March 10, 2017 at 12:17PM, Edited March 10, 12:51PM


4K vs 2K DCP

Ladies and gentlemen,
I am from Russia and I would like to know how widely is 4K projection used in Europe and USA.
Because here we have very few 4K cinema theatres, for example.

So, now I am going to shoot an independent short film for festivals and my question is:

1) Is it true that all cinema projection in Europe and USA is already 4K, guys? Is it cruisal to have 4K DCP film? Is that really behind-the-time to have 2K DCP? Whats your expirience with that?

2) Did anyone here ever had expirience of building DCP from Ultra HD? What did you make out of it - 4K or 2K?

Thank you for attention and for your answers


I can say with confidence that not many people are making 4K DCPs. The thing is, professionals are more concerned with dynamic range than pixel count. Arri Alexas are so popular because they have 8.6uM wide pixels, which is the reason it has almost the latitude film does. To cram more pixels into the same size sensor is to throw away its biggest advantage. Also, 4K DCPs require 4x as much compression to stay within the bandwidth restrictions, so while there's 4x as many pixels, there isn't really more information there. It also takes 4x as long to encode, which is really slow already. Since many theaters are still 2K, there isn't necessarily an advantage to making 4K DCPs.

If you shot UHD (thank you for knowing there's a difference), you should probably author a DCP at HD res (1920 x 1080). You can also make a UHD res DCP, but definitely don't make a 4K one. You'll either be applying a lossy process to digitally zoom the image 6.67% or you'll be adding black bars to make it 4096, which is just a waste of time. Either way, the eye only resolves .4 arc-minutes, which equates to about a 2K resolution at THX-approved viewing angles.

March 13, 2017 at 4:45AM


>>>Arri Alexas are so popular because they have 8.6uM wide pixels, which is the reason it has almost the latitude film does.

The Alexa's 8.6uM pixels allow for it's low-light performance, where it's wide film-like latitude comes from it's Dual Gain sensor architecture, that is simultaneously combining high and low gain 14-bit images to create a single 16-bit HDR image. The process is similar to HDR photography, but both Alexa images are derived from the same exposure.

March 14, 2017 at 5:06AM, Edited March 14, 5:11AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Most everything we make here has a 4k DCP and there is significant infrastructure to support it.

Going from UHD to 2k or 4k DCP looks quite clean and can even be done after color if need be. Just be careful about your framing and try not to too many zooms in post.

Unless it is a festival requirements it isn't going to be held against your work. No one really cares about 2k vs 4k. If you really need 4k for some reason just do a post conversion.

March 14, 2017 at 10:04AM, Edited March 14, 10:04AM


Side topic:
There seem to be some notable Russians filmmakers working in Hollywood. Is there some kind of burgeoning community that is causing this?

Do you know any English jokes to make a Russian filmmaker would find funny?

March 14, 2017 at 10:11AM


I didn't quite understand the question. If I get it right, you're asking about some English filmmaking jokes which we love in Russia.
So, one of my favourite is :
- Why DoP doesn't smoke?
- Because it would take him 5 hours to light it

And about i don't understand question, sorry
We have some school and tradition in filmmaking, yes.


March 16, 2017 at 2:14PM

I meant
"And about - burgeoning community - i don't understand question, sorry
We have some school and tradition in filmmaking, yes."

Thank you for your reply, mister Slomka


March 16, 2017 at 3:25PM

thanks so much for your answer. It was exactly answers the questions that I asked.

Joseph Slomka

March 17, 2017 at 2:56PM

Thank you for your answers!

March 16, 2017 at 2:10PM


I chose a 2K DCP off a ProRes 444 master of the film, because the story carries the film and it looks amazing.

March 18, 2017 at 1:07PM, Edited March 18, 1:07PM

Jordan Brady

If you have a 4k DCP, you'll still be able to play on a large amount of 2k screens. You'll only get a 2k picture, but it'll usually play (varies by projector/server combo). The original question was about how many 4k screens exist in the US and Europe, and the answer is that it is growing, but my estimate is that it's only 10-15% of the market.

If you're finishing at 2k or 1080p, it's definitely not worth an up-rez. I suspect that you're asking if it is worth the extra expense and hassle of finishing your film in 4k. That's going to be up to you and your budget, but if I were you, I'd shoot 4k, finish 2k and put all the extra money you were going to use for a 4k finish into your sound design / mix.

April 21, 2017 at 1:09PM, Edited April 21, 1:10PM


Thank you, I also seem to come to this idea )


May 17, 2017 at 6:26PM

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