 3D.” Hiyo! "We meet again in two years about 16k, right?" said Brown. We’ll see how 4K works out over the next few years, and whether there’s any end to the madness of ever-increasing video resolution.

(Via ISO 1200)