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Entire HDSLR Community Fooled by Fake 4K Firmware Upgrade for Canon T2i

01.2.11 @ 4:17PM Tags : , , , , ,

Late last week rumors started flying about a firmware upgrade to be posted January 1st that would allow the Canon T2i to shoot at 4K (4096×2304) resolution. All of the HDSLR and video blogs I follow posted the rumor, including ProVideo Coalition, EOSHD, Cinema5D, Philip Bloom, Robin Schmidt, and planet5D. There was just one problem with this firmware: it never existed.

I’m not going to take the high road here and claim that I don’t report unsubstantiated rumors, but I do try to post things when they actually happen — and when they can actually help someone who’s set to shoot — instead of when they’re rumored. Many video sites took down their original post (which is not in my opinion a good blogging practice) once it became clear that it was a hoax. And while everyone likes to share breaking news via Twitter, Facebook, and the social media site du jour, the fact is, these cameras are only as good as what we put in front of them. As far as DIY filmmaking goes, writing, directing, acting, lighting, and set design (not to mention fundraising) represent much larger obstacles than the resolution of these cameras — 1080p is plenty. In fact, Canon DSLRs resolve about 650 lines — not even “true” 1080p. So even if one were to upgrade the firmware to output 4K resolution files, it’s not like you would magically have a RED camera. Considering most of the videos we’re watching online are being posted at 720p resolution — and considering no one’s getting rejected from Sundance because they didn’t shoot in 4K — to me this was not a story unless files were posted demonstrating the actual increase in quality, and since that never happened, there is no story.

For anyone who’s interested in the videos that were released as part of this hoax, here they are for posterity’s sake.

What was the “point” of all this? Just this video:

Move along, there’s nothing to see here.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

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  • I think to say ‘the entire community’ was fooled, is dramatising it a bit. We’re not that stupid.

    When Kiselev introduced the GH1 hack, he began by asking for support on a web forum without any evidence of the hack itself. If people had all laughed at him and called him a hoaxer, DVXUser would have lost him to someone with more faith.

    This time the faith was misplaced and a weight of people got behind it. That doesn’t say a damned thing about how gullible the community was… it just shows that you win some and lose some and it’s better to report what you see (carefully) rather than saving face and sitting on the fence.

    Several guys who also know their stuff gave it credence at first and then naturally after we all had a day to examine the facts, we become more skeptical and began noticing the gaps. Nothing is as obvious before the event as it is afterwards, and it takes balls to have some conviction in your views to write about it.

    The easier thing in the world is to be silent, and then moan about unsubstantiated rumours afterward. That’s not ballsy, and it isn’t even much fun. Some rumours are fun, some turn out to be true – genuine tip offs. There are some good sources out there who DO share good quality info. I have one at Panasonic. It would be a shame if just ONE idiot was allowed to demolish our faith in the rumour mill… a lot of skill and work goes into building reliable contacts and judging what’s real and what isn’t… the only journalistic crime Philip Bloom committed was to be a decent enough chap to believe what people told him and even then he was careful not to suggest the thing was real until we saw some proof.

    So what’s the beef?

    • First of all, Andrew, I’m a fan of your site (EOSHD). But did you actually read this post? Am I calling you or anyone else out? Indeed, I say “I’m not going to take the high road here and claim that I don’t report unsubstantiated rumors.” NOT going to take the high road. NOT going to claim that I don’t report rumors.

      Yet you seem to think that’s exactly what I’m doing. Instead, I’m using this post to make a point (the bolded part). Take it or leave it…

      • Respectfully Koo, I think you ARE taking the high road, regardless of whether you choose to publish rumours or not, you’re suggesting that rumours are somehow all BS and that there is no journalistic value in them.

        It’d be boring if we all just wrote about things already known and proved.

        Speculation is imaginative and the good rumours come from good investigative journalism.

        The hoax was malicious and intended to destroy people’s faith in the DSLR bloggers, especially Philip.

        “I do try to post things when they actually happen — and when they can actually help someone who’s set to shoot — instead of when they’re rumored”

        Just because one unpleasant wanker named Ronald puts bad info out into the community in a malicious way, it doesn’t mean to say rumours are always wrong. There is a skill to getting scoops, and good info, and when a new development or camera release happens it’s almost always through the rumour mill that I hear the news first.

        So rumours DO often have value.

        I don’t agree with your point.

        • Sorry, going to have to completely agree with Andrew.

          • I think I’m going to side with Koo on this one. NoFilmSchool isn’t, strictly speaking, an industry news site. Nor is it a personal blog. It’s a semi-educational site designed to help independent and n00bie filmmakers increase the quality of their output and attract the kind of audience they’re looking for. Rumors, while exciting, hold no real value until they are confirmed by a reliable and verifiable source, especially when they are rumors about technology upgrades like the 4K Firmware Hoax. A post either ranting or raving about the potential for 4K capabilities wouldn’t fit into Koo’s MO because it holds no real intellectual value. Sure, it’s nice information to know, but while it’s still a rumor, nobody can do anything with that information. Nobody can prescribe workarounds for “established bugs”. Nobody can show off a visual example of how much better the new technology makes things look. Nobody can do a thing until they have the update in their metaphorical hands.

            Beyond that, I agree with Koo that it’s not what’s behind the camera that really counts. It’s what your put in front of it that matters.

        • I don’t agree with Andrew. If you read the article rather than read what you want into the article you will see that Koo makes a simple point. Irregardless of the quality of the tool, given that the tool in this case has adequate quality, which it does enough to excite an entire and growing community, then the potential to develop something of worth is there: 4k or not.

      • Excellent Post. I don’t mind seeing a rumor or two popping up. But after it becomes obvious it is a lie and the people behind it are obfuscating, it is incumbent on people that spread it, like Bloom, to kill it. Not to keep posting updates about the fake specs…

        I think Andrew did a good job on EOSHD laying out all the inconsistencies and basically saying, ok, nothing makes sense.

        I think both Koo and Andrew had a fairly level headed approach to the whole thing.

    • scarlet x and canon now has 4k FOR REAL wootwoot

  • KingsFarmer on 01.2.11 @ 5:21PM

    Great Post. As I said along the way: The 4K fantasy–true or not–to work for 6 or8 seconds,
    was Hyper-Geek nonsense. Quality images are important, but it is Story that matters the most.
    Your points re 1080p and 720p tell the tale.

  • The guys that came up with the hoax are seriously a bunch of assholes.

    I canceled, literally, an order for a Lumix GH2 so I could get a 550D. Now I know that one should never jump on board rumors but it is fair to assume that a hack for the 550D was possible given the Magic Lantern team’s success.

    Now I am not sure what to think anymore.

    On that topic I have decided to wait until the GH2 is hacked. I assumed it will be in a month or three and that is a strong reason for me to buy one.

    • there’s no indication that the GH2 will be hacked; in fact, current GH1s can’t be hacked

      but the GH2 doesn’t seem to need a hack, either…

      • until today – if the new hack works – im going to have to buy one of these cameras to check it out – if it works as expected – it’ll leave anything the 550d with ML hack for dead.. :)

  • ‘these cameras are only as good as what we put in front of them. As far as DIY filmmaking goes, writing, directing, acting, lighting, and set design (not to mention fundraising) represent much larger obstacles than the resolution of these cameras .

    This was a great point.

    By the way, in my humble opinion, Andrew has made a prat out of himself with his comments. Really.

  • Alexander Miller on 01.2.11 @ 6:44PM


  • You’re absolutely right, Koo.
    The question remains, why did the guy do it? I think if you want to criticize all those tech geeks and money bloggers for their oblivion of “writing, directing, acting, lighting, and set design (not to mention fundraising)”, then this is the most efficient way to do so. Perhaps not the most decent, though.

  • Maybe I am mistaken, but wouldn’t a 4k hack mean that acquisition format would change from the regular h264? Doesn’t this pretty much make a 4k hack impossible?

  • Guys
    Shouldn’t you lot be busy making films…?
    Tech guys – leave the artists alone and next time ask a grown up to tell you what’s important if you’re not sure.
    The storytelling is the reason we’re ALL here.

  • Whoah there ladies. I know Andrew and he’s not a prat as it happens! Ryan is also not a prat! Whatever we did or didn’t write (I called it as a hoax but left room for it not to be as I’ve made bold statements of conviction before and ended up with egg all over my face!) the hoax happened and it was a mess and a bit silly and now it’s over and we really shouldn’t care anymore. What’s really interesting, for me, is that, as much as we continue to tow the line that it’s all about storytelling, lighting, acting etc. (and for me that’s absolutely the craft, the interest, the struggle and the reward) for a huge majority of our audience (i.e. the ones we need to persuade to hit ‘purchase’) that isn’t necessarily the way they see it. Short of embarking on a mass film education program we have to accept that quality doesn’t always work. There’s been many pieces of work I’ve seen lauded this year that I really didn’t like, great on a technical level but short on substance and yet, and yet, they’re the ones enjoying huge views, and hitting the headlines for catapaulting their filmmakers into phenomenal opportunities. They might be found out but then again, they might hit their stride and off you go.

    There’s a fallacy that ‘these cameras are only as good as what you put in front of them’ – I’d argue that they’re actually much better than what you put in front of them a lot of the time. I’m a terrible photographer but I can take pretty decent photographs with the 5D just using auto, no skill, just me and the kit. Similarly, I’ve been in so many compromised locations over the last 12 months where the 5D has just turned a slightly horrid room into something that really works and that was nothing to do with me. These cameras flatter us, they make us feel good about our work and I think that’s a huge reason why people like them so much.

    We’re all, deepdown, guilty of being copycats sometimes, and there’s this keeping up with the Joneses aspect to the DSLR community that really makes me laugh. People want to know what you use, and they want to have it for themselves and that’s okay with me!

    As Jim says, ‘Shouldn’t you lot be busy making films…?’ – well yes Jim we should, but if no-one watches them then there was no point making them. Blogging is a way of building an audience and, like it or not, it’s basically backdoor marketing for people like myself and Ryan. The storytelling is the reason we’re ALL here – I’m not sure it is, but the hoax wasn’t a very good story and yet it still achieved considerable success. How often do we see that in Hollywood?

    • Well said Robin. If you give the people what they want, they’ll pay attention — even if it doesn’t exist. That’s why the hoax was a success — skeptical or not, people believed it because they wanted to.

      • And by god Canon can give “us” those kind of specifications with a few simple lines of code!

        • To preface, I am no engineer or anything like that, but I have worked with pretty much every format and data rate and understand how drives work. I think Canon can give us some of what this hoax was trying to convince us, but certainly not all of it, at least not in any of the DSLR’s that are currently on the market. Everyone wants to believe that we can get RAW video out of these tiny cameras with processors that were not made for video at all. For me to believe that they are capable of outputting 50MB/s not Mb/s files for longer than maybe 10 seconds is outrageous, and that is useless in all filmmaking capacities. They overheat and burn out pixels already, not a good combination. I think the issues they can resolve are the way they process the video so it is much less anti-aliasing and less jello-cam. 4K may be possible but why would they make it 4K when these cameras are all pretty much 18MP+ which is higher than 4K, I’m sure it would take more power and engineering to give us 4K than it would to just give us native pixel per pixel dimensions for video. I do think they could give us higher quality 4:2:2 codecs in all their cameras, but why would they right now? They don’t want to compete with their other cameras and people still keep buying Canon DSLR’s for film productions anyways. I’m sure that some of those features will be in their next cameras though because people do want them, I know I do.

  • Oh heavens. This entire affair has got quite a few people more than a bit embarrassed, and that first comment seems echo just that.
    As you say Koo, people believe what they want, and they really wanted to believe that a sub $2k camera could surpass the resolution of a +$20k camera, whether it matters or not.
    Since the HDSLR world exploded last year (for me anyway, it might have been earlier for some with deeper pockets :) it seems everybody expects to receive the entire cinema world for a minute fraction of the price.
    Spoiled for choice really, and now they want more.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. It IS what’s in front of the lens, not behind it.
    Friends of mine are still trying to snag 16mm old stock film from production houses, not because of its gradability or intense resolution – I doubt they ever planned on projecting their work on a Sony CineAlta 4k projector at Muvico – No, they’d be happy projecting their film from an old home movie projector onto a bedsheet, so long as people were enjoying, or at least just watching their work.

    I sure as hell know that I’d be happy with ten people watching my short movies on a 20 inch computer monitor, as long as they enjoyed it.

  • That video is great.

    How is the guy an ‘asshole’ for taking the piss out of all the geeks who salivate over technology but can’t make a film to save their lives?

    It would be a sad world if we banned satire or spoof? It says something that people can’t take a joke.

  • I love working with the Canon 5D!!!

    Here is a music video that was shot on the Canon 5D with Zeiss ZF Lenses. I really love how the Canon 35mm Full Sensor plays out in the detail and DOF. Unfortunately, I dislike the anti-alias — motion blur, and the Focus Puller was constantly challenged to keep things “sharp”. Regardless, of all the bad things of Canon’s compressed HD 1080 video format, you cannot beat the low cost factor.

    Please, enjoy — Chuck Gomez, DOP,

  • Au contraire mes amis…. (I think that’s how you spell or write it) – I shoot 2K and 4K all day long with my T2i and here’s the proof:

    for 2K
    for 4K

    and let me tell ya – they are full res! –

    Of course there is some trickery involved. And yes, it is all time lapse. But by all definition, it is true 2K and 4K footage.

  • I thought it was funny to see the big scramble for the scoop on this hoax. I think a good many of us would have jumped to post it first too, if given the opportunity. Or how many of us T2i owners thought it was a great payback to Canon for sticking us with the AGC on the audio? I did!
    But what is funnier still, is how many of us would kill to have 4k capability on our DSLR’s only to try to figure out how to make the resulting footage look more like film!
    But yeah, definitely only an ass would let the hoax ride like they did.

  • Hey Koo,

    Love the DSLR guide, and dig your posts, and wanted to add my two cents.

    Personally I’m a bit skeptical of updates in general, but firmware updates in particular. I’ve had several experience where updating software has fix one problem and caused many others, so I generally wait to hear some reactions before voiding the manufacturers warranty and possibly bricking my camera.

    When I heard about this 4K hack, I really didn’t see what was so exciting. The hack would take a camera with a limited record time, and make it even more limited. Yes it would be big, beautiful 4K images, but they would only be recorded for a few moments at a time. Even if the hack was legit, the proposed benefits didn’t out weigh the possibility of voiding my warranty and bricking my camera.

  • first, i hope so, the 4k is sth really nice and helpful for the post production.
    i did already use the RedOne in two feature films, the 4k is really amazing, especially for the editing stage, u can go CLOSE UP from a wide shot ! that;s really Rock.
    but, what we r really need Canon 2 upgrade for us -as a V DSLR shooters- is the following:
    1- 4k
    2- especial unit for the audio input, at least to add 2 XLR ports with a Clear output.
    it’s not that hard, and it’s the time for that.
    3+4+5+…100 is To Add 500 G.B as input hard drive on the next video DSLR, in addition to the media cards.
    pleaaaaaaaase Canon.

  • Don’t think it’s fair to say the whole DSLR community, that said I’m not sure if I was taken in or not, I wasn’t astute enough to disbelieve it but then I wasn’t bothered enough to read any of the bullshit blogs/features/articles surrounding it .

    I don’t suppose Philip Bloom is too bothered about being wrong though, people would’ve flocked to his blog and clicked on the affiliate links, that’s the important thing.

  • “Entire HDSLR Community Fooled…”

    Not really. Anyone with sound technical understanding would have seen it for the Bullshit is was right from the start.

  • Ha ha…wait till they find out about the Scarlet hoax…