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The Latest Trend in Television: 4K UHD

The digital world is evolving and unless businesses want their video content to go the way of the dinosaurs, our production techniques have to start evolving too.

Capitol Broadcasting Company recently attended the ATSC Broadcast Television Conference and spoke about plans to transition into a new television broadcast standard. In addition to reviewing highlights of the last transition from analog to digital television and addressing questions about the next transition, the implementation of 4K Ultra-High Definition Television was assessed in a panel discussion.

We started using the Red Scarlet 4K UHD camera last year after we heard it was taking Hollywood by storm. Movies such as Lone Survivor, Thor: The Dark World, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug have all used the Red camera for filming, as well as television shows such as House of Cards, Criminal Minds, and Supernatural. Now, it very well may become part of the new television standard. As 4K prevails over alternatives, companies will have to adapt to the new technology in order to stay on top of the industry.

Globosat, a cable and satellite service in South America, has partnered with several other sony_4k_ces_header_contentfullwidthservice providers including Envivio, which has over 300 content and service provider clients worldwide, to broadcast the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in 4K. Globostat CTO Robert Primo boasted that “Global sporting events like the 2014 World Cup finals are the ideal stage to showcase the promise of 4K TV to consumers.”

Right here in our neck of the woods, WRAL is pushing the envelope in their endeavors to incorporate 4K UHD cameras into their programming. Their documentary, Take Me Out to the Bulls Game, will debut on television later this summer and will be the first locally produced 4K program in the country.

Now is the time to start planning to produce in 4K, before your video content becomes obsolete. Our use of the Red camera to create 4K UHD productions is part of our efforts to stay ahead of the curve in the video industry, and we’d love to help your company make the transition into the new age of television. Contact us for more information about how we can deliver the newest, most cutting-edge services for your needs or watch our 4K demo reel below to see what we can do for you.

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4k UHD

The latest video technology, used in such featured films as The Amazing Spiderman and The Great Gatsby, has come to Blueforest Studios.

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Heralded as the best picture quality on the market, 4k film is often shot on cameras manufactured by Red Digital Cinema Company, established by sunglass mogul Jim Jannard: the founder of Oakley.

While filmmakers have been shooting in 4k for several years, few have had the capability of playing back video in that quality (4096×2160). That’s begun to change — and here at Blueforest, we’re ahead of the curve.

Our creative director, Ammon Ehrismon, has developed a computer capable of displaying 4k-quality film — commonly referred to as ultra high-def (UHD) — which boasts resolution four-times better than HD.

We now shoot roughly 30 percent of our videos with the Red Scarlet 4k UHD camera. For more information on Red technology, you can visit their website at http://www.red.com.

4k in Hollywood
Many Hollywood filmmakers now shoot in 4k, including Peter Jackson, Ron Howard, and Steven Soderbergh.

Jackson, an Academy Award-winning director, used 48 Red Digital cameras for his latest hit, The Hobbit, which has been nominated for numerous Oscars, including “Best Digital Efects” and “Best Production Design.”

Additionally, television shows such as Louie, Criminal Minds, and Storage Wards have implemented Red Digital technology.

And these cameras don’t just do video: Time Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, and many other print publications have used Red Digital cameras to shoot photographs for magazine covers, making this equpment not only some of the best out there, but some of the most versatile, as well.

While Ultra High Definition production has yet to become a mainstream practice, it’s not too early to start acquiring content in 4k! You can have video ready for the UHD era before your competition — and here at Atlantic Creative, we want to provide you with that service.

Contact Laura Faughtenberry today for an estimate.

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The Top 4 Reasons You Should Care About 4k

If you are reading this article, I assume you’ve heard of 4k at this point.  If you’re still not sure what it is, here’s a brief overview. You’ve heard of 1080p which is a video with a resolution of 1920×1080. That’s a lot of pixels and produces some great images on your home TV if you have HD content like Blu Ray, HD cable or Satellite, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 etc.

Now imagine multiolying that resolution by 4! Now you have 4k or Ultra High Definition (UHD.) The term 4k comes from the hollywood film industry because they have been scanning and projecting film prints at 4k resolution for many years now.

So, why should you care?

  1. It might be the next big thing.  There’s always a “next big thing” in technology. Eight years ago (in 2004) 1080p HD was introduced. Seven years before that was when DVDs became the next big thing. If you follow that pattern in technology, we are due for a “next big thing.” The industry tried to push 3d on us (mainly because it’s harder to pirate,) but that has proven to be more of a niche thing.

If you’ve followed CES 2013, you may have learned that almost every major TV manufacturer has just announced a 4k TV set. Sony in particular seems to be going all in on it announching 4k TVs, 4k broadcast and disk formats, 4k camcorders, and there’s a strong rumor that the PS4 will be the first 4k gaming platform. Many signs indicate that 4k UHD will be the next big thing in media.

        2.  For some of us, it already is the next big thing.  We’ve been filming TV commercials, web videos, and documentaries in 4k for about a year now. There are at least 2 other video production companies in town doing so as well. I’ve had many people ask me why we are filming in 4k. Here are the top 4 reasons I give them:

  • Acquiring footage in 4k gives us sharper 1080p images.
  • Future proofing our library. In 5 years, when 4k is mainstream, our clients will have a 4k library of footage to draw from.
  • Flexibility. I can film a wide shot and later change it to a close up and still be well over 1080p resolution. I’ve done it before and it’s gotten me out of a couple of pinches.
  • Bragging rights. It’s a character flaw. I’m an early adopter. I like being out on the bleeding edge. It costs me time and money sometimes, but it also means I can write this article so you can learn from my mistakes.

         3. Movie Theaters. You may or may not know that movie theaters have been projecting 4k movies for several years now. So how does that affect you? Well, if you are producing a TV commercial or documentary that you ever want to play in theaters, you will be able to take advantage of the power of 4k UHD. There is a company called RED (who happens to manufactuare the 4k cameras we use) and they have jumped in the 4k theater distribution game. What this means is that in a couple of years, there may be a way for you to very easily screen a low budget film in a local theater at 4k UHD.

         4.  It’s Beautiful!  A funny thing is that even though I have been filming in 4k for over a year, up until last month I have never SEEN any of my images in 4k. That all changed when we discovered a high end home theater company in town who has a 4k projector installed in a $200,000 home theatre demo at their office. They too had never seen 4k footage on their beautiful set-up. That’s because there are still no devices that are capable of playing back 4k footage.

We spent several weeks building a custom computer rig that was up to the task of 4k. Last month when we sat down to finally see true 4k projected I was blown away. I saw details in the footage I had shot that I have never seen before and I have looked at the footage for hours upon hours. This was good and bad, because I realized that I am going to have to raise the bar in some of the ways I am shooting because 4k shows off every mistake you make.

 So, the bottom line on 4k for consumers is that it’s coming. I imagine the TV sets will be starting at $5,000-$7,000 and will drop in price from there in much the same way 1080p did. TVs are getting larger, so an 84″ screen will soon cost the same as a 60″ 1080p screen did a few years ago. Content is also on it’s way as several companies have introduced formats that can pack 4k into a bandwidth similar to bluray discs or even less.

For companies that are producing videos, commercials, etc, you can hire a local company like ours and have us produce your video in 4k for not that much more than producing it in HD. (There’s about a 10-20% increase in cost due to equipment and data storage costs.)  Here’s a commercial we recently finished that was shot in 4k and was broadcast in HD last month on local TV.

If you have any questions about 4k, email me Ammon Ehrisman at ammonATblueforesstudios.com because I love talking about it!

(Ammon is the Creative Director at Atlantic Creative located in Raleigh, NC.)

 

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Red Epic vs. Canon DSLR

As you know our team is always pushing the envelope on the tools and techniques that they use to create awesome video productions.  They are always learning, trying out new things and deciding which tools and techniques improve our video productions and which are just neat little tricks.  Well, they have been researching the Red Epic for some time and we’re thrilled to get a chance to use it to shoot some TV Spots for some of our clients.

So we came up with our first test footage using the Red Epic for Carolina Ale House - Doesn’t this burger look great?  And how about that beer?

Can you tell the difference from the burger and beer above and this very nice and most popular TV commercial that we created for Carolina Ale House last Spring?  We shot this with our Canon DSLR and are very happy with the results – especially all the views online and the response from those who have seen this TV spot while watching basketball and hockey! We’d love your thoughts, comments and questions so let us know what you think!

Blueforest Studios is a leading video production company located in Raleigh, NC