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Canon 4K Video: Is It Necessary? Two Industry Pros Sound Off

Danny Greer
By Danny Greer
By Danny Greer

Canon announces two new 4K video cameras to much acclaim.  But with limited avenues for 4K viewing, is this higher resolution really necessary?

This year’s NAB show promises to be a big one for camera makers.  Much like the HD revolution of the early to mid 2000’s, the current “race to 4k” has many camera and equipment manufacturers scrambling to debut new models.

Canon 4K Video Cameras

You’ve got company, RED

Canon sent the digital production world in a tizzy this week with the pre-NAB announcement of their 4K capable EOS-1D C and C500 camera models.  No longer will this be a space totally dominated by RED Digital.  Canon’s announcement means that filmmakers and video shooters now have the option to shoot 4K for the same cost (or less) of many pro HD cams.

But like any emerging technology, there’s going to be some growing pains.  4K camera technology is ahead of the pack, while the technology to support this data-intensive format is lagging behind.

The 4K Future is Now?

Vincent Laforet Visuals DP 4K

VINCENT LAFORET, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and well-known DSLR shooter, recently heralded the announcement of these Canon cams…but he also added that the world might not yet be ready for 4K. The home-viewing audience is not yet equipped to view 4K video in all it’s glory, as televisions will need to be upgraded to take advantage of the additional resolution (wait, didn’t we just have to upgrade our TVs to support HD?).  The cinema is an ideal spot for 4K viewing, but movie theaters will also need to upgrade their projectors to accompany this higher resolution.  Vincent says, “It’s going to take a little while for this to happen – years, not months for most.”  Read Vincent Laforet’s well thought out look at 4K and the new Canon cameras, over on his blog.

Philip Bloom DP 4K

PHILIP BLOOM, another heavyweight in the world of digital videography, echoes these sentiments…saying that 4K resolutions are not yet a necessity.  The high data rates of 4K shooting pose a challenge for post-production professionals.  Computer hardware will need to be upgraded to handle the burden that 4K footage places on your system.  Monitors will need to be updated to display 4K resolutions.  To top it off, high data rate video will require enough storage to accompany the large file sizes (the 1D-C records around 4gb bites a minute!)  Read Philip Bloom’s entertaining first-look at the new Canon 4K cameras on his site.

There’s no question that 4K is here, and here to stay.  Canon’s new digital video cameras will open up 4K video to a new legion of film and video makers. But much like the HD revolution of a few years past, it’s going to take time before the technology will be affordably supported across multiple viewing platforms.  By that time, 4K cameras will likely include more options at an even more affordable price point.  So for now, maybe it’s best to hold tight?

Will you be purchasing a 4K capable camera?
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