The 8K Revolution that modern computers can keep up with
Camera technology is advancing faster modern computers can keep up with. Is it worth the continued investment, or should we rethink the constant upgrades? In the last few weeks, there have been major announcements in the photography and video world.
If you’re like me, then you know that having the best possible gear on a shoot is the difference between a great result and an angry client later. This past July Canon announced their new flagship mirrorless camera the R5 which came packed with a host of features, among them 8K video recording.
Follow that announcement Sony debuted its new a7sIII with its ability to shoot 4K 60p 16-bit RAW video. I am not one to shy away from cool new toys. On paper, these cameras promise that finally, prosumer gear can begin to rival the Hollywood juggernauts like the Arri Alexas and the Red Cameras.
Beyond Computer Processing Reach
Don’t get me wrong video production is one of my loves. There is nothing like telling a story with imagery. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And if that’s the case then a video is worth a billion or more. The issue that arises for many non-Hollywood budget individuals like myself, is the ability to keep up with the race for gear and equipment.
Modern computers have fallen behind the market in terms of processing power. A few years back I decided to pick up a Blackmagic Production Cinema 4K camera. At first glance I was thrilled, I was finally able to dive headfirst into a 4k workflow. I could finally shoot raw and push the limits of my cinematography. After landing up my first serious 4K gig I was off to the races.
Once we finished production and we got to post I got a heavy dose of reality. My old Macbook Pro struggled with basic edits and video playback. The files were gigantic and since they were in Raw, I was forced to deploy a proxy workflow to even make a simple edit.
I should have done the research, and I should have vetted the computer requirements. The project made it to completion but the process was way more painful than it needed to be. Needless to say, I ended up selling that camera and second-guessing what my next production flow should be.
Computers are unequipped to handle 8k and beyond
Which takes us back to why I decided to write this. As newer cameras are released, we are more rapidly approaching a computer processing wall. New laptops have failed to fill the processing gap. New Apple and Microsoft machines have reached a plateau failing to give us the promise of Moore’s law.
4K displays have continued to improve and become more affordable. But streaming in 4K has not reached full adoption. As people continue to consume their entertainment in bitesize HD portions across the web and on mobile. Camera technology is advancing faster than modern computers can keep up with.
The jump to 8k recording while breaking the bank may not be worth it. Mastering 4k shooting and composition will still provide you with the best value in the short term. Learn the basics and master the skills of great storytelling. In the hands of a true master, the most basic rig can win an Oscar. Good luck and happy shooting!