How to Maximize the Image from the ARRI ALEXA for 4K Delivery
There were some rumors that ARRI might be talking about a new 6K 65mm camera or a new 4K camera at NAB 2014, but there wasn't a peep from the company about any new cameras except for the AMIRA. While there are plenty of ALEXA projects shot at 1080p and 2K, Michael Cioni, CEO of Hollywood post house Light Iron, talks about how shooters can get the most out of the almost-3K sensor in a 4K world and how to optimize the ALEXA XT for 4K and UHD applications.
The description from Vimeo:
As online UHD exhibition and 4K digital cinema projection rapidly expand, it's important that content creators prepare their work for optimized exhibition platforms. But as Arri has yet to release a 4K sensor, how can Alexa users take advantage of a developing 4K ecosystem? Light Iron CEO Michael Cioni talks about how Alexa users can get the most out of a 3K sensor in a 4K world and how to optimize the Alexa XT for 4K and UHD applications.
Cioni believes that broadband (like Netflix) will actually be delivering 4K long before most movies are delivered in 4K, and one of the very first stats he talks about is that 80% of cinema is shot in 3K+ but 99% of cinema is delivered in 2K. Why is that? Cioni gives a few possible answers, and what would need to be done to push that forward:
Since the ALEXA sensor is so clean, he argues that shooting the full 2X anamorphic with the ALEXA in ArriRAW will scale nicely to 4K because the image isn't that far away from the 4K 2.39 DCP it would need to be delivered in:
While you may not be working with the ALEXA anytime soon, and shooting anamorphic will likely increase costs slightly if you do, it's certainly interesting to see what can be done even if you're not capturing 4K natively. His suggestion about shooting in ArriRAW and saving that data immediately as a 3K ProRes file and discarding the RAW media is very similar to shooting in ProRes directly to the camera, except you're able to reduce your storage needs significantly. This could also be done for any other projects where storing uncompressed RAW is just too much to handle, or you could also convert to a compressed RAW format like CineForm (and if you're shooting RED or Sony, you've already got the benefit of compressed RAW).
We'll see if ARRI announces anything in the 4K space in the next year or two, but clearly they want to get the image comparable or better than the ALEXA is right now (but at 4K), and I'm sure they are also not in a rush because the camera is still one of the most widely used on studio films.