September 18, 2014 at 11:43PM

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List in order of Importance; Resolution, Dynamic Range, Color Science

Hey NFS community,

With all the new 4k cameras being released, it seems camera companies have made it clear that to stay competitive EVERY camera needs to be 4k ready, regardless or size/price.

So I wanted to create a poll (side note; is it possible to create an actual counted poll here?) of the NFS community, seeing as we make up a decent percentage of the indie filmmaker market;

List in Order of Importance What You Want Your Next Cinema Camera to Focus On:
1. Resolution
2. Dynamic Range
3. Color Science

Share your reasons why as well. I'm interested to see if resolution is as important to us as camera companies seem to believe...

15 Comments

I think DR is important but if you know the limitations and can work within them it becomes less of a big deal. If you're not in control of your environments then DR is huge.

Resolution from HD to 4K I don't think is overly important. Sure 4K is awesome and being able to down sample is great but its really not important at all when it comes down to how good your film is or looks.

Color Science is huge, if you can't get beautiful skin tones and rich vibrant and accurate colours your visual story falls apart. Colour plays a big role in emotion and feeling so if thats off it can change the felling of your story.

Color, DR, Resolution is my order.

September 19, 2014 at 4:01PM

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Chase Axton
Cinematographer
1268

I'm currently shooting 4K with a GH4 camera, so any future camera would likely have better dynamic range as 4K resolution is already enough for me...

If I was coming from a HD camera ( which I was before the GH4 ), then my preference would be:

1- 4K Resolution

Most 4K cameras have almost no moire or aliasing, which is something that can be a huge pain in the *ss when shooting head and shoulder interviews. ( clothing patterns/textures often cause ugly moire with 1080 HD DSLR cameras )

4K video retains DOUBLE the resolution when down scaled to 1080 HD, so your 1080 HD footage just looks so much sharper if it was first shot in 4K. ( 1500 lines of resolution for down scaled 4K versus 800 lines of resolution for standard 1080 HD video )

2- Dynamic Range

Any sun lit scene is likely going to need 14+ stops of dynamic range to hold detail in both the highlights and the shadows, so shooting on cameras with less dynamic range ( a common problem with most DSLR cameras ) means that you are going to have to add fill light to lower the contrast or be willing to sacrifice part of the highlights or shadows of your shot.

Right now an Alexa has 14 stops of dynamic range, but all DSLR cameras fall far short of this. I am hoping that a future GH5 camera will use Pansonic's organic sensor technology with 14 stops of dynamic range.

3- Color Science

Generally the color science is not bad with most of todays cameras as long as you are willing to properly color correct and grade your footage in post.

Most of the people I see b*tching about color issues do not know how to get the best performance out of their camera's color controls, and they are not properly color correcting their footage in post. Spend some time and learn how to properly color correct your footage and you will be much happier with the final results.

September 22, 2014 at 6:21PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30839

The DR is the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in terms of priority.

There are many more videos that have horribly clipping highlights than there are videos where one can't stomach the color science.

Additionally, shooting in a bright sun light is hard because given our budgets -- I mean the budgets of the majority of the visitors of this site -- we exercise very little control over the exterior detail and the subject detail. Ideally we need 1k+ lights to make a dent which in itself makes the shoot much more expensive.

Thus, I'll take the DR, DR, DR as in very tangible and practical terms it either reduces or eliminates entirely my concerns when shooting outside.

Know what I mean?

September 23, 2014 at 6:24PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3787

the most imrpotat is:

1.- DR

2.- Color science

3.- Resolution.

September 30, 2014 at 2:46AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7653

Bit depth and Res are neck in neck at #1 for me. DR is going to be good on any new camera so its not something I'm seeking out.

Res because of Moire/Aliasing issues and for more flexibility. As well as staying ahead of the times.
Bit depth for grading and just the better look. Really I'm going to get something with both. But if I had to pick 1, prolly this.

December 1, 2014 at 6:42PM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
127

Couple of years ago 4k even didn't exist. The movies and tv stuff were shot and delivered in 2k,HD or even SD, and that didn't make them poor quality,less cinematographic or not beautiful. Actually non of these depend on pixel count or DR or whatever marketing trend you may come up with. 4k is invented to sell more stuff, it is another reason to make a new product. Have you ever heard a filmmaker saying "My movie is shit, because I did not have enough pixels in my film", or have you ever heard DOP saying "I won an award because I shoot stuff which has 14+ stops of dr". Even average camera consumer would not say "I desperately need 4k to shoot trees, flowers and my family ". Have you ever heard established actor saying "I won an Oscar because people watched me in 4k with 14 stops of dr and they could see the rash on my neck". No one on earth needs 4k, but the companies that must sell their stuff and media (NFS including) that would profit from 4k adds and promotions. Don't you have enough of a good gear to start doing amazing art?

December 5, 2014 at 2:15PM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
999

If you're shooting for yourself with no real time constraints then that's fin and dandy. But if you're doing spec work or working for producers, yes you better care about the gear your using, because you're there to make those people happy by making something that's GOOD in every aspect.
Quality and reliability are super important.
That and nobody is going to make you a better writer, so there isn't much point talking about it no?

December 22, 2014 at 1:57PM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
127

Working in the industry for many years I've noticed that experienced DPs are far less concerned about tech specs, than amateurs. Amateurs tend to believe that the good camera will make them better DP that is why there is so much talk about numbers and figures. But on the actual shoot there are far more important things than a camera. At the end of the day, all professional grade cameras deliver stunning results. If you use C300 or Red Epic on set and screw up a shot with overexposure or bad lighting you would screw it up again even with F65 or future Alexa mark II with100K resolution. There isn't much sense to compare the cameras or build charts of importance of not that much important things. The technology is so advance that the only thing left is to work in the business and be creative. But anyone is free to continue to count pixels, DRs, ISOs,color sciences and whatever marketing people will invent in the upcoming years.

December 26, 2014 at 2:55PM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
999

I fully agree.

April 30, 2015 at 8:25AM

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assuming in this day and age 1080p is minimum,

1- Dynamic Range
2- Color
3- Resolution

and yes einar is correct that camera spec is not going to win you awards or success. But this is a discussion on spec.
also all of us having time to discuss this on nofilmschool or any other diy website, none of us are close to the oscars at this point.

December 23, 2014 at 12:26PM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1278

1. DR

2. Color Science

3. Resolution

December 23, 2014 at 4:01PM

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Kevin Stratton
Director of Photography
76

Apart from Narrative film Production everybody else really needs 1080p (2k the most) so here we go. For me its:
1. DR
2. Colour Science
3. Resolution

December 23, 2014 at 11:41PM

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Wentworth Kelly
Director/DP/Colorist/Drone Op
2462

I would like my next 4k Camera to improve in this order:
Frame rate*
Dynamic range
Color science
Resolution

December 27, 2014 at 2:40PM

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Bill Montei
Owner MEG Filmworks
95

I think it depends. What do you really mean by resolution. If you mean - sharpness and overall detail - I think that that's the most important. But I mean if you mean 4k vs 1080, it's not that important. But.. There is a HUGE difference between good 1080 (like C100 or FS700) and bad 1080 (like the t3i, sorry). I think that the difference between those two is the most important. What do you mean by color science. Do you mean the colors the camera gives naturally or the ability to adjust colors in post? Either way I think that it's decently important. Dynamic Range may seem very important, but I with a good flat picture profile, it won't be that much of a deal. I've been shooting with the T3i which has like 10 stops and rarely get overexposed shots, so....

1) Resolution
2) Color Science
3) Dynamic Range

January 7, 2015 at 1:01PM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
941

Sorry if any of this is redundant to other replies, I didn't read them…

Resolution:
If you're shooting docs single-camera, then oversampled footage (ie. 4k for 1080 mastering) will be invaluable in that you can have non-jumpcuts in your edit by using reframes/scale-ups in post. Just ask a doc editor how big of an advantage this is.

If you will be shooting a lot of handheld or imperfect moving camera footage and foresee using Warp Stabilizer in post to smooth it, then shooting with a little extra edge space will make a difference.

If you're going to be shooting greenscreen without an external recorder, with 1080 mastering, then 4k can be useful… 4:2:0 color sampled footage downscaled to 1080 essentially becomes 4:4:4 1080 footage.

Otherwise, it's not nearly as important as DR and color science.

Color science:
If you're going to be doing extensive color grading (and have a talented colorist) then it's less important. If you're doing little or no grading, it's obviously more important.

When people say "color science" they generally are referring to skin tone reproduction in relation to the rest of the color spectrum. For example, Alexa/Amira is best in that regards, while Canon reproduces slightly candified skin tones (and not as good as Arri's in skin tone shadows though) but somewhat at the cost of other portions of the spectrum. Also, don't overlook using skin-oriented glass filtration like a Tiffen 812.

If you won't be legit lighting your shoots, then color science is more important. If you have ample lighting and light modifying gear and know what you're doing with it, then color science becomes less crucial.

Dynamic range:
If you aren't able to make decisions on set about what you want your footage to look like then it's important. If you know what you want it to look like, it's less important.

If you aren't legit lighting your shoots, then it's very important. If you are, then it's much less important.

If you don't have control of the coloration of whatever's on screen it's more important. If you do have control (ie. your costumer, art director, or production designer knowingly puts nothing white or pitch black in the shot) then it's less important.

If you're shooting in direct sun with no control or modification, it's invaluable.

January 14, 2015 at 11:11PM

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Jaan Shenberger
designer/animator & live-action director/DP
1205

Color science, DR, Resolution

Someone mentioned how 4k downsampled to 1080 retains twice the resolution. I still think 1080 looks fine and 4k is almost too sharp for my liking.

Dynamic range is good but if you know how to light then you should still be able to get footage that looks solid without 15 stops. I own a 60D and 3 softboxes that cost me 200 for the set and I can get great looking footage with that setup.

To me, color science is the most important because you can manipulate/grade them to make the look so much more attractive than it was originally shot. People are going to remember the look/feel of a film, not the resolution.

May 27, 2015 at 10:54AM

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